The World’s Favourite Colour Project | A breakfast workshop with G. F. Smith

On Tuesday 11th June, Walpole members came together at Brown’s Hotel for a breakfast workshop on The World’s Favourite Colour Project: A Global Research Study Investigating the Psychology of Colour by G . F Smith.

Think of Selfridges Yellow, Tiffany Blue, Harrods Green, the new Burberry orange and beige: clever, strategic use of colour helps signal the allure of luxury brands. Reflecting this, John Haslam, Managing Director of G . F Smith, discussed the brand’s research into the psychology of colour: how it provides an instant hit of recognition with customers, working on a deep, unconscious layer to create a powerful, intimate connection.

John was then joined by Lee Curtis, Senior Creative Manager, Selfridges; Julian Ellerby, Strategy Director, Franklin Till; Paul Austin, Co-Founder, Made Thought; Jane Boddy, Director of Colour & Women’s Fashion Forecast, WGSN for a panel discussion, moderated by Walpole Director Charlotte Keesing, on how colour works, its secret messages, and how luxury brands can take advantage of the role of colour in our lives to build value with affluent, discerning consumers.

Talking points:

G . F Smith’s research was conducted to determine the world’s favourite colour   Marrs Green   and the varying associations with colour in different regions of the world. Attendees learned that Liberty London purple evokes associations with ‘quality’, ‘create’ and ‘relevance’, while Supreme red says ‘fiery’ and ‘confident’. Selfridges yellow, unsurprisingly, suggests ‘positivity’, which Selfridges’ Senior Creative Manager, Lee Curtis, explained was employed to break the perception that luxury is limited to gold and foil shades.

Paul Austin, Co-Founder of design agency Made Thought, shared that a single colour can help to build a stable brand identity and become a reliable asset. However, he added, Virgil Abloh’s use of an array of colours at Louis Vuitton demonstrates the changing attitude towards colour amongst younger generations, who seek vibrancy, immediacy and energy from spirited luxury brands.

Jane Boddy, Director of Colour & Women’s Fashion Forecast at WGSN spoke about how colour trends can emerge from anywhere including the news, politics, fashion design and product design, and that identifying them remains a combination of extensive research and instinct. Julian Ellerby, Strategy Director at Franklin Till spoke of sustainability and the increasing popularity of tonal inconsistencies associated with the use of natural or recycled materials.