Have you ever wondered why home appliances and tech devices are sold in bland, monochromatic colour-ways?
Kettles are either black, white or silver.
TVs are usually black.
Washing machines come in white or silver. Why? Why so dull?
In a fascinating piece by Ingrid Fetell Lee - she suggests that our boring tech reality is as a consequence of how we have historically perceived sophistication and prosperity in modern, Western-civilisations.
Our conditioning tells us that things that are colourful are meant for children; or people that are less sophisticated.
People that have so-called 'made it' tend to gravitate towards stuff that Germans would consider classy.
Yes, stuff that's looks bland and boring.
The idea that colour is “juvenile” and a form of nostalgia is fairly common, but it only makes sense if you’re unaware that our consumer landscape looks the way it does because of deep cultural biases. Color isn’t inherently childish. On the contrary, many adults love color but have been made to feel like it’s childish, unsophisticated, primitive, or silly. This bias dates back hundreds of years. As Goethe wrote in his Theory of Colors in 1810:
Savage nations, uneducated people, and children have a predilection for vivid colors… people of refinement avoid vivid colors in their dress and the objects that are about them, and seem inclined to banish them altogether from their presence. - JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE
Because of cultural bias we think that, muted = elevated; colour = children.
This is an assumption that goes unquestioned...until now that is.
An increasing number of consumer brands are challenging this idea.
Minix is a Korean appliance brand that believes in colour. Their mini 4-in-1 washer dryer comes in a vibrant palette of highlighter yellow, terracotta orange, and bright turquoise.
Character is a home improvement brand that adds colour to DIY. They market colourful toolboxes ($165) and toolsets that don't look like they were designed by accountants.
MAD Paris and Casablanca have collaborated to reimagine the Contax G2 Camera (€7,500) in bright colours (SOLD OUT).
Sproos is a bathroom-fixture brand that believes your bathroom shouldn't look as sterile as a boarding school washing facility. They sell sanitary ware in various colours - capturing a useful niche in an otherwise colourless landscape.
“Color is life, for a world without color appears to us as dead.” - Johannes Itten
Colour is not something to be afraid of.
The narrative around colour is also completely unquestioned by many brands. There is opportunity now in opening up this treasure chest to see what new ideas might evolve out to letting go of the colour thing.
Clearly there is consumer demand out there for a bit of vibrancy - just give the people what they want.