Monday, May 18, 2020

3 Design Superheroes in Coronavirus Times - Published in the China Coatings Journal for May 2020

3 Design Superheroes in Coronavirus Times

By Denise Turner, ASID, CID, CMG

      Governments are working diligently to combat and find a cure for the novel coronavirus, and while those efforts are important, there’s an unassuming and often overlooked dynamic trio ready to help win the fight. They can help to reduce depression and anxiety, decrease fevers, boost the immune system, and even make environments 99% germ free.

So who are these superheroes? Color, light, and architectural coatings. Yes, you heard correctly! Color and light are two of nature’s strongest influencers. Combine them with the microbicidal paint, and you get a force to be reckoned with.

Here’s the backstory of these 3 superheroes:

Let’s begin with color therapy, the first superhero. Color therapy uses the visible and invisible spectrum of color and light to balance a person’s mood, as well as enhance mental and physical health. The therapeutic use of color and light to restore health has been used by humans for centuries, from ancient cultures to modern doctors, scientists, and color therapists. Color therapy is gaining popularity today as a result of medical research reflecting its benefits and the advent of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). 

Color therapy can increase your energy to make more sales, increase productivity in your team, and help you build your business. By using the right color and light combinations you can increase health benefits and your overall vitality.
An amazing story of the powerful influence that color and light can have on your body and mind comes from my work as a color specialist. A few years ago, I was hired to redesign a master bedroom suite. I learned that around the time my client’s son had redecorated his room, he had begun to experience grand mal seizures and had been put on medication. When I entered his room, I found black walls, black curtains, and black furniture. It was like walking into a cave. Upon convincing him to change his bedroom’s color scheme, the walls were repainted and windows opened to allow light in the room. Within weeks after these changes, the grand mal seizures stopped. His doctor eventually took him off medication and said it was an “unexplainable recovery.” But we say, give credit where credit is due, and the credit goes to color and light! 

If color and light can impact someone this much, just imagine what it can do for your business and your productivity. 

But not every color affects every person in the same way. In fact, depending on a person’s cultural background, certain color combinations can be considered irritating or unacceptable in certain social settings. If someone has a past trauma associated with a color or hue, for instance, the reaction to it will not be as expected. The length of time spent in certain visible color or invisible light can have different effects on people. Be sensitive and wise with your choices in your business. If you wish to use colors, consult an experienced color specialist. 

Practical Tips 
Impact of Different Colors and Light
  • Yellow is an ideal color for environments in which creative activity and socialization is desired. Its bright and cheerful effect has been associated with lowered levels of depression, stimulation of the immune system, and enhanced concentration. 
  • Green has a sedative, cooling effect, making it a wonderful choice in a stressful environment Nature makes the most use of this color.  According to a research paper published by the International Journal of Architectural Research, viewing nature for 10 minutes prior to experiencing a mental stressor has been shown to stimulate heart rate variability and parasympathetic activity (Brown, Barton & Gladwell, 2013).
  • Blue is associated with reduced blood pressure, heart and respiration rate, and an overall calming effect. When we are not in fight or flight mode, we rest better, think clearer, and our stamina is longer. Exposure to blue, for instance by looking at a blue sky, has been associated with a reduction of symptoms of headache and some nervous disorders, enhanced attention span, alertness, reaction times, mood, and sleep. To promote restful sleep, I recommend blues and greens on the walls or curtains.
  • Red is the longest visible wavelength; it’s hot, has both physically and mentally stimulating effects, and is associated with increased vitality and energy. Looking for an energy or confidence booster? Search no more! This mega passionate hue radiates power, energy, and helps to combat laziness and lethargy. A potent color, red has also been associated with increased adrenaline and elevated blood pressure, which triggers the fight or flight response.
  • Ultraviolet Light, on the invisible part of the color spectrum, also impacts health. Our favorite sunshine vitamin D is made when we are exposed to UV light. The same UV is also used to treat psoriasis and disinfect hospitals. However, it is also associated with incidence of skin cancer. Take a short lunch and walk outdoors every day to take advantage of this free influencer, but also respect its power to cause damage.
UV-C Light technology is getting a lot of press lately and for good reason. UV technology is a non-chemical approach to disinfection. It can neutralize “superbugs” that have developed a resistance to antibiotics and has a deadly effect on microorganisms such as pathogens, viruses, and bacteria. Many manufacturers claim their lights are 99.9% effective in disinfecting an environment. Hospitals and laboratories use UV light to keep their facilities sterile, and UV lights are becoming popular for residential environments and mobile devices for travelers.
Architectural coatings, our third group of superheroes, are also becoming a force to be reckoned with. Many manufacturers and visionaries in the architectural coatings industry already have coatings that kill 99% of bacteria, including staph and E. coli, within a couple of hours of exposure to a painted surface.
Until recently, antimicrobial coatings were reserved primarily for hospitals and high-traffic commercial spaces. Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, consumers have become keenly aware of the adverse health consequences of dirty surfaces, and it is anticipated that the next go-to paint coating for commercial and residential environments will be 99% antimicrobial. 
While the battle against the novel coronavirus may be far from over, rest assured that color, light, and architectural coatings will be three superheroes on the front lines of prevention efforts by making our environments more beautiful, healthier, and germ free.

Denise Turner, ASID, CID, CMG masterfully navigates two worlds of color. As an international, award-winning interior designer and colorist, she helps businesses to drive sales with color. As a color therapy expert and energy medicine healer, she utilizes color to empower others to heal themselves and their families.
Denise is the founder and CEO of the Color Turners, a full-service color and design forecasting, product development, marketing, and strategic communication consulting firm specializing in architectural coatings and textiles, whose mission is to turn the art of color into profit. 
Denise recently finished her new book Color Therapy for Kids: How to Use Color and Other Natural Remedies to Raise Healthy and Happy Children, which is currently in the literary phase. She’s an active member and former chapter president of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), Certified Interior Designer, former Color Marketing Group (CMG) Board of Directors member, and UCLA graduate. 

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