Not All Paint-Color Names Are Winners

We Take a Look at Some Rejected Paint Names

At Britton Marketing & Design Group, color is our middle name. Some people think it is danger, but that is ridiculous. We are a group of designers, writers, techies, and businesspeople, not a spy agency. But back to color—paint colors, to be specific. We have a strong understanding of paint, and in the past some of our work has included naming paints. Do Kept Love Letters, Knitted Cape, and Peruvian Chili ring a bell? They were part of our Color Stories for Benjamin Moore. Paint-color names should be intriguing. They should be evocative. After all, who wants Red when they can have Flamenco?

Paint Color on a Wall

But not all paint-color names are winners (some don’t even get participation ribbons). The following names—and the stories behind them—are some that didn’t quite make the grade. They may be evocative, but mostly what they evoke are quizzical looks.

Rock On

Our Rock On palette honors musical legends and some other people who sang and played musical instruments. The colors are loud and aren’t necessarily ones you would think would go together, but they are better than looking at beige all day.

PURPLE RAIN—This electrifying color will never cause you any sorrow. PURPLE RAIN exudes confidence and is tremendously popular, so don’t be fooled by its diminutive stature. Plus, it’s great for bathrooms, as you will want to be bathing in the PURPLE RAIN.

PINK FLOYD—PINK FLOYD is so mellow, it will have you asking, “Is there anybody in there?” Psychedelic, comforting, and experimental, this hip pastel looks great in any room, as long as you put it on The Wall.

Rainbow Swatches

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT—A loud blue that was most popular in the ’70s, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT was a lighter blue during its original run, going by the name of SOFT WHITE UNDERBELLY, which, in retrospect, was ill-advised.

KATY BERRY—This bluish purple (or is it a purplish blue?) is so hot that your Popsicle will definitely be in danger. Sparks will fly in any room featuring KATY BERRY, as this is one color that knows how to make an entrance, and to perform.

SIMPLY RED—SIMPLY RED has been in this palette for many years, and its main strength is that it truly is simply red. It’s not too strong. It’s merely something nice to have as background. It’s definitely not as memorable as PURPLE RAIN, which makes it an excellent “opening” color in your home, perhaps to be used in a foyer or hallway.

Pair of Jacks

Sassy, brassy, and classy, our Pair of Jacks palette may be monochromatic, but it offers much more than two colors through its personality. Just be prepared for the dazzling effects from this multitalented duo.

JACK WHITE—Eclectic and functional, JACK WHITE is an all-purpose color that is a great alternative for your garage. Still great in a stripe combo, this color no longer marries well with MEG WHITE.

Paint Swatch and Brush

JACK BLACK—Energetic and amusing, noisy and boisterous, JACK BLACK is the perfect tone to set for your party room. Don’t let the dark shade fool you, as JACK BLACK will be the life of any gathering.

Reservoir Dogs

What could go wrong when combining any colors in our Reservoir Dogs palette? Crackling with an “anything’s possible” feel, these four exciting hues will bring a touch of stylish chaos to any room in your house.

MR. WHITE—This white is extremely tough and will dominate any room. Achromatic in name only, MR. WHITE is the leader of this volatile palette. MR. WHITE is also brash and cerebral, so be careful when pairing with any of the other Reservoir Dogs.

MR. ORANGE—MR. ORANGE is mysterious because it is not what it appears to be. It blends in easily with the other Reservoir Dogs, but as time passes it will reveal itself to be a color best used on its own. Feature MR. ORANGE in rooms where you want to bring light to a subject.

MR. BLONDE—Electrifying and entertainingly frightening, MR. BLONDE is the most memorable of the Reservoir Dogs. Popping with spiteful arrogance, MR. BLONDE steals the show in any room but should be used sparingly. (For maximum enjoyment, apply while listening to Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle with You.”)

MR. PINK—This is a quirky pastel that chatters away while brightening any room. An excellent contrast to MR. WHITE, MR. PINK is full of energy and a voice that almost seems opinionated. Use in a garage or basement to minimize feedback.

Whites Times Four

These whites run a gamut of looks and emotions. Gritty and determined. Hopeful and intuitive. Amusing and ageless. Smooth and seductive. You can’t go wrong with our selection of blank slates.

WALTER WHITE—WALTER WHITE will transform your walls. Squeaky clean upon application, this unstable leader of the palette will change to a dusky white after a few years. While WALTER WHITE is not for everyone, those who choose it will root for it to continue its colorful ways regardless of how much danger it wreaks.

