Color Trends 2012 & Beyond – Speaking The Language of Color

Swatches from my work table

A Re-Do it Design reader, Linda, asked a really good question that deserves some expansion. Linda writes, “What does the CSP prefix to the color numbers stand for?” This is in reference to all those fan deck colors I have provided in my series of articles about Benjamin Moore Paints “Color Stories” color palettes.

All BM paint colors have an alpha-prefix. CSP stands for Color Stories Paints – HC, stands for Historical Colors, and so on.

It’s an advantage as a consumer in any industry to know their language. It helps them server you faster, and deal with you with greater respect, because you have obviously done your homework well enough to understand the language they speak routinely.

Paint is like lipstick. It has insider and outsider language. The consumer is provided with 2 references – the industry language and the language of marketing. A Revlon rep understands that within a color collection of lipsticks, a color is known as 476 for example – it’s on the bottom of the tube. The tube will also provide a color name – something like, “Red Velvet Cake”. This is no different than “Penthouse” in the Benjamin Moore Naturally Neutral Collection. Marketers make their living trying to add a layer of appeal designed to convert your preference into a sale by appealing to you psychologically in addition to aesthetically. Go away from the light! If you remember only the color name, just google it.

This will invariably bring up the sku on page 1 of your Google Search, which is the what the industry speak recognized by your paint rep as the true reference to this color – designers and contractors never use “lipstick names”.

Most skus have an abbreviated alpha-prefix (such as CSP) and then a number which identifies it on its own ladder – each color ladder in a fan deck has some 6-8 variations of one color, offering gradations from darkest to lightest.

screenshot from Benjamin Moore’s virtual Fan deck

Take the time to research what surface you are looking for in your paint as well; ie, flat. egg-shell, semi-gloss, high gloss etc, and what product you are looking for (this is another whole article!). In BM Paint for instance, there are varying price points attached to the product label, such as Regal, Aura ( a pricier low VOC product) and many more.

There is so much to know, that almost no one has the time to be a specialist!!!! But knowing the tip of the ice burg enables you to ask the questions in the language ,most likely to produce the answers you need and helps you get the most from your paint rep, which saves money, time, and mistakes. Hope this helps!

Hope this helps!