Supplier resources

Suppliers know their products better than anyone else, they can provide technical details, ideas and problem solving, pricing, and can provide designers with samples.

In relation to colours, physical colour samples are imperative and the only possible way to get a proper understanding of what will be utilised within a concept. They are the closest possible match to the real colour and can be referred to if the colour utilised on-site is not what was specified. Judging a colour using a computer screen will give a wrong representation of a colour, indeed screens vary in colour calibration. Colour sample will also allow you to check the colour under the appropriate light source, one that is as close as possible to the lighting conditions on site.

An easy way to get a first idea of the colour you would like for your project is to buy a fan deck.


Fan deck

It is important to liaise and create good professional relationships with suppliers to obtain good quality and cost effective product specification. 

How suppliers impact you

Quality. Whether you purchase a component, finished product, or service, suppliers can positively or negatively affect the quality of your product. Higher quality increases customer satisfaction and decreases returns, which add cash to your bottom line.

Timeliness. Their timely deliveries are crucial to how customers view your reliability.

Competitiveness. They can keep you competitive and one-up on your competition based on their pricing, quality, reliability, technological breakthroughs, and knowledge of industry trends.

Innovation. They can make major contributions to your new product development. They are also working to be on the cutting edge of innovation of their product. The good ones will understand your company, its industry, your needs, and help you accordingly in your new idea execution.

Some suppliers have great websites that can become useful information resources (for Australia):



Rugs and carpets:


Furniture fittings:

“Search for many more suppliers in your area here”


Open College,Diploma of Interior Design& Decoration, eBook Study period 5 – materials and colour -module 1


Project Brief

Whether you are a designer or a client, an effective design brief is the single most critical factor is ensuring that a project is successful.

What is a design brief?

A design brief is something that is vital to any design project as it will provide the designer(s) with all the information needed.

“A good brief, like any good document, is the foundation of success. In formulating a good brief, you empower your designer to do what they do best with the potential to deliver a project quite literally beyond your comprehension.” Paul Hindes, Soul Space Building Designer.

The Design Brief is necessary when the client is not clear what the brief should be. This is not as extraordinary as it sounds; often clients are aware that new space needs to be provided or existing space rearranged but the problem may be so complex, and the number of people that need to be consulted so large, that the client is not in a position to analyse this.

This is an area where the designer can provide a service in space planning which clients are often unaware exists. This helps the client to determine his/her needs in detail and to set the parameters for the whole project that may follow.

This can be a relatively simple exercise, e.g. examining how an existing building can be adapted to a new use, or a complex process, consulting exhaustively with the client’s key staff, utilising adjacency theory to provide a detailed analysis of the client’s requirements, developing this into planning diagrams from which floor plans can be developed.

When acting as the interior designer in a design team or when acting as lead consultant, the designer will carry out all of the following tasks:

  • Receive from the client a detailed description of the functions that the project is to accommodate and prepare a room schedule
  • Collect information concerning the precise requirements of each room, interviewing key staff as necessary, and prepare a room requirements schedule for each space
  • When space relationships are complex, prepare an adjacency relationships matrix
  • From the adjacency relationships matrix, develop planning diagrams
  • As appropriate, collaborate with other consultants in the preparation of a design brief
  • Present the design brief (incorporating the above deliverables) to, and review options with, the client.

Initial brief 

A crucial statement (which ideally should be prepared before the designer is appointed to design the Concept stage) is the initial brief. This should set out, in as much detail as the client is able, his/her requirements for the project and should be attached to the appointment letter. If the client has not formulated a detailed brief at the beginning, this should be noted in the appointment letter, perhaps together with a general statement of the client’s intent.

Brief preparation

For large, complex projects, clients often have not carried out a detailed analysis of their requirements. In such situations, the designer can perform a useful service by carrying out such an analysis. This usually involves interviewing key staff, determining what spaces are required, ascertaining the requirements of each space and how it should relate to other spaces, analysing these ‘adjacency’ relationships and preparing diagrams that show the ideal relationships of the spaces to each other. From the latter, floor plan(s) can then be developed in the next stage.

Budget, timetable 

The client should be encouraged to state at the beginning what the desired budget and timetable are and, if they are unable to do so, then this should be noted in the appointment letter. The client should be reminded that under ID/10 clause 3.4, he/she should advise the designer of the relative priorities of the brief, budget and timetable.

Preparing an initial brief 

When projects are small, clients often have a clear idea of what they require. It is important in these cases that the designer either obtains a written statement of the brief from the client or formulates it him/herself from the client’s instructions. If available before the designer is employed, the brief should be attached to the form of appointment.

An initial brief can often be imprecise when the client is unsure of his/her requirements in the early stages of a project.

For many projects (including particularly domestic schemes), it is often convenient to set out the brief on a room-by-room basis. If no work is to be carried out in certain areas this should be noted. Alternatively, say in an office project, the brief can be organised by function and/or the types of personnel a project is required to accommodate.

Tips For The Designer

As a designer it is important to have a template to give to clients as clients will not always come to you with a design brief. By having a template ready, it shows them your professionalism and ultimately saves them (and you) a lot of time and money.

