Since I discovered product design and its sister professions, I’ve been interested in colorists. I joke with my wife that I want to be a colorist just so I can tell people what I get paid for and they’ll get mad at me, but every time I refresh my portfolio I feel like a kid with a box of 64-count Crayolas as I play with InDesign swatches and Kuler.
Is this job fun in real life, or is it mainly just following trends and picking a dozen shades of gray?
There are CFM specialists out there (Color, Finish, Materials). Electronics and lifestyle places would probably use them like Motorola, automotive companies, soft goods, etc.
My boss once described me as a “colorist” to our sales team, and it pissed me off. After further consideration, however, I realize that i am a colorist, but also an engineer, a materials specifier, a stylist, a researcher, a product tester… basically I’m a designer. (My business card reads “Product Designer”, by the way.) I guess in his mind, my colorist tasks stand out to him as particularly important.
If you want to show off your colorist skills, I certainly wouldn’t do it through color palettes. I think showing examples of color blocking (and the research and design methodology that got you there) is far more interesting. Footwear, apparel, and gadget-y stuff would all be fun to color block. Color palettes are just as much about choosing the color as where you put it, and how much of each color you use.
Oh sorry, didn’t answer your question. Being a colorist is fun, I like hanging out with my light box and piles of Pantone fabric swatches, but don’t enjoy arguing with non-designers about my decisions. Color is a very personal issue, and even non-arts-educated people feel passionate about it.