Published: April 07, 2021
Published: April 07, 2021

Rachel Stands at the Junction of Art and Science

Rachel Lacy is our color category manager for Architectural Coatings in Australia and New Zealand, based in Clayton, Australia, and a proud “kiwi”. She and her team are helping to bring PPG color innovation to the front under the TAUBMANS® paint brand in Australia and PPG Paints in New Zealand. Rachel shares with us the challenges of launching creative projects during COVID-19 and insights into her personal passion for color.

There are no wrong colors, as there are no wrong color combinations. There is simply what you love.

Creating Bespoke Paint Colors with Technology

Rachel loves the diversity of her job and the people she works with. She is motivated by the camaraderie of working in a team and the encouragement to discuss ideas.

We have a really super group of people. There is genuine care and support for each other, multiplying the passion everyone has for our projects!

Her main task is giving PPG color innovation a more prominent position in Australia and New Zealand. Rachel and her team believe this will drive growth in the architectural business and help solve our customers’ biggest challenges.

Our new COLOURSMITH™ app by Taubmans is one of their major focuses, as are all the associated digital platforms, hardware and PPG-wide customer touchpoints. Together, these help integrate the experience across all consumer and professional channels.

The Coloursmith app converts any smartphone camera into a color scanner, which can then be used to capture surface colors and convert them into bespoke paint colors.

Most recently, Rachel and the team introduced the PPG Paints ‘Makers’ series in New Zealand. However, before learning more about Makers, let’s take a trip with Rachel down memory lane – back to the beginnings of the Coloursmith app and to Australia.

The New Way to Select Color

The Coloursmith digital color offering was a truly global project. Designed in Australia and developed by the digital team in Pittsburgh and the color lab in the Netherlands.
Bringing a new way to select paint color, it reimagines the paint color selection process from the consumers’ first touch to the tinting of the paint, making use of customers’ mobile phones. The intuitive functionality and portability of the app means the entire process is now digitized.
This disruptive technology required not only digital innovation, but also new point of sales tint machinery, in-store database updates and extensive, ongoing training.

Since its inception, the project team has been completely consumed by the concept, development and execution of Coloursmith. And now, they are introducing all that color and innovation to New Zealand, through the Makers series.

The pandemic caused a delay of six months to the Coloursmith launch in Australia, which meant Rachel and the team had to wait to launch in New Zealand.

Makers was their solution to bringing the essence of Coloursmith to New Zealand, minus the technology, so that it could become an e-commerce offering run by a small team from a single location. This has led to the introduction of the notion of personalized paint colors to that market.

Introducing Makers – Color Belongs to Us All

For this project, PPG Paints in New Zealand has partnered with six ‘Makers’ – artists, crafters and designers – who have taken inspiration from their environment to create their own collection of bespoke paint colors.

We looked not only at the makers’ artistic endeavors, but also at how good they were as storytellers.

The result is a beautiful collection of paint colors with stories to tell. The gentle greens and dark browns of the plane trees on Franklin Road in Ponsonby, Auckland, have been forever immortalized in color. As have the ‘Pale Blue Sky’ and a ‘Field at Dusk’ from a farm in dairy country. ‘Opal Yellow’ was created from the warm color of stained glass. ‘Fallen Fruit’ hails from the Botanic Gardens in Dunedin. And colors like ‘Strawberry Milk’ by Lewis Road Creamery look good enough to eat!

Makers introduces the idea that color belongs to us all, that color is not the provenance of paint companies.

Bringing Innovation and Getting It Done

Not only did everything have to be done remotely, but both the timeframe and budget were tight. The team worked directly with the artists, designers and photographers to bring it all together.

It was a bit hectic, but we learned that within our team, we have all the creativity needed to run a small campaign like this, and that we can bring the innovation and get it done.

Customers can now take any Maker’s paint color QR codes into a store and get their color in PPG interior or exterior paints.

It was a super project to work on, and we got a great result.

Rachel always enjoys working with color teams from all the architectural brands to see how we build a truly global color palette. She also loves that there is always so much to learn.

What I enjoy most about color is that it sits right at the junction of art and science.

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