“Free Downloadable Interior Designer Forms here”


The BIID Interior Design Job Book by Diana and Stephen Yakeley,

Colour theories

Many attempts have been made to establish methodologies to evaluate the advantages of certain colour combinations. Very early on, colour wheels or colour spheres were engaged to visually communicate the associations and range of colours, and their relationships to each other. In his Optics of 1706, Isaac Newton split white light into seven colours-orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, and red-arranged on a disk in proportionate slices such that the spinning of the disk would result in the colour white. Newton’s objectification of colour into a mathematically understandable system allowed for quantifiable experimentation.

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 Isaac Newton’s prism experiment. Unknown artist 1874, coloured engraving.

The German poet Goethe along with the romantic painter Philipp Otto Runge further expanded colour theory (in, respectively, Theory of Colour of 1807 and Colour Sphere of 1810) to include research into the subjective effects of colours: the contrast of complementary colours, the visual illusion of afterimages, and the contrasting shadows seen in coloured light. They also associated colour with emotion-speaking of certain colours as warm and others as cool (colour temperature: see colour system) 15 colour history02

 J W Goethe Frontispiece to Die Farbenlehre (theory of colour) 1810

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Phillip Otto Runge, Farnen-Kugel (the colour sphere), 1777-1810

Newton’s Hue Circle In his attempt to develop a theory of colour, Newton was the first to understand that colours did not lay on a linear chart, but rather existed in a continuum. The hue circle is represented by white at the centre (0) and the hues arranged in order around the disk. Each hue is given a weight, or proportion , that balances it within the system. Newton closed his system through a mix between red and violet that did not appear in his natural primary spectrum. 13Colour history 02 Itten’s Colour Wheel Johannes Itten developed his colour wheel based on primary colours of red, yellow, and blue. From this simple starting point, two steps of mixing result in a 12-hue colour circle. Itten did not believe in further expanding the wheel to 24- or 100-hue wheels, as the dilution of the naming system he established made it difficult to easily identify colour distinctions. 13Colour history 03 Itten and Albers

In the early twentieth century, two supportive theories of colour emerged from the Basic Studies curriculum at the Weimar Bauhaus that continue to influence the way we comprehend colour today. The first emerged out of the teaching of Johannes Itten, who developed the 12-hue colour wheel. He identified seven rules of contrast that examined, in a scientific way, the subjective effects of colour combination, proportion, and harmony. Itten’s philosophical and mystical beliefs influenced his understanding of the use of colour and have led some to dismiss the importance of his discoveries. His Art of Colour, however, is still in publication. Josef Albers, who developed his Interaction of Colour after he had begun to teach at Yale University, expanded on the instructional exercises of Itten to further emphasize the notion that colour and the interaction of colours were a discipline to be learned.

The Munsell Model In the early 1900s, the American Albert Munsell developed a system of colour analysis based around hue, value, and chroma (see: colour system). These elements form a three-dimensional model: Starting with a circular relationship of hues, Munsell established a decimal notational system to describe the transitional relationship as one colour is identified from another.

Munsell’s Color Sphere

In Munsell’s system, hue is arranged around the perimeter of a sphere, value as it moves from the top pole (light) to the bottom (dark). and chroma as it moves toward the center. Munsell also developed nomenclature that made it easy to identify any color in his system. R 5/10 would be red, value 5, chroma 10. 15 colour history03Munsell also limited the nomenclature of his colour system, referring to orange as red-yellow to avoid confusion. His second term, value, describes the light or dark qualities of a colour, on a scale from 1 (dark) to 10 (light). His final term, chroma, identifies a colour as it moves inward from the hue band to the value pole. Other colour models refer to this as saturation. To account for the variation in strength of a colour (red is considered to be twice as strong in chroma as blue-green), Munsell developed what he called the colour tree. These systems serve as a starting point in understanding the complex relationships of balance, proportion, harmony, and effect that combinations of colours can produce. Each has its merits and applications for an interior design practice. Furthermore, their translation to a three-dimensional design space needs to be tested in-situ to observe the results. The following pages examine how one of these systems-that elaborated by Itten-functions as a model In order to develop a deeper understanding of colour basis and theory:

 A History of Colour by Tyler Tate (video)

Colour basis (post: What is this? How it is produced?)

Colour system (post)


Colour in the making, Black dot publishing, UK,2013

COLOR, SPACE, STYLE, © 2007 by Rockport Publishers, Inc.

“Colour-Making” history

Human being have been marking walls, stones, the ground likely since before we can accurately date and certainly since we have any record. In geographical locations where chalk is present , this crumbly rock has been used to make markings, drawings and ground works. Charcoal has equally been employed to create marks, arguably the earliest drawing materials and pigments for the colour white and black.

