Are you a Colour Scientist? Take This Test

via Cote de Texas

Calling all colour scientists, I really need your help!

First in order to find out how much of a scientist you are, I’m going to talk about a behavioural profile test called the DISC Assessment, and my observations from the people who attend my classes and comments that I receive.

I’m talking about DISC because Terreeia is trained in analyzing this assessment. When she consults with her clients, she always has them complete a DISC assessment (below). You can take a free test here.

We also have everyone we hire complete one as well. This assessment is truly enlightening. Of course, no one lands in entirely one box. We can all function in all 4 quadrants. However, we will be strongest in one quadrant.

 

In every one of my Specify Colour with Confidence workshops, usually, all four personality types are represented with everyone who attends.

So in my courses, there are always the D – Drivers, like me who just want the coles notes for everything. “Give me the information, entertain me and let’s get it done and bottom line, don’t bore me.”

Then there’s the I profile- the people who sit in the room and just smile at me. They love everything, they are very social, and every time I look over at them, they’re smiling. They are people-people.

The S profile – Team player, inclusive, always wants us to compile a class list of everyone’s emails to distribute to everyone.

Then there’s the C profile – (This is also my wife Terreeia by the way) Organized, diplomatic, analytical, the scientist. It took Terreeia 6 months to buy a blender because she had to read about each one to figure out which one would be best.

This is also the colour scientist personality.  This profile asks the probing questions that make me think?

Questions like “Maria, when does a colour become a neutral?”

It’s the scientist/analytical personality who will call the office and say “I have some issues with Maria’s theories?” to which Terreeia once replied “Maria doesn’t have a theory, she has a system”.

Please note, I’m ONLY looking for SPECIFIC feedback on the functionality of my colour wheel based on your advanced understanding of undertones. You will have this if you are long time reader OR you have read my eBook White is Complicated, A Decorators Guide to Choosing the Right White, OR you have attended my colour workshop.

If you are new to my system, it will not make a lot of sense to you unless you have spent the last week reading my blog from top to bottom.

Today, I’m not looking to clarify random questions about white in the comments. If you need help choosing a white, you’ll want to download my white eBook or check out our eDesign packages.

What I teach is NOT colour theory, it is a SYSTEM for choosing colour and neutrals, not only for paint, but for fabrics, exteriors, hard finishes, ANYWHERE you need to choose a colour. If you understand my 9 Undertones system, it will transform your world.

If you’re still not sure, go read the almost 900 comments on this post, and at the same time, enter to win one of the 50 prizes that I’ll be announcing July 1.

Okay, so my colour wheel (below), is almost ready for the prototype stage. I need it to be almost perfect at this stage.

Maria Killam, Founder of the Understanding Undertones System

We have whittled statements about each undertone including the whites, down to less than 35 words or 150 characters, which is how much room I have to describe each undertone on the finished wheel.  It’s taken me an entire week to do this along with additional edits and input from my team.

So, before I send it back to my artist, I need you, the colour scientist, to weigh in on each statement. Now is the time to poke holes in what I’ve said so that I can make it even clearer, if that’s possible. NOT after I’ve printed 3000 copies of this wheel.

Okay and here’s the other thing, I don’t want you to get stuck on the images I’ve posted to go along with each statement.

Each statement is designed to stand alone, so pretend there is no image when you read them. The images are only here to add clarity.

 

PINK BEIGE

via Residence Magazine

Often described as mocha, latte or tan, this is the most overused and limiting neutral undertone. Do not use as a default neutral.

ORANGE BEIGE

Image via Pinterest (with Pink beige slabs in this image)

While Orange Beige is not as often used as other beige neutrals, it can still be the necessary and correct choice, when its already established in a colour scheme

YELLOW BEIGE

Interior by Maria Killam

Yellow Beige will show an obvious yellow undertone, making it relatively easy to diagnose.

GOLD BEIGE

Via Pinterest (Pink beige is in the artwork)

When Gold Beige and Pink Beige have the same value, they can look similar and can sometimes be used together in a colour scheme.

GREEN BEIGE

Image via Behr (this house is NOT an example of earth tones appearing fresher)

One of the most versatile neutrals, Green Beige can be useful in helping earth tones appear fresher.

GREEN GREY

image source (The floor in this bathroom is concrete)

Green Gray is the most neutral of the grays and is the colour of natural stone. It is not as useful in rooms decorated entirely in earth tones.

