The science of colour

The science of colour

Preliminary results of the Taubmans Colour Emotion Study, using VR technology, has discovered the top colours that cause a range of emotions within several real-life environments and how colour continually impacts emotion.

In partnership with leading Australian Virtual Reality company, Liminal VR, a team of psychologists and neuroscientists conducted the Taubmans Colour Emotion study, the largest of its kind to date, in consultation with The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne.

While we all know that colours in our homes affect our moods, now Taubmans has the research that proves painting walls in different colours can bring out a whole a range of emotions, Tim Welsh from Taubmans said recently.

During the study, 745 participants used the latest VR headsets, which created three-dimensional immersive experiences, to best capture emotional responses to a range of Taubmans colours in living rooms, waiting rooms and blank space environments. Participants were given a Google Daydream virtual reality headset and controller, where they submitted their responses when shown each of the Taubmans colours profiled.

Segmented into eight groups, each participant was exposed to five Taubmans colours across three room types, with 40 Taubmans colours displayed on both walls and ceiling. Candidates were required to rate each colour by indicating how they felt, selecting one of eight options ranging from ‘excited and cheerful’ to ‘irritated or tense.’ Participants were also asked to indicate how much they liked the colour on a five-point scale varying between ‘extremely’ to ‘not at all’.

“The right colours will make consumers feel relaxed and calm, or cheerful and excited, yet pick the wrong colour scheme, and walls risk making users feel bored, sad, tense and, worst of all, irritated. We plan to use the Taubmans Colour Emotion Study to help our customers pick the right Taubmans colours to enhance Australian homes, lifestyles and moods,” Mr Welsh said.

Immersive virtual reality research

Much has been said about the emotional impact colours can have on consumers, with a quick Google of the terms ‘colour’ and ‘emotion’ returning over seven million results. Virtual reality is a game changer in the field of emotional colour research, because it takes people away from physical environments and immerses them in 3D, photo-real, virtual environments, allowing examination of not only how different colours make one feel, but also how the environment changes emotional reactions, according to Taubmans.

Chief Executive Officer of Liminal VR, Damian Moratti said it was amazing working on the Taubmans Colour Emotion Study because nothing of this scale and scope had been attempted before.

“Taubmans gave us complete freedom and command over the methodology with absolutely no control over the outcome,” Mr Moratti said.

Professor Julie Bernhardt explained the scientific side to the research by describing her thoughts on how colours affect emotions on a neurological level.

“Colour is important, yet how we perceive colour and attribute meaning to it can vary between individuals and between cultures. Until now, we understood little about how we perceive colour and which ones the brain processes easier. There are many assumptions about how different colours effect our mood, however very few of these are underpinned by strong science. The issue of colour is particularly important in public spaces and as a neuroscientist, the challenge is studying colour within contextual environments,” Ms Bernhardt said.

A colour for every emotion

Results from the Taubmans Colour Emotion Study, saw over 41 per cent of participants voted Taubmans Seagull, a soft grey-green colour, the most relaxing, closely followed by Taubmans Faded Lilac and Taubmans Padre Blue. While 38 per cent of participants chose the gentle eggshell tone, Taubmans Morning Fog was the most calming shade, with Taubmans Dawn Break and Taubmans Candy Cream in second and third place.

When sourcing shades to promote energy, yellows, oranges and the occasional pinks proved to be the most likely colours to promote excitement and happiness.

Sunny yellow shades came high in the results for the most cheerful, with Taubmans Japanese Koi, Taubmans Rocket Launch and Taubmans Florida the top three colours.

When it comes to the most exciting colour choice, participants swayed towards daring tones, including Taubmans In The Pink or Taubmans rich orange Orange Embers. These same shades were also found to make some participants feel tense and irritated.

To get the best out of such colours, Taubmans Colour Consultant, Grace Garrett advises to, “use these colours sparingly, and consider smaller spaces, painted shapes or feature walls as well as looking beyond the living room.”

