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Mary Cook Associates Discusses The Role of Color in Interior Design

The white paper discussion stresses the importance of understanding the why behind a color choice and how it works with other design fundamentals. 

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Mary Cook Associates

Chicago-based Mary Cook Associates (MCA), a national, award-winning commercial interior design firm, today published a white paper entitled Show Your True Colors: Elevating The Impact Of Design Through Color. The paper discusses the technological, social and economic forces behind the use of color as well as the role color can play in multifamily, single-family and commercial interiors.

“Color is one of the most powerful – and cost-effective – design elements,” said Mary Cook, president and founder of MCA. “Regardless of the scope of the project, the budget or the client, color always plays a key role in the environments we create. In addition to contributing to the overall appeal of a space, color can influence feelings, memory, attention, behavior and performance.” 

In the white paper, Cook stresses the importance of understanding the why behind a color choice and how it works with other design fundamentals. “Our approach is always first and foremost informed by consideration of who we’re designing for,” said Cook. “We apply what we know about the science of color with our understanding of the psychographics – the values, attitudes, interests, lifestyles and aspirations – of the end user to create spaces that perform the way we want them to.”


Other topics discussed in the white paper include:

  • How technology has influenced the use of color – from early advances in pigments to the adoption of the standardized Pantone matching system.
  • The unique effect different colors have on us, such as red generating feelings of energy and green promoting calmness and long-term concentration.
  • The business of color, including the genesis of color trends and how and why different shades are chosen to be marketed as annual colors of the year.
  • How the right color choice can determine a project’s success when paired with other design fundamentals and demographic and psychographic insights.


“So much of the conversation around color today comes from home furnishing lines, paint companies, Pantone, and celebrities or influencers promoting a color or product on behalf of a brand,” added Cook. “As designers, we should be using real data – not trends – to inform color choices that promote well-being, improve moods, enhance performance and elevate the human experience.”

Show Your True Colors is the sixth in a series of white papers from MCA sharing insights from the firm’s proprietary seven fundamentals of interior design methodology and identifying opportunities for builders and developers to respond to the shifting paradigm of home with thoughtful designs and innovative spaces. 

The full white paper can be viewed online or downloaded as a PDF at marycook.com/whitepapers/show-your-true-colors/.

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