How many different ways can someone describe a color? There is a delightful video titled “Luscious” by the Sappi paper company Off Register.
In it, the main character attempts to describe the exact shade of “luscious” she wants printed on paper. “It’s like the inside of a baby polar bear’s ear,” she tells the printer. “It’s a nuclear accident, but there’s no problem with it,” she insists. “It’s like King Kong French kissed you … stop it Kong!”
All of the metaphors from “Luscious” have another thing in common: They link disparate ideas, a seductive idea with a dangerous one. This is the problem encountered with Annie Paul’s article “Is Pink Necessary?,” which is a review of the book Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein. What color best describes a little girl’s sexuality? But little girls have no sexuality, one may protest. Research indicates they do, that children identify with external signs to determine their sex. What then is the hue of sparkly tulle and chiffon? What is the color of a kiss blown from the palm of your hand or a coyly twirled finger in softly dimpled cheek? From the viewpoint of product design, the article is better contemplated as a lesson in using metaphors to describe a product, rather than as a book review. But one must know culturally available metaphors and the impact of those metaphors on the target audience. Then consult a fan deck of color chips to choose the color and name it by the metaphor.
Paul, A. M., (2011). “Is Pink Necessary?” New York Times. Retrieved October 9, 2012 from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/books/review/Paul-t.html
Sappi Fine Paper North America, (2010). “Luscious.” Off Register. Retrieved October 13, 2012 from YouTube.