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How to Become a Color Consultant

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As specialists who help homeowners to find the perfect color patterns for their homes or businesses to effectively use colors to build a strong visual identity, color consultants have an in-depth understanding of the visual and psychological effects of color. They combine their professional training with artistic vision and creative ability to design color schemes that can create atmosphere, as well as trigger various feelings and emotions.

Make the First Step

A few colleges and universities offer courses in color theory that can give you a solid foundation for a career as a color consultant. Portland Community College in Oregon, for example, offers a color foundations program that covers topics such as the physical properties of color, human perception of color and color relationships. You can also get started with a bachelor’s degree in fashion design or interior designs, as long as the program has courses in color theory or color design.

Master the Skills

You need a keen eye for color and strong visual awareness and drawing skills to be an accomplished color consultant. When a homeowner describes the kind of color scheme she’d like in her living room, for instance, you should be able to create a mental image of the scheme, and possibly transform it into a sketch. This role also calls for the ability to show respect for your client’s personal color tastes. Because some tasks may require you work with interior designers, color therapists or fashion designers, you need communication and teamwork skills to share ideas and work together toward the common goal of meeting clients’ expectations.

Improve Your Competence

The International Association of Color Consultants North America, or IACC-NA, offers a training program that leads to accreditation as an IACC color consultant. This program builds on your basic knowledge of color theory, exploring advanced facets of color such as color psychology and color marketing. To become accredited, you must attend a series of seminars for color and environment that are held in San Diego, California. Although you can take as little as one year to complete the training program, the association allows a maximum of three years.

Join the Practice

As a beginning color consultant, you can find full-time employment with interior design firms, fashion design studios and established color consulting companies. After gaining several years of color consulting experience and building a wide network of industry contacts, you can move into private practice and start a consulting business. Establishing yourself as a self-employed color consultant can be difficult, so be sure to nurture your commercial skills. Also, secure membership in the IACC-NA to gain the privilege of using its logo on your marketing materials.


Based in New York City, Alison Green has been writing professionally on career topics for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in “U.S. News Weekly” magazine, “The Career” magazine and “Human Resources Journal.” Green holds a master's degree in finance from New York University.

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