When we think of the earliest use of pigments we tend to think of cave paintings, where traces of Iron oxide in various states of heating and cooling have created an array of colours from yellows through reddish oranges into deep brown.12Colour history 01

Cueva de las Manos, Santa Cruz province Argentina. Courtesy Mariano

Colour in pre-industrial times can largely be categorised in terms of geography as well as chronology. Early indigenous cultures all over the world have particular colour associations, many of which are intricately bound to our associations with that culture. Imagine the Ancient Egyptian without the first developed synthetic blue pigment, created from crushed blue glass, or the early Aztecs without sumptuous red cloth derived from the cochineal beetle found on the leaves of cacti, or the 100 000 years old ochre slates at Blombos in South Africa , the first known use of markings as human language, without which we would have no idea that human kind was so complex so long ago. The use of lead white is synonymous with the Ancient Greeks, and Vermillion with the Romans. Colour also travelled. Reds found in Ancient Chinese temple didn’t make it to the West until the twelfth century.

Mineral pigment gained popularity throughout the Middle Ages with their new found applications in art. Ultramarine and azurite were particularly popular with artist such as Michelangelo utilising these earth pigment initially for drawing and the most basic from of painting, using egg tempera (mixture of pigment, water & egg).

Early naturally-occurring pigments:

12Colour history 02 12Colour history 03

Synthetic pigments: timeline c.1300-1900

12Colour history 08

These methods gradually became obsolete with the development of paints into the Renaissance period, with a new-found understanding of pigments and their applications. Painters and alchemists alike became familiar with how to manipulate materials to their advantage, with artists such as da Vinci and Raphael becoming akin to this. Artist began to use the materials differently, applying them to canvases and understanding the science behind the art, creating different hues and saturations and furthering them in many uses.


Colour in the making, Black dot publishing, UK,2013

Designing with colour

The process by which colour is chosen and utilized in a design has a profound effect on interior space. The designer’s decisions can drastically change the spatial understanding of a project and also influence how it is navigated. When used with knowledge and intent, colour can add perceived weight to surfaces, alter the basic proportions of a room, and variously be a calming or exciting factor.

Elements such as furniture can emphasize the volumetric reading of a room. Here, the chairs, matched with the red walls, draw attention to the room’s dimensions.

11 designing with colour 01

Painting a continuous length of a space with a single colour emphasizes the planar elements within an environment.

11 designing with colour 02

Adding colour to a sequence of parallel walls also reinforces the planar elements in a space.

11 designing with colour 03Colour can be employed to make certain aspects of a design stand out. For instance, elements such as trim, mouldings, and furniture take on more significance when they are coloured in stark contrast with their surroundings.

11 designing with colour 04

Transitions between spaces can be highlighted by using very bold, bright hues, or made to recede when matched to the colour of an adjacent surface.

11 designing with colour 05

Adding colour to the lower half of a space can provide a demarcation line for elements such as furniture and art.

11 designing with colour 06

Adding colour to the upper regions of a space can reduce the perceived height of a room.

11 designing with colour 07


COLOR, SPACE, STYLE, © 2007 by Rockport Publishers, Inc.


10 color-jam-jessica-stockholder-1

10 color-jam-jessica-stockholder-2

“Color Jam” by Jessica Stockholder was Chicago’s largest-ever public art installation. Using 7600 square feet of vibrantly coloured adhesive vinyl, with which to camouflage one of the city’s busiest intersections. Stockholder encompasses everything from the street to the buildings in a patchwork of green, orange and blue for the summer of 2009.

Stockholder investigates human perception and physical experience, incorporating different materials and textures, visual effects and cacophonous colours into her practice to investigate aspects of sensory experience.

Discover her work “here”


Colour in the making, Black dot publishing, UK,2013

Experimenting with light sources

Experiment number 1:

09 Experimenting with light sources 01

Experiment number 2:

09 Experimenting with light sources

For a better understanding of the way lighting affects colour, I decided to use colourful textiles and objects for my experiment. I also decided to reproduced the experiment with other colourful elements in order to confirmed the results of the colour perception under different light sources.

Regarding experiment 1:

The daylight colour compact fluorescent light offers a bright, true and vibrant colour vision of the blue but it has a tendance to fade the red colour which is present in the shoes, as well as in the flower pattern of the dress. The warm white colour compact fluorescent light source results in the opposite effect. The blue, in that second case, is faded, detracted by the warm light but the red is vibrant.

The LED light gives a good compromise between the vision of the blue and the red. Their vibrancy is slightly less than the previous cases. Also, the perception of the white seems bluish, probably due the cool light colour of this LED.

With the halogen light (incandescent light bulb), the perception of all these colour seems right and balanced. I would like to reattempt this exercise with a change of the focal point of the light. Probably the blue will appear less vibrant due to the warmish light.

Regarding experiment 2:

The daylight compact fluorescent light results in a vibrant perception of the colours. The shapes of the elements and their motifs are well defined when compared with the other light sources results.

With the warm white compact fluorescent light , the warm colour orange is well enhanced and the blue is dull. The pink and the green also appear with a slight touch of orange.

The halogen light has a also a poor blue rendering. The bag’s fabric results in a glare from the direct light.

In relation to the LED, the colour rendering is well vibrant where the light is focused on, but shades and tone changes appears towards the outlines.

For this scenario, the daylight compact fluorescent light gives the better result regarding the perception of the colours.

© Stephanie Barthelemy, 2014