What’s your favorite color?

Is it possible that I am the only one who thinks this is a ridiculous and perplexing question? I’ve been asked this question many times and never from a client who has engaged my professional services as a designer.  Sometimes it’s employed as device to change the subject from something terrifyingly confrontational, like politics or religion, or vegetarianism, but I’ve noticed that it’s most often used, mistakenly, I might add, as a sort of lighthearted, upbeat, conversational ‘ice-breaker’ and usually among women. (I’ve never overheard men asking this question of other men). As a painter and a colorist, it would be the equivalent of asking a parent, who’s your favorite child. In fact, I find the question to be confrontational in the extreme. Imagine asking, What’s your favorite race? What’s your favorite ethnic group? Yes, okay, perhaps I’m going too far there, but even so, I’m beginning to realize that I have a deep distrust of people who think that that sort of question is an ‘ice-breaker’. More like an ‘ice-maker’! Yes bring on the alcoholic beverages, please, make mine a double!

As a designer I often ask clients if there are any colors that they are adverse to. This, I believe to be a legitimate question, and one which will generate far richer insights into a person’s aesthetic than anything else. (“I hate yellow. My stepmother painted my room that color the moment she moved in without even asking me.). I never ask about their favorite color. (I assure you, if they have one, they’ll make it known well before any serious, thoughtful design work takes place to the detriment of any serious, thoughtful design work).

Frankly, I can’t see the purpose of the question. Let’s say someone has a favorite color. Blue is a common answer. ( Oh yes, I’m an eavesdropper. Make note of that.) What then? How does one reply to such a statement?  “Wow! Then you must really like the sky!”, or ” Do you visit the Caribbean often?, vacation in Greece? Embrace the democratic party?” The favorite color thing is exacerbating. but I have plenty of stories to vent on this subject so you may see more posts in the future about this. Be forewarned……