Breaking the Rules Regarding Color

This commercial client wanted a residential feel for his office space. With a brave client willing to take risks, the project generated its own momentum and we found ourselves off the color grid.

Not so long ago, there were so many design rules: don’t mix patterns, use only complimentary colors together, ceilings and trim should always be white, etc zzzzzzzzz.  Now, we look for opportunities to break these rules in the name of creative design.  In this project, we couldn’t decide between the playfulness of orange or the sophistication of red, so we used them together.  Generally, this is taboo (ask any redhead) but not in all instances. While its true that red is a primary color, there are still different types of reds: blue reds and orange reds.   Orange, on the other hand, is not a primary color.  It is made up of red and yellow and the balance between these two yields the particular shade of orange.  In order to make our color selections work together, we chose a cherry red paint without any orange tones that might conflict with our orange paint, and the orange paint we chose is strongly yellow instead of red in order to avoid a conflict with our red paint.  The end result works beautifully and is even more effective because it's so unexpected.

Color theory takes some study and while a “miss” can yield pretty horrific results, there are very few colors that can’t ultimately be used together if done so in the proper shades.  When you get it right, non-traditional color combination is a very strong technique in achieving unique, personalized design.