Career blog: I hate beige!

If you ask a committee to choose a color,
they will always choose beige. I’ve seen this for the color scheme in a
new building, for new carpets, and even for new systems.

Here is my theory. Everyone in the committee has a favorite color,
and they hope the group will choose it. And they have interesting
favorites, like turquoise, magenta, or even electric lime. The problem
is, most people also have colors they hate, and usually they hate the
same interesting color that someone else loves. One person says, “I’m
allergic to citrus: no tangerine,” and another says, “I lost my
promotion to a Harvard grad: no crimson.” So it goes, through all the
interesting colors. Nobody likes beige, but nobody hates beige either,
so that’s what you end up with.

My input to committees is this: I hate beige!

As a result of this strategy, the color scheme in our headquarters
building is avocado and purple. Not what I would have chosen myself,
but it’s not beige, so I love it. I would much rather make a choice
that some love and many like, even if it pisses a few people off. If
your goal is to offend nobody, then you will appeal to nobody. I
believe this style of committee-think ing is why so many big companies
produce boring pablum.

Colors are my example, but projects and strategies can also be beige. I hate that too.

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