Sherwin Williams, What’s Up With All the Boring Paint Color Names?

Paint color names are sometimes easy to poke fun at, but for the most part they are provoking and appealing. Who wouldn’t want to slather their walls with French Roast or Rainwashed?  

rainwashed

source

 

The more I learn about color, the more I internalize paint color names.  More likely than not, I can tell you which company a given color belongs to if you simply say its name.  Names of Benjamin Moore colors typically have an air of substance and purposeful lack of clarity.  Of course, you SHOULD know that Kensington Green is really a blue (and I’m sure that must have something to do with Kensington, England – but I haven’t been there, so I don’t know, but I certainly SHOULD know).  

kensingtongreen

via

 

Sherwin-Williams colors, on the other hand, have a rather functional quality.  Maybe too functional. Like Functional Gray.  Perhaps it really is a functional gray, but how exciting is that? Not very. Which leads me to my theory on a group of Sherwin-Williams paint color names . . .

sherwin williams

 

While most of Sherwin-Williams paint color names are perfectly attractive, there are some significant neutrals that are (in my opinion) ill-named.  And I have a little theory as to why . . .

Sherwin and his creative team simply ran out of names and decided to take an exotic vacation.  The bookish computer nerds working on website development and such were left to complete the mind-bending task of naming the remaining colors, most of which were rather uninspiring neutrals.  

Here are some of the names this group of bespeckled fellows came up with:

 

Realist Beige and Analytical Gray.  So exciting, can’t wait to try those colors!  (Surprisingly, these are pretty.)

analyticalgray

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Sherwin-Williams Passive SW7064.  Why stop there?  Why not “Passive-Aggressive”?

sherwin williams passive Sherwin-Williams Passive

 

 

Interactive Cream SW6113.  The dude naming this color was trying to be more, um, interpersonal.

interactivecream

Traci Zeller 

 

Workout Green SW6984. Now there’s some action, right?  Does this color really make you think about working out?  I don’t really think so.

workoutgreen

Workout Green 

 

 

Gray Matters SW7066.  Ugh, funny take on the color of brains?

SW-Gray-Matters

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Site White, Gray Screen, Online, Network Gray, Software, Web Gray, CyberspaceTechno Gray, Chatroom, Hardware, and Interface Tan.   Come on, computer nerds, can you say “One-tracked mind?” 

gray white and yellow nursery

 Network Gray by The Gabe Fix

 

 

Uncertain Gray SW6234.  Running out of steam, becoming really uncertain about what to name these stupid colors . . . 

uncertain gray contemporary-table-lamps

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It’s only a theory, but there it is. 

Disclaimer #1:   I realize that many men are very emotional, creative, and passionate.  I’m sure those men were involved in the creation of many of the names of other colors in other fandecks.  But not this one.  

Disclaimer #2:  I love you, Sherwin-Williams!!!  All in fun!

 

 

 

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Kelly
Guest

I have been thinking the very same thoughts these past months as I was trying to choose SW colors to replace my BM colors for our new house. It’s amazing how just a color name can influence how you feel about it. I did finally let myself choose Anonymous for our basement even though everything in me wants it to be AMAZING. 😉

Ann the Nerd
Guest
Ann the Nerd

Ahem. “The bookish computer nerds working on website development and such were left to complete the mind-bending task of naming the remaining colors, most of which were rather uninspiring neutrals.” As a bookish computer nerd, I have two things to share 1) I am a woman, not a bespectacled dude. 2) computer “nerds” are some of the most creative people on the planet and would have handily performed better than that. I’m sure the folks that came up with your “boring, analytical” paint color names were NOT actual computer nerds, but paint-color-namers who spent a crazy night where they each… Read more »

Barbara @ DIY Home Staging Tips
Guest

Very entertaining post! SW is my favorite paint, and I have always fantasized about my dream job — naming their paints. The travel, the research, the dreaming, the brainstorming…what fun! Maybe Sherwin will stay on vacation and call me. Yeah, right!

Denise
Guest
Denise

I loved your article on, “Real Men not Wanting to Paint Wood,” or something like that. Hilarious! I have fought that battle with my husband. I SO enjoyed sharing your article with him, and more excitedly, I believe that I am beginning to SWAY him!!! So excited!!! I would like to have my blase, passe, oak cabinets in my kitchen painted!!! For years now!!! What exciting color would you suggest? I am thinking a white, or off-white. I like the color of the cabinets, featured in the picture of the kitchen, that is a part of this article. Do tell…… Read more »

Peggy
Guest
Peggy

The color of the kitchen is Sherwin-Williams Interactive Cream (SW 6113). I found the website… http://tracizeller.com/blog/2011/one-chance-to-make-a-first-impression/
It’s the color I want to paint my kitchen, also.

