Member Spotlight Kathryn King McEntee
“I have always been fascinated with color and have spent 20 plus years researching consumer color preference. I initially joined CMG in 1990 and am delighted to become involved in the organization again, particularly as a member of the Marketing Committee.”
— Kat King McEntee, Research & Strategy Specialist, at Boltgroup
How does your current role relate to color and design?
As a color strategist at a design innovation and brand experience firm, each project and client is unique. At times a client needs color innovation to break into a new category, and sometimes a manufacturer needs to add consistency to their brand offering. Other times, clients need assistance communicating their company values, and always, they need to connect to and resonate with their consumers. Color is both a tool and a solution for all those scenarios.
How do you apply color forecasts?
My process in specifying color begins with a formula – empathy + trend tracking = color forecasting.
Empathy? Yes! Think about it. If lifestyle trends develop from the events most impactful to your consumers, then to accurately extrapolate color directions from those trends, you need to understand what it is your consumer is responding to in those trends. So, if we know that a current mega trend is affecting a consumer, then we need to work to understand why that trend is essential. We are not designing things and we are not choosing colors for things. We are creating and choosing for people: people with wants and needs. And in ALL cases, these needs take empathy to understand truly. It begins with identifying relevant trends. If we research to understand why a particular trend resonates with people, we can make thoughtful choices as to what colors personify the trend. Then, color can be an antidote, an experience, a personification, a respite, an inspiration, and a connection to the brand.
How do CMG’s Forecast and color information help you?
For me, CMG is invaluable in three ways:
1: It’s my tribe! The collaboration informs my research. At the ChromaZone Workshops and International Summit, we all bring our research and forecasts and then arrive at our answers collectively. The breadth and depth of the membership provide me with inspiration and understanding. For me, the most exciting moments are when we, together in a workshop, arrive at a new ‘ah-ha’ moment that would not have been singularly uncovered.
2: The Color Forecasts are an invaluable resource. I find I am continually referencing and specifying color from CMG forecasts. They are both accurate and relevant to my color design work.
And the historical data is such an informative anthropological tool: it shows the evolution of a hue over time. So, if I’m specifying a green for a product launch three years in the future, I can reference the evolution of that hue and extrapolate the direction the hue is trending towards.
3: Educational opportunities. International summits always have a variety of workshop opportunities to learn something new. Throw your preconceived notions out the door…I am consistently delighted and amazed by the unexpected nuggets of knowledge and inspiration I take away.
Kat has a degree in Industrial Design with a minor in Color Theory from the North Carolina State University School of Design. From there, she began her career in the consumer electronics industry, eventually using those contacts to start her color & trend research consultancy. Her clients are from a variety of sectors, including HP, Panasonic, Real Player, M&M, Jenn-Air, Pitney Bowes, Evenflo, Coleman, Maytag, American Woodmark, Rubbermaid, Graco, and Lexmark. These days, she works at BoltGroup and calls Charlotte, NC, home. Kat enjoys all facets of design research and the incredible wealth of data, discovery, and guidance that design research can provide to the strategy of specifying color. She combines her love of creating and defining colors for products and brands with her passion for human-centered design, thereby collaborating at the intersection of creativity & purpose.
BOLTGROUP is a design, innovation, + experience firm, solving client challenges through people-centered design thinking and execution. Bolt creates innovative solutions and experiences that transform clients’ products, brands, and services into higher performing assets- while delivering turnkey solutions in new product development, brand strategy, and design, digital strategy and design, and service experience design.