Start-up Corner: Colour Blocking in the Office

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Charlie Smith takes a look at how to spruce up your office with colour.  Following on from her popular article from last year, Start-up corner: Build your company identity, Charlie looks at what colour can do, how to use its potential in the work environment and make valuable changes to the way in which you work and think, and how colour can literally affect your mood and those around you.spacerIntroduction

For those that don’t know me, I’m a sucker for colour and design, so colour blocking sounded like an exciting article to research and write.  So, could it be time to freshen up your work area?

Research shows that the psychological effects of colour can play a big role in our day-to-day working life, from making us feel more awake to boosting our energy-levels. If you are looking for ways to decorate your office or home office, peeking in to the world of colour psychology and what it can do for your office environment can be a great place to start.

Does the odd splash of colour make a difference to your office environment? Can it inspire and create a more productive environment for you and your employees? Could it could potentially welcome your clients and put them at ease.

What is colour blocking?

Put simply, colour blocking is simply pairing bold colours with no particular concern of necessarily matching them for any reason. The idea is to use contrasting blocks of solid color rather than stripes, textures or patterns – hence the name. It is commonly associated in fashion as a trend that originated from the artwork of Dutch painter, Piet Mondrian.

Piet Mondrian: Composition in Red, Blue and Yellow, 1930.
Piet Mondrian: Composition in Red, Blue and Yellow, 1930.


Paint the whole world with a rainbow

Lets take a look at the colours and their effects:

Blue is said to create a sense a trust, communication and efficiency.

Violet stimulates intuition, imagination and artistic qualities.

Green can be calming and encourage efficiency. It also can encourage communication and socialisation.

Yellow stimulates the mind and increases the mood, specifically the fun side of people!

Red is a great colour for places where physical activity is required – It can boost the heart rate and increase brain wave activity.

Brown can suggest reliability and comfort.

Pink, and no not just bright Candy Pink! You can use lovely dusky or pale versions of this, so as not to make you or your clients feel too sick. It creates a sense of warmth and tranquillity.

White, while being monochromatic, is hygienic and shows sterility, clarity, purity, cleanness, simplicity, sophistication and efficiency.

Black, though not officially classed as a colour, is known for being quite a dark mysterious tone – when paired with other bright colours or indeed white, it can embue an office with a classy and professional feel. It is also said to lend an air of emotional safety and promote efficiency.

Pastel versions of bold colours can have a subtler effect, if you are not feeling too brave slapping red and black all over your walls . Be mindful that less is more; don’t try to fill every space with colour, as this can have the opposite effect on the area and make it feel cluttered and possibly even stressful.

If you are still not sure on what colours go with what, grab yourself some tester pots or colour charts and try combinations you might not have thought of. Using a colour wheel can help enormously. Colours opposite on the wheel can complement each other, for example, Yellow and Purple. Indeed, so can colours close to each other such as blue and green.

If you don’t fancy getting the dust sheets and painting rollers out, you can splash out on a piece of colour blocking art work, a rug, coloured or desk, chair, or coloured stationary or storage, but if you are up for the challenge, grab your paintbrush and send us photos of your office before and after, and let us know if it makes a difference to your workspace ambience and productivity.

Further reading

Dulux Website: Decorating tips and advice

Colour Blocking in Fashion 

Pinterest – Office Colour Blocking 

Staples: Why you should colour block your office immediately

Start-up corner: Build your company identity

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