Years ago, when “having your colors done” was trendy, I thought there might be a story in it, so in the interest of research I sought out a color consultant and handed over my money. There were a lot of charlatans and opportunists in this field, but I lucked out: The color analyst I found was John Kitchener, who had an art-history background and an unerring eye. (He’s still in business, but has relocated from the Bay Area to the Atlanta area.)
For what I remember as a not-inconsequential (but worth it) fee, John gave me palette of fabric swatches that suited my eye and skin colors. He also gave me something equally valuable: a lesson in what he calls “style essences” and what other image consultants sometimes call “style personalities” or “style profiles.”
Color Me Beautiful (1981), an early and influential guidebook. Not John Kitchener’s system.
Knowing my style essence—which shapes and textures harmonize with my overall look, which styles to avoid—greatly simplified my wardrobe choices and gave me an objective assessment that my mirror never quite delivered. (After the consultation, it dawned on me that even when I was 4 years old I looked and felt terrible in “youthful” clothes.)
Style essences continue to interest me, and when I read a post on the subject by style blogger Susan of Une Femme d’un Certain Age, I realized that there was a lot of overlap between the fashion-y side of style profiling and the brand-y side that I do. When you’re building a brand—starting with the name and tagline—you first need to identify your brand’s personality: its style essence. As with personal style, brand style is often a blend of two or more traits: dramatic, classic, romantic, nerdy (that’s my term; style consultants don’t use it!), playful, and so on.
Want to know more about how brand personality can influence your choice of a brand name? Read my new story on Medium, and let me know in a comment about your own style-personality and brand-naming experiences.
This is the latest in my series of Naming 101 posts.