The names that paint manufactures use to describe colours are an apex of very particular kind of language.
They read like pared down minimalist poetry mixed with an essence of marketing-speak as phrased by a spam bot text generator: Total nonsense which conjure an incredibly rich, yet non-specific image.
Here are some examples:
From Dulux: Shangrila Silk, Fragrant Cloud, Pebble Mosaic, Hop Grove, Aegean Cruise, Peacock Magic, Pebble Drift, Caymen Lagoon
Or, from Farrow & Ball: Savage Ground, Cats Paw, Hound Yellow, Borrowed Light, Churlish Green, Elephant’s Breath.
This two-word creative writing recalls Brian Enos work on the Windows startup chime. Describing the experience of composing the briefest of musical moments he says:
“The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I’d been working on my own music for a while, and was quite lost, actually, and I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, “Here’s a specific problem — Solve it!” The thing from the agency said, “We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah-blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional”, this whole list of adjectives, and then, at the bottom, it said: “and it must be 3_ seconds long”. I thought this was so funny, and an amazing thought, to actually try to make a little piece of music. It’s like making a tiny little jewel. In fact, I made eighty-four pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny, little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds, at the end of this, that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then, when I’d finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were, like, three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.”
Perhaps Dulux should follow Microsofts lead and start commissioning writers to produce two word pieces that could be applied to their colour ranges. Maybe Douglas Coupland could make a start. He has a track record of this kind of thing, providing names for Viktor & Rolfs 2002 fall collection.
The point of this post, however, was to draw attention to the wonderfully named paint ranges available from model making shops. Pictured here is ‘Yard Filth’, but also available are ‘General Muck’, ‘Devon Soil’, and that simple classic ‘Concrete’. Perhaps these could be the basis for a whole new trend in earthy, neo-realist interior design.