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Skip to 0 minutes and 18 seconds Fantastic thing for me is that I’ve always been a complete colour geek. And so I was incredibly lucky to grow up and work for Farrow and Ball, who really is still considered, I think, the masters of colour. And Farrow and Ball actually started in the late 1940s with Mr. Farrow and Mr. Ball. And it’s still– actually, the paint is made in the same factory in Dorset. It’s a very, very old, traditional company. What’s fantastic is that we never actually compromised the way the paint is made. It’s still very traditionally made, although it’s environmentally very, very friendly. So it’s, for me, absolutely fantastic, that mix of the old and the new together.

Skip to 1 minute and 0 seconds And Farrow and Ball was reinvented in 1990, when the National Trust asked Tom Helme to create a palette of colours for the National Trust. And he couldn’t find a company which had the best quality of paint. So eventually he did find Farrow and Ball, which was literally one man and a stick. But he bought the company. And they’ve carried on making amazingly fully pigmented paint, lots and lots and lots of pigment, very little plastic, which is what makes it very different and special.

Skip to 1 minute and 42 seconds It’s interesting, actually, because my mother says that when I was a small child, I described things with colour. So it wouldn’t be that holiday in Spain. It would be that holiday with the pink sky or whatever. So I think that I’ve always really strongly connected with different colours, be it within nature, which I think is one of the best ways of teaching you how to combine colours. You can never go wrong with what nature gives you. I mean, be it an aubergine, a brinjal where you’ve got the deep, deep purple and the bright green of the leaf. All of nature is a great inspiration, huge inspiration for creating new colours.

Skip to 2 minutes and 22 seconds Sometimes a colour which comes from nature can also be literally named after what it is. So wonderful heathers, we have a colour called Calluna, which is taken literally from the colour of that heather. But for me, I suppose, as well as nature, the things which I think about creatively or inspire me creatively is definitely art. So I spend a huge about a time going to exhibitions with my family, be it Rothko, or be it Josef Albers, all these things which just make you think about colour and how it reacts in different conditions. The new colours come from all different sources. Sometimes it can be a colour which I’ve held in my head for years.

Skip to 3 minutes and 2 seconds There was a particular colour, which came out, I think, maybe four or five years ago called Stiffkey Blue, which is an amazing blue, which was the colour of the mud on my children’s legs when we used to go to this north Norfolk beach. And I held that in my head forever. And I always wanted to put it on the wall. So that’s a bizarre way a colour comes around. Often they will come from houses that I’ve been working on or we’ve been shooting in, where we get a flake of paint from, perhaps. The last one we did was from behind a gun cupboard when it was moved. And there was a little tiny piece of green.

Skip to 3 minutes and 36 seconds It was so lush and vibrant. We couldn’t believe it. And this is in a Somerset Hamstone farmhouse. So it was a very, very old colour. But somehow it reflected the lush green of the countryside around it. It was just astonishing. And so it was asking to be made into a commercial paint colour.

Skip to 4 minutes and 2 seconds Without doubt, the trends and the fashion for colour in the home come from fashion, from clothes fashion. They always lead. And the interiors will follow. And yes, I mean I find it endlessly fascinating what happens with trends of colours in houses. You know, when the economy is very buoyant, we’ll use one particular colour. When the economy is right down, we tend to help ourselves more by having more tender, blushing colours, which give us a hug, less blingy than when the economy is on the up. So yes, trends certainly I will follow with interest. And hopefully I predict a lot myself as well.

Skip to 4 minutes and 44 seconds I think what’s really interesting at the moment is, as I said, I think our worlds are becoming more and more hard edged, all these flat screens, tablets, phones. They’re all flat, flat, flat, hard things. And our homes, we actually want them to be a little bit more tender, a little bit more blushing, to look after us a bit more. So colours have become softer. Fantastic for Farrow and Ball, because we have all these traditional tones, which are much softer. So it works really, really well. And the other thing which I’m noticing at the moment is that actually, we’re coming out of our little spurt back to colour, sadly, and going back into neutrals again.

Skip to 5 minutes and 24 seconds But not creamy neutrals, not grey neutrals, really things which are very, very white. So tints of white, I think, will be a big thing in the next five years, when we’ve got over our pink phase, obviously.

Skip to 5 minutes and 42 seconds I have no formal training, hands up. I’m absolutely Farrow and Ball homegrown. The distinct love of colour all my life, and what I did was spend months– actually years– just playing with the Farrow and Ball colours for endlessly. And that’s really how I’ve taught myself.

Skip to 6 minutes and 6 seconds I’ve tried to make the colours a little bit easier to work with. So we certainly have some colour families, neutral colour families, which are very useful to start off with. If you can make yourself familiar with them, there are six of them, ranging from the very traditional neutrals, which feel as if they’ve always been there. A wonderful quality to them, that when you put them on the wall, they ought as if they’ve been there forever. They never look new, little underlying green. Then you have a more yellow based, which is more pretty, little bit less sophisticated, more country in feel.

Skip to 6 minutes and 40 seconds A red based set of neutrals, which are for the classic, contemporary house, people who like limestone and linen and leather, that sort of thing, but very warm. Those three are pretty traditional. And then we now have three more groups of neutrals, which are much greyer in tone. One is very warm grey. It’s the contemporary greys, with a little bit of underlying lilac. The easy neutrals, which are really, really– I always feel as if they’re almost transparent. If you paint them in a room– and this room is painted in ammonite, which is one of the easy greys– you never notice they’re there. I wanted them to be almost see through.

Skip to 7 minutes and 22 seconds And then the last set is a more architectural, hard edged group, which is more conducive to minimal living, I suppose, harder, bluer, greyer. And that’s a good way to start. I must say, is that if you can get your head around those neutrals. And each group has four colours in them. And you know that you can use them in any combination. It could be the lightest one on the walls and the darkest one on the woodwork or vice versa. So it’s a great way to start.

Skip to 7 minutes and 52 seconds I mean, I think, at this very moment, pink is still the big, big thing. And actually I’ve had really good fun with the last set of new colours, because I wanted to create a pink which proved that pink’s not just for girls. It’s a colour that can be used for boys as well. And I made this colour called Peignoir, which has a massive, great big dose of black in it. So it’s difficult to tell, well, is it pink? Or is it grey? It certainly changes in different light conditions. And that’s a colour which I’m loving, still loving using at the moment. And also I think these, some complex colours, like Inchyra Blue, which is– you can’t tell whether it’s blue.

Skip to 8 minutes and 34 seconds Is it blue? Is it green? Is it grey? You can’t tell. And I love those complex colours, which they bring out different reactions in different people. So I really like using those.

An interview with Joa Studholme

Joa Studholme is paint company Farrow & Ball’s in-house colour specialist. Joa is responsible for the development of new colours for the Farrow & Ball house range, she also works internationally as a colour consultant.

In this video Joa tells us about her approach to colour combining, how colour trends change over time and what affects them, and where she finds inspiration for new colours for Farrow & Ball.

  • Are you familiar with the colours in this range? If so, can you suggest the particular approach that this company takes to colour selection - in terms of hue, what do most of their colours have in common? How does this differ from other paint manufacturers?

  • If you were to develop a new paint colour, what would it be? What would you call it?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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This video is from the free online course:

The Power of Colour

KLC School of Design