BLUE GREY

Interior design by Kathy Kunz Interiors (NOT an example of an earth toned room)

Blue Grey will show an obvious blue undertone. It is not as useful in rooms decorated entirely in earth tones because they are usually devoid of blue.

VIOLET GREY

Image source

Violet Gray is most used when these undertones are already established in a colour scheme. It can be useful when paired with Pink Beige or Taupe in moving towards a fresher look.

TAUPE

Luxe Interiors & Design

Taupe is a combination of beige and gray with a pink to violet undertone. It reads a few degrees earthier, warmer and dirtier than gray.

BLUE WHITE

Image via House & Home

Blue White is useful in creating necessary contrast when paired with the whitest of decor and hard finishes.

TRUE WHITE

via pinterest (see the white euroshams?)

True White is the control white against which to compare all other whites.

OFF-WHITE

Interior Design by Maria Killam

Off White is a versatile white, and can be combined with light earthy colours as well as clean colours, greys and blacks.

CREAM

BHG (Earthy, pink beige walls)

Cream works best with earthy colours, and can also, given sufficient contrast, work with greys and soft blacks.

GREIGE

via Style at Home

Greige is a useful wall colour for interiors decorated in greys or clean colours. To fully appreciate this colour, you need natural light. It is rarely a useful trim colour.

AGAIN,  I don’t want you to get stuck on the images I’ve posted to go along with each statement.

If it’s easier, here they all are again without the images:

PINK BEIGE

Often described as mocha, latte or tan, this is the most overused and limiting neutral undertone. Do not use as a default neutral.

ORANGE BEIGE

While Orange Beige is not as often used as other beige neutrals, it can still be the necessary and correct choice, when its already established in a colour scheme

YELLOW BEIGE

Yellow Beige will show an obvious yellow undertone, making it relatively easy to diagnose.

GOLD BEIGE

When Gold Beige and Pink Beige have the same value, they can look similar and can sometimes be used together in a colour scheme.

GREEN BEIGE

One of the most versatile neutrals, Green Beige can be useful in helping earth tones appear fresher.

GREEN GREY

Green Gray is the most neutral of the grays and is the colour of natural stone. It is not as useful in rooms decorated entirely in earth tones.

BLUE GREY

Blue Grey will show an obvious blue undertone. It is not as useful in rooms decorated entirely in earth tones because they are usually devoid of blue.

VIOLET GREY

Violet Gray is most used when these undertones are already established in a colour scheme. It can be useful when paired with Pink Beige or Taupe in moving towards a fresher look.

TAUPE

Taupe is a combination of beige and gray with a pink to violet undertone. It reads a few degrees earthier, warmer and dirtier than gray.

BLUE WHITE

Blue White is useful in creating necessary contrast when paired with the whitest of decor and hard finishes.

TRUE WHITE

True White is the control white against which to compare all other whites.

OFF-WHITE

Off White is a versatile white, and can be combined with light earthy colours as well as clean colours, greys and blacks.

CREAM

Cream works best with earthy colours, and can also, given sufficient contrast, work with greys and soft blacks.

GREIGE

Greige is a useful wall colour for interiors decorated in greys or clean colours. To fully appreciate this colour, you need natural light. It is rarely a useful trim colour.

One more thing, I think we should all start spelling grey with an e instead of with an a. Grey wins hands down over gray in hash tags so it’s a no brainer. #grey not #gray it means most of the world spells it with an e that’s all.

If you are a colour scientist, you’ll have read this whole post and not just scanned the pictures and raced to the bottom to post a comment! So here’s the answer to “When does a colour become a neutral”. The closest answer to this question that is USEFUL, is this: “When it’s not obvious anymore that it’s RED, ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE, or PURPLE. In other words, undertones in COLOURS are much more obvious than undertones in NEUTRALS, which is why neutrals are the biggest focus in my colour workshops.

For example, if you see a green and blue duvet cover. You could probably say “That’s kelly green and turquoise”. If the same duvet was green, blue and beige, you might have a harder time trying to determine ‘which beige’ was in that duvet. Is it pink beige? Green beige? Yellow beige? Maybe it’s grey? Which one? Blue, green or violet?

