In love with colour

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

Let's face it, the world is not black and white. We live in a world of colour, which is perfect for Helen Gurura, a design consultant at Tinta Paints, who is surrounded by colour.

Her work and responsibilities include conducting colour consultations and specifying the relevant Panache paint colours for interior and exterior projects.

"I am also involved in colour-related training for Jack's Paint and Hardware stores. Training at the Panache Paint Academy is also made available to paint contractors and individuals who deal with paint and colour specifications in their professions," she said.

"Colour and marketing related projects include choosing colours for new Panache paint ranges being launched and writing informative colour articles for local magazines and international forums to bring full colour awareness to readers."

Why did she choose this career and how did she get into it?

"Colour is all around us, henceforth my passion and love affair with colour began! I have always been fascinated by colour and intrigued by the human response to the element. This includes our psychological, physiological, neuro-psychological and psychosomatic responses to colour, to mention just a few," she said.

"Coming from a psychology background, I initially focused on the emotional responses we elicit towards colour as well as the role that colour plays in affecting our moods and state of mind. I moved further on and conducted research to understand how a change in background colour can radically affect the harmony of any given colour combination.

"Most of my qualifications were of an academic nature and it was essential for me to add a professional portfolio to my qualifications. I then studied with the International Association of Colour Consultants and Designers-North America where I focused on the concept of Humane Environmental Colour Design whose concepts are the backbone to all my consultations."

Gurura has a BSc Hons in Psychology from University of Zimbabwe, Harare and a M.Phil in Applied Colour Theory from The University of Derby's Colour and Imaging Institute in England.

To work in this job there are certain skills required of the person.

"One needs that extra attention to detail, knowledge in the complexities surrounding colour (both the artistic and scientific approach to understanding colour), a sharp, acute and sensitive eye for colour, the ability to notice changes in any given colour's intensity, strong organisational, public relations and communication skills as you deal with clients from different trades and professions.

"As I specify colour from the paint sector, there is the need to understand the basics of paint application and the tinting of colours. Above all, you need a deep seated passion for colour and the desire to better people's lives through an appropriate and functional approach to colour use.

"A normal day is from 8am to 4pm. I am however driven by the force to see my work completed professionally and to the best of my ability.

"This implies that the clock does not govern my working hours, but the passion to execute a professional and aesthetically pleasing colour finish!"

This is a limited area of specialization, with salaries and salary packages (such as medical aid, company vehicle etc) being negotiable with the employer. One cannot benchmark salaries in this trade as it is not a fully established profession like teaching or chartered accountancy.

"Your work experience and level of education will contribute to the starting salary that you are offered, which will vary from employer to employer.