Painting the Town Red, and Beyond

Traditional licensing deals and especially limited collaborations continue to proliferate in the paint industry, as the major name-brand paint manufacturers and newer boutique and direct-to-consumer companies alike pair with designers and corporate brands to create new and different color palettes. Paint is a relatively inexpensive way to make a fun change and/or create a cosy atmosphere in a living environment, something that consumers have been looking to do since the cocooning trend started in the 1980s, and even more so since the pandemic-imposed lockdowns started in 2020.

Current home décor trends also favor going bold, on colorful showpiece furniture, cabinets, or bookshelves; in small areas like feature walls or half baths; or even as the basis for entire, centrally located rooms. Collaborations are one way to introduce new and unique colors that attract attention and resonate with consumers who want to express themselves through their paint choices.

Here are some of the initiatives announced in the last year by paint purveyors from around the world:

  • Backdrop, an F. Schumacher & Co.-owned, U.S.-based direct-to-consumer marketer of a curated palette of premium, sustainable paint and supplies, collaborated with Porsche for an anniversary collection. Both companies are known for their vibrant colors. The four limited-edition interior paint hues, priced at $75 per can, are Irish Green, Speed Yellow, Ruby Star, and Riviera Blue and are based on shades seen on different car models throughout Porsche’s 75-year history. An exclusive Porsche 75 leather key chain comes with each can of paint. Backdrop’s past collaborators have included Barbie, Madewell, and Dunkin.
  • Farrow & Ball, a handcrafted luxury paint brand based in Britain, paired with fashion designer Christopher John Rogers, known for his brightly colored and patterned apparel, for a collection called Carte Blanche. The 12 saturated paint shades (and three wallpapers) are described as playful, with names like Macadamia, Hog Plum, Lobster Blue, and Raw Tomatillo. The hues are inspired by the New York designer’s Louisiana upbringing and meant to encourage consumers to experiment with color at home. Farrow & Ball has also partnered with the likes of interior designer Kelly Wearstler, color strategist Martin Kesselman, retailer and fabric brand Liberty, and the U.K.’s Natural History Museum. It has also lent its own name and colors to a sneaker collection with Superga.
  • Sherwin-Williams partnered with fashion designer Christian Siriano, who is also involved in interior design, for a limited edition of 30 paint shades. The collection includes bright and off-whites and outdoors-influenced neutrals such as beiges, blues, charcoals, and terracottas. The line is described as offering options for every consumer, every style, and every room, in keeping with Siriano’s reputation for inclusivity. U.S.-headquartered Sherwin’s other partnerships include regular drops with Pottery Barn and West Elm, featuring paints that coordinate with the retailers’ home collections, and its long-running licensed HGTV Home line.
  • Lick, which sells sustainable paints that it says are durable, require fewer coats to apply, and can be wiped clean, introduced a custom color in partnership with Heinz, specifically Heinz Tomato Ketchup Red HTK 57, which, as the name suggests, is the color of ketchup. (The 57 refers to the “57 varieties” slogan that appears on Heinz ketchup bottles.) The limited edition consists of 570 made-to-order tins available through Lick’s DTC site. The color is described as a timeless hue that is perfect for social spaces such as dining rooms and kitchens. Most of U.K.-based Lick’s other pairings have been with design studios including Soho House, Kelly Hoppen, Livingetc., and Studio Coverdale.
  • V&Co. Paint, known for its core array of 45 curated colors, all in a dead-flat matte finish, paired with Molly Coath, interior designer and contestant on the U.K. reality competition show Interior Design Masters, for a six-shade collection. The earthy, warm, and autumnal colors—such as Morocco-inspired Toria Tagine and Molly’s Olive, which takes its cues from Coath’s grandparents’ garden—are meant to complement each other and can be layered for different looks. The paints are sold exclusively through B&Q home improvement stores in the U.K. V&Co. Paint is itself a licensed brand, produced since 2022 by Sherwin-Williams-owned Valspar under license from Canadian design house V&Co. It is positioned as a premium, design-led line with high opacity, and it represents Valspar’s first line of dead-flat-finish paints.
  • Bauwerk Colour, an Australian specialist in natural, eco-friendly limewash paints, debuted a color range with luxury hotel chain The Hoxton. The nine shades in the Neighbourhood Collection are inspired by the European cities where The Hoxton has locations, including Barcelona’s Poblenou, Berlin’s Charlottenburg, Amsterdam’s Docklands, and Edinburgh’s West End. Bauwerk’s other collaboration partners have included designers, design studios, and color stylists such as Abigail Ahern, Hans Blomquist, and House of Grey.
  • Kraftsmann Paint, of Ireland, partnered with Nathaniel Clements Studio for a collection of eco-friendly paints under the Clements & Moore name. The ultra-premium range brings back to life colors used in historic Irish homes of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, such as Birr Castle, Lissadell House, and Lough Rynn. Clements is an Irish painter, muralist, and decorative artist, known for using gilding, decorative paint finishes, and period colors in historic renovation projects. The range was developed with restoration work in mind.
  • Haymes Paint’s 2024 edition of its ongoing Origins Colour Library, announced in September 2023, includes collaborative colors with home décor and furnishings label Adairs, designers Josh and Matt, and design studio Nexus Designs. Several years ago, Australia-based Haymes partnered with Etsy for a collaboration in which 11 Etsy designers created handmade products inspired by one of the Origins color palettes.

Collaborations in the paint space have been steadily gaining in frequency for many years, involving a wide swath of properties and paint brands. Kilz’ partnership with celebrity lifestyle guru Joanna Gaines has included several collections over time. Rust-Oleum’s Influencer Collection of limited-edition colors features lifestyle and interior design influencers such as Sophia Ferrari-Wills, known for her pastels, and Robyn Donaldson, whose palette is influenced by galleries, museums, and historical properties. Benjamin Moore’s more than 10-year old, 144-color Williamsburg Collection of interior and exterior paints replicates shades used 400 years ago in Colonial Williamsburg buildings. And Martha Stewart’s paint collaborations over the years started back in the early 1990s, when she was one of the first to market unusual new colors not typically seen in mainstream paint ranges. That approach has become a key strategy for the industry today.

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