But if you understand the 9 undertones in my system, you could systematically figure it out and end up with the correct beige or grey on your walls if that’s what you wanted to paint them.

Thanks in advance for your feedback, I’m looking forward to reading your comments! Thanks always for being there and for your great support!

Related posts:

When Colour Theory is Literally Dangerous

There are 9 Neutral Undertones in This World (See them Here)

How NOT to Use the Understanding Undertones Colour Wheel

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  1. Wonderful start, Maria. Agree with others’ comments. One other thought – it sounds like “Off White” is so versatile, works well with earth colors, clean colors, greys and blacks. But what makes an “off white” off white? If it’s so versatile, shouldn’t your arrow for Off White go all the way around your color wheel to reflect it’s easy coordination with other colors?

    • Great post on your color wheel. . I am also a bit confused about the 9ff white band. I understand the blue whites with violets and blues and grey. Depending on the off white undertone though I would expect it to look fine with at least the green beiges, but I interpret the wheel to mean only griege works there.
      Thank you!

      • The whites are positioned on the wheel as the lightest version of the colour. For example, cream with yellow, blue white with blue. This wheel is not designed to help you choose a colour for a room. Just like the regular colour wheel will not help you either.
        Maybe I need to include that as a disclaimer on the colour wheel because it doesn’t seem to matter how many times I say it, everyone still look at the wheel for a clue. It simply shows you where my 9 undertone system lands in the world of colour. There are so many other factors that go into why any particular shade of white, neutral or a colour should be chosen. For example, if you have dark and blotchy earthy tile in a bathroom for example but your tub, sink and toilet are screaming white, you might still choose a true white like SW Extra White because at least the trim will relate to that white instead of a random cream trim which you would specify if you weren’t dealing with the fixed white of the plumbing fixtures. Hope that helps, Maria

  2. As I was reading, I got lost on the purpose of why I was reading these statements. Are you looking for feedback on just how the statements are worded? My hopefully constructive criticism is beyond getting the wording concise. I don’t want you to think I’m asking you to start over, but consider the inconsistencies in descriptions. For some colors, you describe it more fully, or offer a coordinating undertone, or suggest it to be more or less useful than others, or offer advice on how to identify its undertone. It made me wonder for what purpose these statements will be printed: To help ID undertones, or create a new palette, or introduce the undertone system to novices? Why are the descriptions inconsistent across the colors? Who is it written for? Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to bounce ideas or discuss my question(s) further. Happy to help.

  3. Agree with other comments about consistency and purpose. I’d add that you need to describe Greige as a beige-grey with green undertones – similar to how you described Taupe. And the Blue-White – i would add something about it being the coldest, harshest white. If a client wants white or off-white walls I specify the same white for the trim, only using the cooler white for the ceiling as per your system.

  4. Dr. Van Aardt du Preez

    Maria, I like your color discussions, but being a colour scientist, I don’t agree with everything you say. So my comments are how colour should be approach to realy experience the power of colour. I’m going to mention some points, there’s no space or time to discuss everyone, but you are welcome to enquire about more detail.
    * Colour does not exist physical, and is the response of one of our 5 senses, that of vision, and we know that every single sense is a personal experience that can not be explained by anyone else.
    * No two people(not even your two eyes) can experience colour the same.
    * You don’t SEE colour you experience it
    * You talk about your 9 tones, but there are more. According to Shigenobu Kobayashi you can devide tones into 12 hues(120 chromatic colors and 10 achromatic colours): Vivid tone/strong tone/bright tone/pale tone/ very pale tone/Light grayish tone/Light tone/grayish tone/dull tone/deep tone/ dark tone/ dark grayish tone. They are place in 4 categories, namely Vivid/Bright/subdued and dark
    * Colour do not exist as single entities.
    * Why not consentrate on a colour image scale, more practical and visually easier to follow.
    * Neutral colours are colours that are associated with a hue. I know colour consultants consider Black, gray, White and some Browns as the role players in neutral colours.(when you mix a hue with them) A bit confusing because using the NCS(Natural colour system/the most scientific colour systemfrom Sweden)you have 40 hues that can be mixed into neutral colours using any one , or everyone of Black/white/Gray/brown.
    * There are no rules in colours, because we are dealing with the 3 Dimensions, Light/Observer/Surface and every dimension will influence the eventual colour perceiving.
    * Even if you have decided on a colour(inherent) in the application process 14 factors influence the eventual perceived colour.
    * Colour theory is handy, but you work with a complex human being, who’s experience of a colour can never ever be determined by any one else. We accept that all human beings “SEE” the same colour, but we actually don’t know what they see.
    * Why not approach colour from a humane design approach. You don’t adjust to colour, but colour must serve you, the complex human who’s brain is influenced by LRV, Ergenomics, etc,etc,etc
    * No colour is constant, and neither is the observer.
    * Why do you get tired of a colour?
    * Why not consider PSYCHODECOR?
    * Continuous viewing of a colour.
    * Healthy colours/stress.
    * Where does colour experience originate?

