Meet our pioneers of colour: “Inspiration needs colour to function”

Randomness and a feeling of serendipity combine the moments of inspiration, says our colour category manager Irina Hanhisalo.

Irina Hanhisalo is in charge of Tikkurila shades and colour collections. She works closely with colour strategy and campaigns, such as the annual colour of the year concept, Color Now. We asked Irina about colour as an inspiration.

“To quote artist Claude Monet, colour is my joy and torment. Some days working with colour is such a dream, everything is wonderful and easy, and other days it’s more complicated. But it’s always interesting. Colour is my special kind of love."

Irina Hanhisalo

Working with colour round the clock

"For me, colour and inspiration are basically the same – colour is inspiration in itself and inspiration needs colour to function. Often the best ideas start from somewhere very randomly. Once I saw the most interesting colour combination when spotting two pieces of rubbish in the bin while travelling. Randomness and a feeling of serendipity are common for such inspirational moments.

In my work as a colour category manager I’m closely involved in everything concerning colour and the Tikkurila brand. I need to be an all-rounder: I have to understand the way paint and pigments act, how to use printed material and digital platforms, know about marketing and follow trends and phenomena. If diving into colours wouldn’t be in my nature, I’d be in trouble. This is a round-the-clock mission. Spontaneous curiosity is the foundation for my work."

Colour trends follow economy, politics and fashion

"Colour trends flow according to other major movements, the world economy and political circumstances, but they also relate to what’s going on in art and fashion. Now I think the trend is headed towards more muted and deeper shades after a bright and light season. It feels like after all the turbulence in the world we need something grounding.

Trying to choose a favourite colour is as impossible as naming your favourite child. The secret is that you can always choose again – there is no need to get locked into one when there are countless lovely shades. That’s where the beauty of paint is: regardless of the surface, you can change the whole appearance, whether it’s a chair or a wall. Colour and paint are the most amazing assets.”