Laura Guido-Clark is wild for color. Her love of hues (coupled with serious expertise in design, branding, and materials) has landed her gigs at top companies, from Herman Miller—for which she helped reimagine the iconic Aeron chair—to Toyota, Samsung, and LG. On the eve of the launch of her new platform at NeoCon, Love Good Color, she shares why she believes pigment is so powerful.
Where did you grow up, and how did it influence your work?
I grew up in Dearborn, Michigan. I studied design at Wayne State University in the heart of Detroit, which had a great influence on me. Detroit taught me to be resourceful, how to find the potential in everything, and how small shifts can change the perception of the world around me.
Tell me a bit about your trajectory—how did you end up working in this field?
I have always loved design. As a young girl, when I saw the Wizard of Oz, I knew color was transformational. I studied design in college and moved to California shortly afterward. I began my career in customer service and the sales side of design. It taught me what was in the market and most importantly, what was missing. Soon after, I led the design team for a start-up textile company and transitioned into my own firm 3 years later. Having my own business allowed me to think about the bigger world of materiality. I expanded beyond the contract furniture market into industrial design products and the automotive world.
How does color communicate differently in different industries?
It plays a different role. In interiors, it guides you through space and is a passage of time. It’s the supportive structure for creating more humanistic environments based on what is needed. In technology, in the product, it is conveying a sense of connection to the user. And within the technology, color can guide you through functionality in an intuitive way.
How does color drive sales for brands? And how do you help these brands understand color’s power in this sense?
Understanding that color creates not just an impression but a human emotional connection is important. My role is to understand what my client’s needs are, what they are trying to communicate and determine how color, material, and finish can convey this. I take them through options and opportunities and open a dialogue about intention. This helps guide the process and ensures a meaningful result.
What are a few recent projects/products?
I am launching my life long passion, a new color training, tool, and navigation system called Love Good Color. The remastered Herman Miller Aeron Chair was an exciting new project to work on—we created two fresh new colors, materials, and finishes. We are also launching a new One on One textile Collection soon for Herman Miller, and are working on new projects with Adelene Simple Cloth and Ultra Fabrics.
Tell me about Love Good Color. How does it help designers use color?
Love Good Color is a new methodology, a workshop, and color tool based on emotion and the multi-sensorial world. It helps designers because we have decoded the emotional and sensorial components of color and reassembled them in a new tool that lets them understand, iterate, and communicate color in a whole new way.
Which person, place, or thing—inside the industry or out—inspires you?
I am constantly inspired by children, they have this amazing way of owning who they are and being present. Their curiosity is untainted and they generally view the world as being full of kindness, potential and fun.
A secret source you’re willing to share?
It is not a secret but is underutilized: your local book store or library. There is limitless information out there and I feel both of these need community support.
An item you couldn’t live without?
My garden. It lets me connect with the earth and reminds me that nature is wondrous.
To do set designs for movies and theater.