    • Love your comments thank you. Yes there are more than 9 but the original colour wheel is also just as limiting because it only shows the primary colours. My system is about USEFUL AND OVERUSED colours. If anyone were to take my Core Collection of 50 samples and go into 10 homes to choose colour, you would find that most of the colours you ended up specifying would come from those 50 colours. That’s why it works so well. Maria

    • LOL at PYSCHODECOR! Sometimes, remodeling can make a person psycho! Then choosing the furniture that doesn’t make you want to kill your spouse….! I spent Saturday with repeat clients who moved into a brand new house and the spouses couldn’t agree on the 4 sofas they’ll need for the 4 living areas, so we left the husband at home to look at furniture…

  5. The description of true white is stated as the one all other whites are compared to. This set me up to expect that all other whites would first be described/defined relative to true white before their use is described. Scientists are taught that a term must be defined before it is used…

  6. Another thought. As someone who has read your blog, and a few ebooks, from top to bottom (and more than once) I find the description for greige initially contradictory to what is said in the bonus book of whites that instructs us to go for greige if sunlight is low: “If you don’t have enough sunlight in your home you will have a very di cult me crea ng this look.
    And that’s when you need to pull out a lovely greige or some of the palest of neutrals. A greige or light neutral isn’t as eli st as white and can help you create a look and
    feel that is current and embraces all the bright and happy colours you are seeing everywhere you look.”

  7. Orange Beige is not used as often as…
    “necessary” is redundant
    it’s
    stick with correct
    Yellow Beige… to define
    Gold Beige… can look the same and can sometimes…
    Green Beige will help earth tones…
    Green Grey … Do not use it in…
    Blue Grey — undertone and does not enhance … earth tones which are usually…
    Violet Grey is only used when …It can be… which will make a room look fresher.

  8. I love the descriptors that concisely state where to use the undertone! So helpful.
    I agree with Kay that what is said for each undertone should be consistent:
    When to use it
    When not to use it

    and no need to repeat the colour in the descriptor if it is already in the name.
    Can’t wait to see the final product!

  9. I’m a S. I would just say make it simple. Do’s or Don’ts. I have several of your courses and E books. I love your system and new color wheel. Do most people use colour??? I’m in the US.

      • Oh, haha, color is definitely more used than colour. . .sigh, but my entire blog is written with an ou so I’m a little less inclined to give up the european way of spelling it! Maria

      • Definitely Color but I don’t understand why since it’s the american spelling along with Gray but yet grey is definitely the winner in hash tags.

  10. Maria, I am an SI, indeed! I find that your system clairifies and classifies very well, but I have a few questions: 1) Gold Beige, introduced at an earlier layer of the wheel, all alone, cannot have a few mates, such as Grey Green, and Grey Blue? Or is it that they are more obvious? 2)Since Gold Beige is much like Pinky Beige when possessing a similar tonal value, doesn’t Orange Beige become similar to Gold Beige when in the same tone? ( I have had trouble distinguishing between it and the former at times.) 3) Each colour has either a description or is self explanatory in its name, save for Off White, Cream and Greige. I think a few words would help some people who are not as familiar with your blog, particularily Off White. It can sound so vague, though you show it well on your wheel. What a tremendous accomplishment, Maria!!!

  11. I agree with some of the others – concise and consistent. Also, a reference to examples of commonly used paint colors in each category would be very helpful.