Abstract Wall Paint

CARRIE WHITE—Definitely not a regular white, CARRIE WHITE is unbelievably perceptive and can read the thoughts of a room and set its proper emotional level. CARRIE WHITE is so complex that it can even give the impression that your furniture is moving independently.

BETTY WHITE—The zany and delightful BETTY WHITE never goes out of style. BETTY WHITE first came on the scene in the ’50s, and it has been one of the most popular whites every decade since. Want a classic hit? Go with BETTY WHITE.

BARRY WHITEYou can’t get enough of this color, babe. Endlessly smooth and not just a little sexy, BARRY WHITE lends a mellifluous tone to any room (but looks best in the bedroom). BARRY WHITE may be your first, last, and everything color.

Soul Men

If you’re looking for blue, look no further than the soulful combo of JAKE BLUES and ELWOOD BLUES. Full-bodied and energetic, JAKE BLUES is the perfect complement to the rhythmic ELWOOD BLUES. (JAKE BLUES and ELWOOD BLUES are not sold separately.)

JAKE BLUES—The leader of the twosome, JAKE BLUES is surprisingly agile for such a heavy blue. You should be warned that JAKE BLUES will steal the show in any room in which it is featured.

ELWOOD BLUES—ELWOOD BLUES has rhythm in its soul and provides the perfect pitch when appearing with JAKE BLUES. Quick on their feet, ELWOOD BLUES and its partner are on a mission to beautify your home.

That’s Entertainment

Prepare to be amazed at the cavalcade of stars in our lineup of shining colors in the That’s Entertainment palette. Dramatic and funny, gripping and amusing, That’s Entertainment features fascinating colors that you will be binge-watching all day.

BLUE STEEL—Simultaneously piercing and silly, BLUE STEEL has designs on being fashionable. You will find yourself staring vacantly at this dull tone, overpowered by BLUE STEEL’s ability to make you strike a pose.

MEN IN BLACK—Can a color save the world? MEN IN BLACK might be able to. A combination of former colors AGENT K and AGENT J, MEN IN BLACK may feel alien to some, but it’s been so popular that it inspired MEN IN BLACK 2 and MEN IN BLACK 3.

Paint Cans

GREY’S ANATOMY—You can get a lot of mileage out of GREY’S ANATOMY. It just seems to go on and on and on and on and on and on. It’s one of our most popular colors, yet we don’t know a single person who has used it. So GREY’S ANATOMY lives on, in all its grey goodness.

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK—We hereby sentence you to 10 years of enjoying ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK in your home. Entertaining and institutional, this noncitrus hue will correct any misbehavior in your current décor. Once applied, it is against the law to change ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK to a different color for 10 years. No kidding.

MOE GREENE—For those who like a classic green, it doesn’t get any better than this. Loud and confident, MOE GREENE is chatty and demands attention. It is a slightly livelier shade than MOE GREENE SPECIAL.

How Do You Feel?

How Do You Feel? gives you a checkup, diagnoses your décor issue, and prescribes the perfect color. Whether you are squeamish or sad about making color decision, How Do You Feel? offers a variety of hues to match your needs.

VARICOSE—It’s a purple that no one seems to want, but that everyone eventually buys a gallon of. VARICOSE is not for the younger crowd. It doesn’t seem to go with a lot. Wait, where was this going? Oh, yeah. It’s purple. It’s not our flashiest purple, but it’s purple.

FEVERISH—Red, redder, reddest. And then there is FEVERISH. You will feel like you are burning up with FEVERISH on your walls. And if you do begin to sweat while enjoying this color, no worries. FEVERISH is loaded with our perspiration-resistant technology.

GREEN AROUND THE GILLS—If FEVERISH is a bit too intense for you, try GREEN AROUND THE GILLS. It’s a bit less direct, but it still gives you butterflies in your stomach (or, more correctly, causes it to turn). It’s perfect for the bathroom, but never use GREEN AROUND THE GILLS in the kitchen.

FEELING BLUE—It’s sad, isn’t it? The malaise you have with FEELING BLUE has a hint of desperation without any of the relaxation you were hoping for. Extremely enervating, FEELING BLUE is ennui-inducing and should not be used by anyone who operates heavy machinery, or drives a motor vehicle, or who is looking to enjoy life with even a hint of vigor.

Photos: Shutterstock

Chip Compton

Chip Compton

Chip Compton has written on a variety of marketing and design topics and personalities, including Stefan Sagmeister, female creative directors, and luxury brands. His work has appeared on “Get with the Confusion,” Medium, and Pop Matters.

Meet Chip Compton