Dealing with darker colours

When looking at the growing trend for dark walls, such as charcoal, the bold choice can make some feel sad. Having said that, if a dark colour is implemented correctly. It can surprise and delight.

For example, Taubmans 2018 Colour of the Year, Black Flame was voted in the Top 10 colours liked of all the 40 Taubmans paint colours tested.
As a top tip, Ms Garrett recommends using darker colours like Black Flame in areas that feature or create a moody, cocooning space.

“Using darker colours can make a room appear smaller, so make sure this is taken into consideration. By using Taubmans Black Flame in the bedroom, it would create a great space with a secure feeling. Alternatively use these darker trending colours on doors or again a feature wall and painted shapes. An entrance, a powder room or bathroom are also ideal spaces for implementing a dark feature colour. These are spaces (your customers) don’t spend a lot of time in but can create a striking impact without having to be surrounded by it for long periods of time,” Ms Garrett said.

ABC evolves through digital

There is no doubt that the digital world is changing every industry and unless you are in it, you cannot take advantage of the endless opportunities, Australian Brushware Corporation Marketing Manager, Michelle Wee, said recently.

“Over the last 12 months, Monarch has been able to grow its brand presence globally through an effective digital strategy. It is more than just having a website and even social media touch points; it is all about engaging with users, consumers, customers, everyone really,” Ms Wee said.

“Monarch continues to provide the right tools, tips and know-how to help people transform their homes and to get that professional painting finish they have always dreamed about. Through social media, Monarch is also able to connect and interact with users, building a true community of followers. In less than eight months, Monarch has achieved a record 150,000 followers on Facebook. Incredibly these are people that did not know who we were only eight months ago.”

“Monarch has also seen significant foot traffic across all digital elements through its ‘Renew in 2 Campaign’. Whilst Monarch continues to launch a new painting project every month, consumers are now asking us to develop videos for specific projects just for them,” she said.

It seems that paint sales are only set to increase even more, according to Ms Wee, who said this is particularly the case with the weather now on the improve.

“From an accessories perspective we rely heavily on paint sales and we have also noticed that consumers are being more targeted with their painting projects to minimise loss of time. People would rather spend their summer holidays and Easter break going away on holidays or simply enjoying the sunshine, not painting or renovating the whole time. Given the change in consumer behaviour, Monarch tailors its communication messages to help consumers get that painting project done right, fast and cost effectively. Most importantly this gives them the ultimate result in the end,” she said.

From a DIY perspective, one of the current market issues is the challenge of educating consumers on why they should use premium quality applicators with premium quality paint. This is also why it is important to remain consistent in communication, Mrs Wee said.

“Over the last six to 12 months we have found that communicating this message through our digital platform, and really showcasing the difference in results of using a quality brush or roller, has helped consumers make the shift from budget products to more premium. From a trade perspective, we continue to face the challenge of traditional craftsmanship versus spray paint equipment. As a business we continue to work with master painters around the country to ensure we develop the right tools and accessories needed to get that perfect finish,” she said.

In saying this, Ms Wee said she continues to see an increase in low cost imported goods in the industry, with the demand for budget products always existing. Our goal is to encourage consumers to buy quality versus compromising to save a few dollars, she said.

“The current market continues to be extremely competitive with more overseas suppliers trying to make their mark in the Australian hardware space and even locals copying successful products. The ability to source painting accessories from overseas is extremely easy, however access to owned manufacturing and the ability to produce and offer premium quality products is what sets a company like Australian Brushware Corp aside from all others. Imports serve a purpose but quality can never be compromised,” she said.

Environmentally and user friendly products

Paint manufacturers have become increasingly focussed on creating products that are better for both the environment and the user, Tenaru reported recently. As a result, more ‘low VOC’ products have appeared on the market, including timber coating products such as Sikkens Cetol BLX-Pro, according to Tenaru Managing Director, Brian Hamilton.

“VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are carbon-containing solvents that vaporise into the air as paint dries, to help make paint more durable and easier to spread. However, these chemicals let off gasses that are very harmful to people and the environment, thus the government now regulates them,” he said.

“The trend towards biophilic design is also having an impact on the painting and decorating industry, with a demand for transparent coatings that accentuate the wood’s natural grain, rather than concealing it. Natural materials are being used by home owners to bring the relaxing properties of nature into their households, and customers want finishes that highlight the natural materials’ beauty, whilst still protecting them. All of Sikkens oil and water-based coatings, for example, are designed to ensure the natural wood grain remains visible after coating, making the timber a design feature in its own right,” Mr Hamilton said.

With the wellbeing of the user, and respiratory friendly products, a key issue in the painting industry today, painters are also on the lookout for sanding products that produce minimal dust, such as those offered by global brand Mirka.

Sanding surfaces in preparation for painting projects is a key part of the job but unfortunately one that can be quite harmful, as people exposed to wood dust at work are at greater risk of developing nose, sinus, throat, lung, and skin conditions. Health problems may take a long time to develop, and are most common in people who have spent many years at workplaces exposed to high concentrations of wood dust; for example, indoor workplaces with inadequate dust extraction systems, Mr Hamilton said.

“Brands such as Mirka, who prioritise the health of the painting professional, are now using online technology to complement its ergonomic product designs. Its most recent digital innovation is the ‘MyMirka’ app, which measures and tracks operator exposure to long term vibration when using power tools, against the ISO 5349-1:2001 standard and depicts this on a coloured scale. When the tracking enters the red zone, the easy-to-use app will recommend that the operator takes a break. These features are documented by using Bluetooth technology and vibration sensors, which are integrated into Mirka’s electric sanders – the DEOS and the DEROS. This makes it easy to track vibration and speed in real time as well as daily vibration exposure, to protect against ‘white finger’ syndrome,” Mr Hamilton said.

“As well as Mirka, Tenaru’s portfolio includes the globally established, premium products Sikkens and Hammerite. Each brand complements the others and provides a full suite of surface coating solutions for our customers and trade professionals.”

“Tenaru has a very experienced team, passionate about problem solving and providing the best advice for projects; we are keen to share our expertise by working more closely with MPA (NSW) members,’ he said.

Re-loved and re-designed pieces revealed

Designer Steve Cordony upcycled a bold, black dining table to raise money for the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Feast Watson’s Re-Love Project 2018 recently revealed four collections featuring timber pieces as reimagined by our four designers. Top designers Steve Cordony, Sarah Ellison, Natalie Turnbull and Nat Wheeler and Kristy Sadlier of norsu Interiors recently adopted their own unique styling techniques to create one of a kind items that will be auctioned for charity at the end of October.

Steve Cordony’s pieces displayed his dramatic style, including a bold black dining table he upcycled with a black stain, alongside four unique accessories. His pieces will raise money for the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Sarah Ellison has rejuvenated a solid timber sideboard, along with a classic wooden bowl and two timeless wicker chairs. Sarah has nominated the proceeds from her items to be donated to Livin’, a charity that aims to clear the stigma around mental illness and increase awareness of
suicide prevention.

Feast Watson’s Re-Love Project 2018 recently revealed four collections reimagined by its designers, to be auctioned for charity at the end of October.

Natalie Turnbull redesigned a solid timber desk and coffee table, featuring a statement green stripe that coordinates well with her matching accessories. Choosing a charity close to her heart, the proceeds from Natalie’s pieces will go to Challenge, a charity focusing on supporting kids with cancer.

Norsu Interior’s Scandinavian style is on show with their upcycled pieces, including a stool they crafted into a table by reupholstering and shortening its legs. Finished with a blush pink top, this piece, along with their three others flaunt norsu’s signature pastel palette. Its beautiful pieces will raise money for brain cancer research, with all proceeds going to Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer.

Over the past five years, Feast Watson’s Re-Love Project has raised a staggering $30k for Australian charities and participants are looking forward to more impressive results during this year’s auction.