    • This colour wheel is NOT sponsored by ANY paint company so there will not be paint colours to reference. they will be found in my eBooks (which are NOT sponsored either, haha). Maria

  12. IMHO, I must agree with the many comments that the ‘statements’ lack consistency but at the same time question why use ‘statements’ at all? In other words, is it possible to condense the information in a ‘chart format’ and perhaps target only three categories? (For example: Identity/Use/Result)
    Short yet precise and to the point! Just a thought. °Û° -Brenda-

    • You make a good point, that there is not enough room to perhaps cause nothing but confusion. I’ll have to think about that! Maria

  13. Thanks for the free DISC test- I will use it at my next article club meeting with the ladies- It turns out I am an I/S – I am inspiring and supportive!! I like this combination!

  14. You mention “earthy colors” several times and I don’t know what colors they are. It seems to be an important point that you are making but I’m left wondering what you mean.

    • If I said dirty or earthy, would that help clarify it? What I didn’t post here is that the colour wheel does list which undertone goes with which? However, those will NOT change which is why I did not ask for feedback. Thanks, Maria

  15. I would like to add a sincere thank you for reaching out to this particular group. We don’t often get people truly willing to hear our thoughts, and we always mean them to be helpful, not hurtful. It is lovely to be invited to share. Also, putting the descriptions in without the photos was very helpful (I, at least, found the photos distracting).
    As for commenting on the descriptions, the common concern seen above is true for me as well – the descriptions offer different levels of information which necessarily means some are less “useful” than others. Gold beige and off white were the least specified to me, but of course we are also taking these descriptions out of context, where they will be paired with colour ranges visually. Given that eventual context, I personally find your more experience based comments more useful than sometimes -referred-to colour names. For example, your experience is better refined in the blue grey and green grey descriptions because you are clearly stating what these neutrals do or work with. This kind of direction is why I read your blog and books, so I believe this information would be more useful on the wheel and more consistent with your other work (blog, books, and I assume course).
    Hope this helps, and again, thank you for asking for our feedback!

    • Ditto Danielle’s thanks. We might not be warm and fuzzy (without effort or deep sincerity) but we will show up with DATA! 😉

  16. Concerning “grey” vs. “gray”: I’m a professional science copy editor (20+ years) and therefore well versed in spelling, usage, etc. “Grey” is the standard British (and, hence, Canadian) spelling, whereas “gray” is the standard American spelling (see Merriam-Webster and all other American dictionaries). These standards are not changing anytime soon. So, if you want to be sure to reach the millions of Americans, I recommend that you use both hashtags. Same goes for “color” and “colour.”

  17. Love love your color wheel, what a brilliant way to illustrate your system.
    The only thing that confused me was why gold beige is placed in a spot that makes it appear as if it’s a more yellow form of yellow beige. To my understanding it falls between yellow beige and green beige in the same way orange beige falls between yellow beige and pink beige. Yet, orange beige has a piece of “pie” on the color wheel, and gold beige doesn’t.
    Perhaps the orange beige slice could me made narrower, and gold beige given an equal sized slice between yellow and green beige? Or would that be a correct representation…

    • HI Cathy,
      Gold beige is like red. You can’t really ask for a light red, you end up with pink. That’s why it’s the ONLY undertone that is categorized one shade darker. And it’s also a useful undertone that is found in lots of finishes and fabrics. Thanks for your comment, Maria

  18. Really like the color wheel, very useful for visual learners.
    110% agree with previous posters to work on making the purpose of each descriptor more uniform in purpose. For me, most useful would mean a comment on it’s color essence plus how best to use it (and / or when to avoid using).
    Two specific feedbacks: 1. Pink Beige – reader of your blog for a while but not quite use what mean by do not use as a default neutral. Imagine most people find themselves with Pink Beige fixed elements (tile, countertops?) that may not be compatible for immediate replacing…and therefore may reluctantly become someone’s default color need to work with. Would be helpful if descriptor had suggestion on how to make most of pink beige. 2. Yellow Beige – just a description that doesn’t provide any useful insight on how to use the color.
    Good luck!

  19. Maria, you should know there is a programming error on your site regarding the comments loading. It shows the first 20 or so, then when I click the “Older Comments” button at the bottom it simply takes me back to the top of the first few comments without loading the older ones. I had this issue last night too on an older post of yours where I could only see the first of 40 comments and couldn’t get the other ones to show up. FYI if you weren’t already aware! I would really like to see the whole comment string.

  20. I agree with the comments that these color range descriptions seem to have different purposes (e.g., to describe the color more concretely, or to advise regarding compatible colors), and a single consistent purpose would be better.

