What Your Brand Colors Say About You

Here’s another shout-out for my dad — two in one month! He is a phenomenal businessman and president CEO of his own fuse company. He has been looking for a good accountant for some time now, preferring the familiarity of a few but mighty seasoned employees to the uncertainty of fresh meat. To quote Tina Fey’s Mean Girls, my dad is 100% a “Pusher” and that carries into his hiring process. His favorite interview tool? The Crayon Box Test.

He gives the prospective hire a white sheet of paper, a box of 8 Crayola crayons, and tells them to draw. If they ask questions, such as, ‘What should I draw? What color should I use? Do I only get one sheet of paper?” etc, they get the boot. Admittedly it is a little harsh, but it does the job weeding out those who can’t, or won’t, think for themselves. While he maintains a “there are no stupid questions” policy, he also demands self-sufficiency from his business partners.

I’m not sure that I would pass this test on the first try, and although I’m an acceptable house-and-tree drawer, I also like to please people. I value communication, so if I know what’s expected, I can deliver. At the mercy of this natural tendency, I can only imagine I’d start to overanalyze my color choice, picture choice, and actual ability to draw instead of letting creativity shine through in an effort to communicate the absolute whole Truth.

There are about 120 crayon colors put out by Crayola including glitter, glow in the dark, and scented. This is impressive, but pales in comparison to the 16 million possible combinations made from the colors red, blue, and yellow. As a Hollywood-dweller I’m constantly exposed to marketing through billboards, products, commercials, verbal advertisements, and any which way of getting one’s message across to a deafened public. The colors chosen typically represent an emotional charge the marketers want to elicit for that product.

Here’s a quick breakdown if you need a little inspiration in choosing color combos, whether for a wedding, business card, or project proposal board.

Red: Is the most popular color for marketing. It suggests the energy of passion and adventure. It typically signifies power–think spilt blood that should not be outside your body, or chili peppers which lord their heat over you.

Yellow: Demands attention while also exhibiting confidence.

Blue: Displays trustworthiness. Depending on the shade, you can go cool or aloof.

Green: Environmentally inviting. Nature is nurturing in her versatility. It is also the color of money and greed.

Purple: Is the color of royalty and embellishment. It is elegant, suggests high prestige and a little mystery.

Orange: Shows you’re able to stay cutting edge, but still have fun. It is energetic and exciting.

Brown: Brown is earthy, comfortable and relaxed.

Black: Is modern, traditional, exciting, and dramatic. Perhaps the most versatile of any color, it adds darkness which both serves as a border boundary, or a veiled opportunity.

 So the next time you get a box of crayons, color the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth.

Artist Profile: Calixto Shibaja

Hey ladies, just wanted to share the surprise of my Thursday last week. Here I am, sitting in a quiet room at my temp job being a receptionist, when two gentlemen come up the stairs and head towards me. They have the gait of latino suave and unhurried smiles, as if registering complete inner peace.

Naturally, I’m not surprised when they start talking about art while waiting for their meeting. The English-speaking man is Calixto Shibaja and his Mexican friend only speaks Spanish. Calixto looks at my face and says, “Your profile…where are you from?” I know he means heritage, as I am asked that question weekly, so I reply with my rote: “Irish, Spanish, German, and Romanian.” He gives the raised eyebrow and nods. He says, “I am a painter. I would like to paint you!”


Having just watched Andy Garcia’s Modigliani the day prior I am skeptical about this flattery of my face’s curve and once again I put on the “business suit” of professionalism. In characteristic central American gentility, Calixto starts telling me his life’s purpose and to my surprise, I am honestly fascinated. In unhurried, broken English he goes on about teaching Mayan children to paint in the south of Mexico.

I ask what materials he uses, and instead of announcing fancy brands of acrylics and watercolors, he says “Natural pigments.” My homesteading girl ears prickle with fascination!  He describes crushed shells, fruits and berries, charcoal, grasses. I am undone. He mentions and I have to look it up immediately; what follows is a beautifully calm video of children painting, in nature. The best part…they’re REALLY good! We watch in the office lobby for 9 minutes as nature and Spanish voice-over mix.

Of course, I have completely lost myself…children, nature, painting?! Check out this mamma’s blog if that appeals to you: It’s one of the more beautiful things I’ve seen in a long time, and here is the artist himself, leaning against my unresisting desk ledge.

As the gentlemen are leaving, I am handed information and told to come to the “park” exhibition the next week. Needless to say, I spend the next hour youtube-stalking this man and find a commission to paint Steve Jobs, professional news stories, and several cultural exposés.

Here’s the most fascinating part. His greatest passion is to restore the use of color to native Mayans in the deep jungles of Mexico. These children are growing up uneducated about their vivid history and the natural world around them that is quickly becoming a canvas for builders and innovators.

Spending most of his time in Oaxaca, the tweed-hatted man has spent years fashioning easels from branches and perfecting paint compounds that resist corrosion. He believes in the preservation of the culture around us for the enrichment of many nations, and this beautiful vision shines through his own art and that of his young students. Check out the videos: – Painting in the Lancandone Jungle Chiapas, Mexico – Overview of his own work – AMAZING Steve Jobs piece