We were lucky enough to host visionary color expert, inspiring designer and friend of Heartwork, Laura Guido-Clark, for a seminar and training of her new intuitive navigational color tool, Love Good Color.
Love Good Color is more than a color reference system, it's a philosophy that encapsulates the emotive nature of color and its effect on our well being, beyond aesthetic value.
Photos from the seminar, and our conversation with Laura below!
Heartwork: Tell me about yourself and your experience with color.
Laura Guido-Clark: I have always loved design. I think one of the many reasons why, is it’s capacity to create meaning and emotional connection. From a schooling standpoint, I studied both pre-med and design, and I just love how similar they are, with the ultimate thing being that empathy drives both. I feel that the empathic part of design is really critical. As we live in more of a 2D world, the 3D world becomes more important to us, that emotive world matters because ultimately we need a sense of balance.
H: Pre-med and design seem very disparate… what brought you more into the design world?
L: One thing I feel is that there is a great connection with beauty as a human need. When we look at environments and spaces, not only are they beautiful, they are functional, the merging of the two things. Ultimately, they’re there to serve people, to help them be their best, which won out over the field of medicine. Both fields are creative but I really wanted to push more forward in the world of design.
H: You can argue that many designers are more comfortable in the 2D world, what are some unique aspects to color you’ve seen as an emotive element outside of that?
L: After working in the world of color for over 30 years, I’ve realized many things about it. One thing, is it’s humbling. There is always more to learn about color. We live in a visual world and that the visual part of color was very well represented, but the emotive world of color wasn’t. I felt that there was space to do the research and to create a new way to look at color. That’s what the system and seminar does, it looks at color from a holistic standpoint, of the visual or the spectral, and the emotive merging together. That was so exciting, because I felt it was a new way in. It’s really fun.
H: My impression was that your tool helps take some of the guesswork or personality out of seemingly endless color choices - not to say that it reduces a person's personality in the decision, but this lets you think about your color choices in a more intuitive, meaningful way.
L: It drives it to a sense of purpose. The system allows a tremendous amount of self expression, but it also steeps it in a methodology that removes it from being so subjective, basically “I like, or, I don’t like”. I think that part of our world is really important and gives us a foundation for what we do. To me, that’s exciting.
H: How does one go about building a program like this? How did the planning process develop?
L: I think it was organic - like everything in my life. You can look back to when I painted the wrong color, a vibrant orange, in my sons room when he was two... There was this ‘aha!’ moment - that maybe our diagnostic tools aren’t as great as I had hoped. Or when I was starting our nonprofit, Project Color Corps, I realized that in order to have a dialogue we have to drive things more towards an emotive conversation. Working with bigger clients like Herman Miller, and having them asking me to steep my process in a methodology just made me totally, passionately devoted to creating a new tool. So, it’s what’s been happening over the course of the last 9 years. There had to be a depth to this, and a lot of observation and study. It really hones in on the same things that I love, the merging of science and creativity. There is a methodology to this, and yet it's so creative. Those two things were really important to me. It’s not about my point of view, the tool is for everyone to refine and consider their point of view.
H: What’s the most exciting or surprising thing you learned or experienced throughout the development process?
L: The most surprising things have been learned recently, because I’ve been out in the world with it. The most surprising, lovely thing for me is how much creativity it spurs in people. Seeing them think in a new way, for me that is really moving. It’s what you hope for - but you don’t know if it will actually manifest like that. Peoples reactions to it have been so heartwarming.
H: What has been the best feedback you’ve gotten so far?
L: When people say that it exceeded their expectations, when you work that long and that hard, it makes you want to cry because you want people to have that sense of value, so the idea that they walked into something and it was even better then they imagine is a really wonderful thing. I think that people love the idea that we’ve really helped them learn a new language. We’ve heard that it's just the right balance of art and science, lecture and experiential. That’s really great.
H: Was there a testing or iteration phase after the initial development?
L: In the early, early phases, maybe a year and a half ago before we really took the final tool to market, we reached out to a diverse group of people: from professors, to companies that deal with strategies, to designers and all of them were incredibly generous in terms of insights. So I’d say that the design world in and of itself, whether it be academic, or strategic or creative, have been wonderful in terms of being receptive to something new and in sharing their opinions. It wasn’t any one person that stood out, but more the generosity of this creative culture that really wants to make the industry better and is willing to invest their time and opinions to make it happen. I feel a lot of gratitude for that.
H: What's your favorite color?
L: I truly don’t have one - but I deeply know what color I need based on my emotive sensibility, which is ever-changing. So, that’s the most exciting part, that on any given day or any given intention I understand the deeper connection to it - so it’s ever-changing.
H: Very cool. If hypothetically, you were feeling a certain way, or your trying to get out of a creative rut, and you were looking to color to help guide you, what are some tips or advice you’d be willing to share?
L: It could be as simple as wearing something, what you surround yourself with, or what you see in your mind. When we work with the kids in communities for Project Color Corps, we try to teach them that color is something that you can create in your mind. I don’t know if there is any one answer. It’s what makes color so humbling and rich.
H: Why don’t you tell me a little bit about Project Color Corps and how your other work has contributed towards that effort.
L: We have a wonderful organization with an incredible board, volunteers, and a design community working on projects all the time. It’s enabled us as a way to connect with communities on a much deeper level. We’ve developed processes, but the ability to translate the needs and desires of the communities into color, has been very critical and the success of that being reflected by the respect and love of the community. Our murals are never tagged, people truly understand that these are a expression of themselves and their community. That is probably for all of us at project color corps the most heartwarming and gratifying thing of all.
H: After all of this, and the amazing accomplishment of creating this and bringing it into the world - what comes next?
L: We want to go deeper. We just started, and this whole idea of human connection and color is so important to me. Color is one of the greatest vehicles of all. We’re just beginning.
H: Anything else?
L: I have so much gratitude to Heartwork for wanting to delivery an educational tool to people they care about - I’m really grateful.
H: Please - thank you!