    Color-specific comments are:

    PINK-BEIGE – “Tan” doesn’t fit. Tan is a less complex color, and has more orange. Try Khaki if you need three descriptors. Also, rather than saying “do not use as a default neutral”, provide the reason not to use in a more constructive tone: “Pink Beige is the most limiting of the neutrals when selecting accent colors.”

    GREEN GREY – Comparing this color to “natural stone” only works in parts of the world where natural stone is gray granite. In Texas, natural stone is limestone, a rich cream color, and in Arizona and New Mexico, natural stone is a rich bright terracotta color. Instead, maybe you can describe green grey as the color of concrete, or the color of Spanish moss or dry sage (but most of your customers won’t have ever seen Spanish Moss and will be thinking vivid green like moss on the ground under trees). So maybe dry sage is the way to go.

    TAUPE – I’ve always struggled with your use of the word “dirty” when describing color. It makes conversations with family very difficult: “Honey, I want to paint the room a dirty grey.” I know this word is firmly embedded in your blog and training… but it makes me cringe every time. The words muddled or muted would be better, and muddled is actually the most accurate (from a watercolor painting point of view).

    GREIGE – Remove the word “wall”, since it is absent from all the other descriptions; showing it only here raises the question of why/whether the other colors are NOT for walls.

    Great fun, thanks for the invitation to comment!

    • I agree with the color of natural stone on green gray. There are so many natural stone colors if you go into a slab yard that it becomes very evident why you need gold beige or pink beige, and sometimes the green beige. Maybe it should be compared to natural colored cement and not stone. I’m at a client’s house overseeing the marble install and it is a blue gray. Nonetheless, I love your color wheel and the photos to help visual learners. (D/I person)

  21. Orange Beige is not used as often as other beige neutrals, however, when its already established in a colour scheme it can still be the necessary and correct choice.

  22. I 100% agree with the many who are wishing for more consist descriptions overall! It is tricky though, because some colors like gold beige, taupe, and greige need more definition than colors like yellow beige or orange beige whose names say it all. Still, I would strive to include the most useful information for each color and organize them as consistently as possible. As others have suggested, it would be easier to read as short phrases instead of sentences. Other comments:

    Pink Beige – Mocha and Latte make sense, but personally “tan” really throws me off.

    Gold Beige – This is a trickier color that especially needs definition to distinguish it from yellow beige and orange beige.

    Green Grey – To say “it is not as useful in rooms decorated entirely in earth tones” leaves me wondering… as useful as what? Other greys? (Surely not.) As Green Beige? The point is not clear. Also, I really like your description of green grey in Bonus Book of Whites… “reads like a neutral, putty shade.” Wish it was included here.

    Greige – This color also needs more definition. “A combination of beige and grey with a green undertone” would differentiate it from taupe. I have also heard you describe it as grey-white.

    Good luck!

  23. This color wheel will be awesome…I just know it! I agree with the previous commenters regarding providing more clarity and consistency with the descriptions. As a longtime reader (and a CS!), the descriptions individually make sense, however put together the message gets lost. Also, and I may have missed this, have you defined your target audience for the color wheel? If it’s for the masses, then simplifying how to identify the undertones and its usefulness is key. If it’s for your workshop participants, then while I still believe the descriptions should be clear and consistent, they’ll get the gist of it more easily and be able to fill in the blanks. For example: True White – The control white… I understand what you mean, but how would someone know if they are looking at a “true white” or not? Just by the color name? In one of your e-books you list Chantilly Lace as the true white for BM, but some might think BM’s Pure White” is a true white (maybe it works, too!). Again, for the average homeowner, this statement might be confusing especially if they don’t know your mantra: Compare, compare, compare! Your readers/workshop participants would know to do that. 🙂

  24. I too think a more systematic description for each Undertone would be helpful. The Wheel can have a concise description for those of us who know your system. Creating a “cheat-sheet” with further explanations would help those who have not taken your course. If you were to ever get the opportunity to sell your Wheel in paint stores, a brief explanation of your Undertone System would be a terrific selling factor!

  25. Hello Maria – Question relative to the chart – there are colors that do not work in a Northern exposure. That part I get, from the class, the books, the comments, sadly from experience. Are there colors that ‘shine’ in a Northern exposure? I love the idea of adding tips to each undertone – to help anchor learning and use.

