Insight from a Colour Specialist | Q+A with Davina Harper of Dulux

1. Davina, you are the colour to our nation, the strategist who unlocks latest trends - we love that. As a colour specialist do people know what that is - can you give our friends a rundown?

My role is really diverse; I look after things like how colours are displayed in retail stores, advertising campaigns for Dulux colour, developing colour collateral such as colour cards and fandecks, running colour programmes such as the Dulux Colour Awards, answering PR queries and working with our Dulux Colour Ambassadors, speaking at events, and helping to develop the Dulux Colour Trends.

Image credit – Helen Bankers.

Image credit – Helen Bankers.

2. What made you pursue this exciting journey? Has colour always held your interest?

I have always loved everything to do with colour; the psychology of colour, the cultural and traditional meanings behind colour, the many different names to describe each and every shade, and of course how colour trends are constantly changing.

I also love how confidence in colour is really on the rise and we are seeing stunning combinations that break with tradition and give spaces are more of a bespoke, personal feel.

Image credits: Styling Bree Leech, Photo Lisa Cohen

Image credits: Styling Bree Leech, Photo Lisa Cohen

Image credits: Styling Bree Leech, Photo Lisa Cohen

Image credits: Styling Bree Leech, Photo Lisa Cohen

3. Interpreting colour trends sounds to us like plenty of international travel. Where are you drawn to for inspiration?

Inspiration can come from anywhere, but Salon de Mobile in Milan really is the place to see the cutting-edge innovations, and colour and design trends from across the globe. Over 380,000 people attended this year, making it the largest furniture and design fair of its kind in the world and a near unlimited source of wonder and inspiration.

In terms of selecting a colour palette though, you can never really go wrong with colours found in landscapes and nature. Mother Nature rarely gets it wrong and is the reason why we find colours derived from nature so relaxing and pleasing in our own homes.

4. For someone looking to get into the industry, what path would you suggest they take?

I definitely took the long path – my background is in psychology and marketing. I studied interior design in my spare time and more recently did a Diploma of Colour through the International School or Colour & Design (ISCD) in Sydney.

I’d suggest gaining a colour or interior design qualification as well as joining an organisation like the Colour Marketing Group (CMG). CMG is an international association for colour design professionals who work together to identify the direction of colour and design trends.

5. What is behind a colour trend? Do influences come from societal trends, seasons and so on?

When pulling together the Dulux Colour Trends each year, Dulux does intensive research to identify the key influences driving current trends across all different industries, from design to wellness and social media. We also work closely with the Colour Marketing Group. We discuss what’s on peoples’ minds, what factors affect where design and colour are going and what’s happening from a technical and pigment perspective.

6. What’s happening at your place colour wise - are you forever changing the surfaces of your abode?

I tend to always use Dulux Okarito as my go-to white (it goes with anything) and then simply add other colours as accents. At the moment I’m enjoying calm cool colours like sage green, grey-blues and navy. But lately I have noticed touches of lilac and mauve creeping in…

Light airy living area with white painted walls and grey lounger

7. In our industry we see people freeze when it comes to colour decisions and it’s our role to support –how do you help people with this process?

A lot of it comes down to taking the time to find out what look someone is trying to create in their home, what colours they are drawn to, what they already have to work with and why they want to use each room. It really is just a process of discovering what people want and then helping them create it.

8. If you could provide the household paint for any celebrity, who would it be and what colours would you unleash?

It would have to be actress Michelle Williams. I’d paint her house in beautiful feminine lilacs, mauves and soft blush inspired by the Wholeself palette from this year’s Dulux Colour Forecast.

Image credits: Styling Bree Leech, Photo Lisa Cohen)

Image credits: Styling Bree Leech, Photo Lisa Cohen)

9. Finally, how many shades of white are there really? (asking for a friend).

Never enough !

Thank you so much Davina, we love working with Dulux and seeing what new colour palettes are trending each year.

Nikki McNamara