MIsty Green
Guest
MIsty Green

We built a home and used Sherwin-Williams’ “Anonymous”. We loved the house color with crisp white trim and “Sundried Tomato” red door…however everyone in the neighborhood loved it too and we weren’t too eager to share the color, so when people asked, we said “Um…it was some anonymous color from Sherwin-Williams.”. ; )

Jessica Cook
Guest
Jessica Cook

Those are some rediculously unexciting names. Good thing we don’t pick out paint colors based on their names! Those neutrals are really pretty though.

Liz
Guest
Liz

I like the names of Farrow & Ball colors, e.g. Mouse’s Back, blue-green (thank you for telling me what it is), and wish it was more available in my area.

Adele
Guest
Adele

Oddly enough, Slate.com had an article on Farrow & Ball paint color names today: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2013/10/09/farrow_ball_the_story_behind_the_paint_world_s_quirkiest_color_names.html. Must be in the air!

AlisonByDesign
Guest
AlisonByDesign

This really gave me a good chuckle! Overall, I agree with you, but I do rather like the techno inspired gray names such as Site White, Gray Screen, Online, Software, Cyberspace, Chatroom, and Hardware. They seem oh-so 20something!

Julie S
Guest

You made me laugh this morning 🙂

sarah mitchell
Guest
sarah mitchell

And they were taking a bite of their breakfast when they named Bagel. It is actually a terrible orangey-peachy beige… I call it “Circus Peanut” which I also loathe. It’s on my master bedroom walls and I can not wait to repaint!!!

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

Too funny. I used Stucco in my family room which is very much like Manchester Tan by Benjamin Moore. Manchester Tan does sound more appealing. 🙂

Lesli
Guest
Lesli

Ha! My exterior is Uncertain Gray! It’s a beautiful color, but I thought the same thing about the name!!

carol jane
Guest
carol jane

I stop in my local SW store all the time, and I am not impressed at all. The store is boring, the sales people are far from inspiring, the help is not there, blah, blah, blah. I never buy there paint anymore. my paint of choice is behr. Love it. One coat and its done.

applehillcottage
Guest

Loved this post! And I do choose paint colors at least partially on names — I must confess I rejected Benjamin Moore Confederate Red — How could I paint anything in my Yankee cottage a confederate red? And I painted my beautiful kitchen Sherwin Williams Steamed Milk — how could I not???? And I looked at analytical gray for my bathroom, but I’m not sure I want anyone analyzing it… I think they’re going for the home offices??? My dream job is naming paint colors too! If they had called that color Red Delicious Red, my kitchen may have had… Read more »

Jean Molesworth Kee
Guest

Ha! Have always thought that as I specified some of those(and winced). Marketing #101. Not sure about Ben Moore’s Mayonnaise or Camouflage either, but at least they are committing to an image. SW Accessible Gray, Grayish, Vaguely Mauve, Nice White, Useful Gray and Insightful Rose are some of the worst offenders. The SW ‘Concepts in Color’ range seems to have ramped things up a bit. Depending on the client, I often use the color # only. Though TYSM BM for giving one of the best soft pinks in the world the name “Antique White”. Most men will go for that… Read more »

Dawn Stockbridge
Guest
Dawn Stockbridge

This is by far one of most favorite posts you’ve done!!! I couldn’t agree more! Hahaha computer nerds naming paint colors… haha Way to say it in a fun way! Just saw that pottery barn is using sherwin Williams colors now? Cool for my small town as we only have a sherwin Williams and a Home Depot!

Lee
Guest

*snot* passive aggressive!!
Just so’s you know – my daughter loves to peruse the paint chips at Home Depot bringing them home by the fistful. She uses the paint names as inspiration for characters in her stories – she loves to write, writes all the time – so paint chip names rank right up there with baby name books from the library for ideas!

Lee
Guest

whoops – meant to say *snort* not snot! sorry!

Paula Van Hoogen
Guest
Paula Van Hoogen

Don’t you think they need a re-do on their LOGO as well???

Dee
Guest
Dee

WHITE Dogwood– Pink!! Now, if there wasn’t such a thing as pink or white Dogwoods, it wouldn’t matter, however, since there are, I would expect it to be a creamy white, but no, it is PINK. I like to lay the colors beside each other and see if I want something with more of a green tone, blue, etc. Right now, I can’t even decide on a color family to start with. It is fun… but can also be very frustrating, haha. I enjoyed reading your article, have a blessed weekend.

Susan Carnahan
Guest
Susan Carnahan

In this house we are using lots of SW SeaSalt, in our previous home we had the most pleasant
Shade of SW green called Sprout, we painted a darling upstairs bedroom SW Sprout and the
Ceiling too, it was a really sweet room! Low ceilings and filmy, dreamy white short sheers on
The 6 windows, I just loved that room! Never in a million years could I use Sprout in this
House, paint colors have to kind of romance a room, I guess