Sherwin-Williams’ ColorSnap Aims to Simplify Paint Selection

Sheila Kim Sheila Kim

When psychologist Barry Schwartz gave his TED Talk about “The Paradox of Choice,” exploring how being bombarded with too many options can cause anxiety and take up too much of our time, he may have been onto something. Case in point: paint centers can overwhelm some patrons with entire color libraries presented right off the bat, leaving the customers paralyzed with indecision. This week, Sherwin-Williams announced a new system aimed at simplifying the paint-selection process for consumers and professionals alike. Called ColorSnap, it comprises both a revamped physical display and new online tools.

For the store displays, the paint giant tapped award-winning design consultancy IDEO to apply a human-centered approach to design. The result is a reorganized, pared-down, and more interactive display of 24 rotating, single-color panels, each representing an overarching color family. Clients can then turn one color family’s panel on its vertical axis to view a curated palette of nearly 50 paint chips. As opposed to narrow paper strips, the take-home color chips measure two by three inches to provide customers with better visualization when holding it in the space to be painted. And customers can take selected chips to a central work area in the store to arrange and review the colors. From testing this new system in stores, Sherwin-Williams concluded that, on average, customers found their paint colors 60 percent faster than with the previous display. The in-store rollout is currently underway and will reach 4,000 stores across North America by late January 2016.

The digital portion of ColorSnap includes the Visualizer, which will allow users to scan their color chips with iPhone or Android smart phones, and, then, through an app, instantly render room scenes depicting the color as well as coordinating tones. Conversely, the program can be used to match a color in a photo to a Sherwin-Williams hue.

Though full details haven’t been revealed, ColorSnap will also have a dedicated professional component. The ColorSnap Design Pro Suite will feature an updated and expanded suite of tools such as an ergonomic fan deck, portable kit, and visualizer, all of which will be available in early 2016.

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