The Future Is Coated In Color

Jeff_AlexanderBy Jeff Alexander, Valspar Corporation

There’s a reason the word ‘color’ is used to describe more than just the visible pigmentation of an object. Color is a versatile and powerful noun or adjective and can be used to exemplify the beauty of music, the interesting qualities of an individual’s personality, a dramatic event and even bad language. In essence, color adds excitement and flavor to the mundane elements of everyday life and has an immense impact on the way we see the world.

Researching Color Trends

Color Strategists, like the ones at Valspar, live and breathe color. From home renovations and residential constructions to small businesses and metropolitan monoliths, coatings and paint can dictate the character, presentation and mood of a company’s brand or someone’s living room. In order to keep up with the ever-changing tastes and preferences of architects, home builders and interior designers, Color Strategists focus on determining consumer trends that will make an impact on people's lives and translate those changes into colors and finishes for the coming year.

A new community center in West Sacramento makes a bold statement with wavy metal panels coated in cool colors. Photo by Group 4 Architecture.
For more on this project, click here.
The new T-Mobile Arena exudes Las Vegas flair thanks to nine custom-matched coating colors. Photo by J Rick Martin Photography.
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Great importance is placed on the introduction of new colors into product lines, and extensive research is conducted into which hues will fulfill the needs of various communities served. With deep understanding on the end user and regional uniqueness, paint companies are able to select new color palettes to introduce to various marketplaces. Classic colors and neutral tones will always be top sellers and the most popular selections, so it’s important to introduce new colors conservatively, at about 20 percent of the total color offering. That way, the impact of new color choices can be accurately measured, thus helping to determine the next phase of color introduction, and what the public is responding to best.

Color in Architectural Coatings

As important as color selection is for the introduction of new shades and hues from a manufacturer, selecting the coating color for a building’s exterior carries even more weight. A quality choice of color for a building project provides the purpose and function of the space. Each color has a personality and mood that can best express the desired look and personality that a building owner is hoping to achieve. For example, a children’s hospital would likely need to express a different mood and appearance than that of a building intended for manufacturing, and color selection can play a major role in that variance.


A residential home in California uses a black base and adds pops of color to accentuate different elements of the house. Photo by McInturff Achitects.
For more on this project, click here.
Chicago's new Hilton Garden Inn features a mosaic made of five custom colors, juxtaposed against a jet-black exterior. Photo by Mark Ballogg.
For more on this project, click here.

To begin, expert consultants might recommend choosing one color as a foundation for a building’s aesthetic, then adding two to three layering colors that can serve as accents of a brand’s personality. The majority of building projects that implement precoated metal are looking for a structure that will last and look timeless, so it’s essential to select a suitable foundation color that will visually resonate for years to come. We also advise that the additional colors should be considered as replaceable accent colors that could be altered depending on a change of tenant or business occupying the space.

The Lasting Impact of Color

No matter the business, color selection for a building is more important than one would initially think. It can make an incoming client be assured of a bank’s strength and stature, a student inspired to learn and discover at a school, or a patient feel safe and welcome at a hospital. Every year, color preferences change and customers expand their tastes and design styles. However, the necessity to provide a diverse and quality offering of colors to suit the many needs of the market remains a consistent element. The next time you’re working on a new building or renovation, be sure to take into consider how you can make the space more colorful, in every sense of the word.

Jeff Alexander has been with Valspar for 19 years and currently serves as the Vice President of Sales for the company's Coil and Extrusion Businesses. He is also a past president of the National Coil Coating Association. To learn more about Valspar products, visit

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