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Advanced Colour Workshop at KLC School of Design

27th July 2015
Advanced Colour Workshop KLC School of Design

The KLC School of Design is a prestigious institution and known the world over for delivering the highest quality design education available today.  Founded in 1982 by Jenny Gibbs, the school launched with a series of short courses.  33 years later, the school now offers a range of courses from 1 day short courses right up to BA (Hons) Interior Design.  The school has also kept ahead of it’s competitors by delivering it’s courses in a variety of ways to help suit it’s range of students, from graduates to professionals.

Professionals should never stop learning, and every year I take classes in business, marketing and design to help me stay ahead of my competitors.  So I was thrilled when KLC offered me the chance to come along and experience one of their career focused short courses.  Specifically, I was interested in the Advanced Colour workshop which promised to help me learn to ‘Explore how to effectively interpret the colour aspirations of clients’.

Advanced Colour Workshop

Within a couple of weeks I found myself sitting in the classroom ready and waiting for the day to start.  I got there early so I could take some pictures of the room for all of you to get a real inside peek.

There’s ample space per student and so much stationery.  KLC also make sure that you are very well fed during the day – perfect for a hungry chap like me.  Starting with fruit salad for breakfast and a lovely lunch of wraps, sandwiches and a variety of salads – delish!

Classroom KLC School of Design

Classroom Stationery KLC School of Design

Fruit Salad Breakfast KLC School of Design

We had a full schedule ahead of us that covered the following:

  • How we are influenced by colour
  • The effect that colour has on our mood and behaviour
  • How to interpret the key personality characteristics of your client and translate these into effective and successful colour palettes
  • Colour psychology and trend forecasting – what’s involved and how to spot emerging colour trends

Our tutor, Bernay Laity, started off by introducing us to the colour psychology greats and discussed how their theories helped to develop the discipline of colour psychology today.

It was fascinating to see how over time the theories of colour psychology have grown and been developed by the influencers in this field.  Bernay covered a lot of theory and presented in such a way that it kept us students wanting more.

If you are interested in finding out more about colour psychology then here is a list of 12 books to help you get started. I’ve just ordered The Beginners Guide to Colour Psychology as Bernay’s passion has ignited my interest in colour psychology.

12 Books to help you learn more about colour psychology

Creating a moodboard

We were each asked to create a moodboard to reflect colours, shapes, style and form that we found attractive.  Moodboards are great tools to use in the design process, and it’s a challenge to create a successful board filled with images that tell a story.

With a class full of designers, this was going to be an interesting exercise.  I got going and soon found my table filled with blue… (of course), I then consciously started to add in other colours, forms and textures that appealed.

moodboard advanced colour workshop klc school of design

The tutor asked for a volunteer, so up went my hand (I’m always eager).  To my horror, she passed around my work to the other students and asked each one for a comment describing how they interpret my personality from the images and specifically colours on the moodboard. I nervously scribbled down the words I heard.

Organised, particular, geometric, considered, balanced, tranquil, bright colour, calm space, neat, curated, bold, nature, cool, strength, definition, strong definite colours, honest materials, Mediterranean.

Not too bad I thought, and what’s interesting, is that those words are similar to how my friends and family would describe my personality.

We moved around the class and did a similar exercise with other students’ moodboards. Discussing and identifying personality traits from the colour, shape, style and forms that were shown on their moodboards. Guided by Bernay, we learned how to interpret personality characteristics from our moodboards. This new skill, is a welcome asset to my design skill toolbox, and I can’t wait to try this out with a client.

Here were some of the other students boards.

Student Moodboard 2

Student Moodboard 3

Student Moodboard 1

Student Moodboard

Working with the moodboards, we selected a paint colour palette that would work well in an interior.

Here’s my paint palette, starting with grey and moving up through the blue’s and onto a silver/gold metallic mix. I felt this was a really good paint colour palette that would work in an interior.paint colour palette advanced colour workshop klc school of design

And here is what it looks like next to the moodboard. I really like the palette I created – do you?

Moodboard and palette advanced colour workshop klc school of design

I felt quite confident with what I had achieved and our sharp tutor Bernay spotted that, so quickly set me another challenge.

This time to come up with a colour palette just for the image on the top left of my moodboard, the pheasant, and it needed to include lime green! I like being challenged as this is where you really get to learn… here are my two attempts… comments welcome!


green colour palette

Colour Psychology 4 Seasons Palettes

Bernay introduced the colour psychology 4 seasons palettes to me, Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter. We moved through each palette and discussed the archetypal personality link.  Quite a few students were particularly fascinated with these personality archetypes.  We spoke in depth about the relationship between the personas and how to use these palettes effectively for each personality archetype.

I found a great article by Fiona Humberstone which covers the Essentials of Colour Psychology – this article will explain the basics of the 4 seasons palettes to you.

Colour Trends and Forecasting

The day ended with us looking ahead at colour trends for the rest of 2015 and 2016.  Beginning with a journey through the last half of the 20th Century, looking at the major colour trends in each decade. This was a fascinating presentation to see how events, innovation and social change affect colour trends, and how this impacts each and every one of us.

We looked at the future trends forecast by Azko Nobel Colour Futures (video below) and discussed influences and how this will enter the interiors market.  Here’s a tip for you, I have it on good authority that the ‘Summer’ palette will be around for a while.

I’ve always believed that each of us responds to colour and need certain colours around us at different times, I’ve never quite known why. It may sound a bit out there, but I know this to be true.

To be an effective designer, the correct use of colour with your clients is vital to your design’s success. But more importantly, you can learn to use colour so that it supports you too.

I’d like to thank Nicola and the team at KLC for letting me experience one of their workshops. I learned a great deal, not only about colour, but also how KLC are committed to helping design professionals learn skills that will make them the best in their fields.

The KLC School of Design is where design professionals come to learn and grow their skills to ensure that they are the best in their field. So, if you are a design professional and you haven’t been ‘back to school’ for a while, then I would suggest you take a look at KLC School of Design and find a course that will challenge you.

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