    • Say more about ‘which colours don’t work in a northern exposure?’ I haven’t found that. For example many people say that blue is too cold but my bedroom is blue, however it is highly decorated and styled making the colour irrelevant. In my experience, when people are focused too much on the COLOUR of the walls, it’s because the room does not have a LOOK and a FEEL. You need LAMPS, ART, END TABLES, PILLOWS, BEDDING THAT COORDINATES. Hope that helps, Thanks for your comment! Maria

  26. I know you hate pink beige but here is a suggestion. Instead of “Often described as mocha, latte or tan, this is the most overused and limiting neutral undertone. Do not use as a default neutral” could you say:

    “Often described as mocha, latte, or tan. Looks less fresh and doesn’t coordinate easily with other colors besides pink and blue.”

  27. I think the true white explanation doesn’t go far enough. How can someone figure out what is a true white. I also don’t understand why you say Greige needs a lot of light. White needs the light and greige needs less. Also greige itself has undertones….I am the scientist type.

  28. Your breakdown of the colors above and the color wheel make it so easy to see how these colors can be used. Knowing this alone is priceless. Would love to take one of your classes someday, right not cost is a factor for me. I have learned so much from the years of following your blog and your booklets. Thank you! I too am curious about the off white, what colors make it off white that it goes with everything?

  29. Hi, Maria-
    I haven’t read through every single comment to see if this has been said, but I would love to see the info in bullet points, so that I can see the info at a glance. For example:

    Green Grey:
    -most neutral of the grays/ is the colour of natural stone
    -do not use in rooms decorated entirely in earth tones

    Also, I would like to see more info on some of the colors. Maybe for each color you could put “recommended” and “not recommended.” And I want more info on gold beige, other than it can sometimes be put with pink beige.

    And I’ll use a bit of space to highly recommend your color workshop! I mean COLOUR workshop! ;-D Loved all of the info, and have been using my large paint samples. You gave language to what I could see and not describe adequately, as well as fine tuning what my eye now sees. You and Terreeia are a dynamic team. I have so much love for you both!

    Take care!
    Kimberli

  30. I tested as an L–about equal in each. I am a painter and photographer with an interest in historic architecture and design, so I consider my color sense to be quite good, although I do have problems distinguishing between the beiges at times. I have enjoyed your blog for years and have learned a lot from it.

    Anyway, I agree with the comments that the format and content of each description should be more consistent. I think true white can be described as “White without any overtones, used as a control to compare other whites and neutrals.” A chart (or several charts) with more explicit information would definitely be useful as well.

    I’m sure you have your reasons for choosing the center colors, but I find them a bit confusing. All of them on the center ring are what I would consider strong pastels (saturated colors with a bit of white) and all are on the warm side, except violet. The ones I find most “off” from what I would expect is the orange, which has a lot of red in it and is not that much different from the red/pink, and both look rather salmon to me. The blue is also very warm–close to process blue/cyan (for printing in CMYK)– I would expect a more true blue to mix to grey. And I would expect the red/pink to be less orange, perhaps a bit more to magenta, the yellow/gold to be a touch less orange, and the green to be a little less yellow.

    In the next ring, the gold beige looks a bit orange to me, as does the cream. The green grey is not quite as green as I would expect (more like blue green grey). My screen is color calibrated, but subtle tones are difficult to capture–perhaps it looks different in person.

    Seems like there are tons of variations in whites and light greys in real life. Perhaps the outer ring could shade a bit from very pale to slightly darker, and in tint (cooler to warmer). Or maybe that would be too confusing to figure out where these very subtle colors lie? It has been awhile since I read your e-book (for the life of me I can’t find it on my computer), White is Complicated. What exactly is the definition of off-white? The description above doesn’t specify.

    My go-to white for historic trim and interiors is antique white, which is white with just a touch of burnt umber (a cool brown), mixed sometimes with a tiny fleck of yellow or some other color, but not so much that it goes to cream or beige, I find it goes well with just about any color and most whites, dirty or clean, although it is not contrasty enough for true yellow and light pastels. I’m not sure where that would fall on your chart–would that be on the continuum of off white (which looks to be white with a touch of greige, grey or taupe) or cream?

    • Kathy you totally called it, the colours have been given a complete overhaul on their way to the printer, thanks so much! Maria