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The Color of Whimsy

Pezmama's final request for the Scavenger Hunt was that I imagine I were the namer of nail polish colors. What names would I think up?

I would love to get paid to do that. Even better would be the job to name paint or yarn colors, since nail polish tones typically comprise only about a third of the spectrum.

I recently read a study about naming products; consumers apparently prefer evocative, slightly incongruous names to plain, descriptive ones. I can confirm this. I remember browsing through a J. Crew catalog in the late 80s, pondering the difference between an Oregano and a Sage Roll-Neck Sweater. Both seemed more appealing than a Dusty Green one would have.

Here are some nail polish colors I would invent (probably many of them already exist):

Cherry Pie. Pomegranate. Claret. Cinnamon Bear. Linzer Tart. Sachertorte. Juicy Melon. Ladyapple. Nutmeg. Berry Lovely. Apricot Cream. Turkish Delight. Red Delicious.

Maiden Blush. Naked Nacre. Sinsation. Tawny Kitten. Taboo. Saucy. Tickled Pink. First Kiss. Tempted. French Maid. Hot to Trot.

Spring Fling. Japanese Maple. Hollyhock. Bittersweet. Stargazer. Petal. Morning Glory. New Moon. Primrose. Morning Mist.

Chalcedony. Scarlet & Miniver. Silver Lining. Rapunzel. Damask. Cachet. Fameuse. Ciao Bella. Bijou. Midsummer Night's Dream. Treasure Trove.

Here are some that probably wouldn't sell, at least not to the mainstream beauty market:

Prune. Bellicose. Carotid. Texas Tea. Petri Dish. Chutney. Traffic Signal. Compost. Night Train. Crimson Tide. Dusty Brick. Bruise.

And my favorite of this lot: Old Meat.

What about you? Do any great (or awful) color names come to mind?

Reader Comments (15)

See, I forgot that I suggested all of these crazy things....

But I am glad that I did suggest only nail polish. Imagine how long this post would have been if it was paint colors instead! WOW, girl! I could imagine any one of these on the label of some nail polish - especially since some of them don't really explain the color itself (there seem to be a lot of those.)

And compost. I love that one.

I had some nail polish when I was in high school that I dubbed "baby diarrhea." It was a perfect description.

I know. Just doing my part to bring a little bit of badly needed class to this blog of yours.

November 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPEZmama

If I didn't already, I would adore you after reading that!

November 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

Yes, obviously this is something that has never crossed your mind.

I would buy ALL of them (from the top list). And now I'm hungry for dessert.

November 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJenna

You're frighteningly good at this.

And get this--my house's wall color is called Brick Dust. LOL!

November 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette Lyon

Chutney might sell, actually. My favorite was scarlet and miniver. Wonderful names!

November 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJen of A2eatwrite

How about Gangrene? Is that bad enough? :-)

November 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Bradshaw

why wouldn't sell prune sell?

can't imagine a color for naked nacre and petal though, but the other ones sound lovely, especially Japanese Maple!

What an original post

November 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGoofball

Bruise is actually a colour from a trendy collection from a few years ago--it was popular with the Goth crowd.
What about algae or sea anenome? Beach glass? I guess I am getting in the paint realm.
I always wondered who came up with the names of paint, fabric, nail polish, etc. Do you actually KNOW anyone who does that? I want to meet him/her!

November 26, 2007 | Unregistered Commenteranjmae

Annette--Well, it makes sense for a house color.

Jenna--I made these all up this morning. Except for Old Meat; that I thought up late last night.

Goofball--In America, prunes (dried plums) have nasty connotations having to do with old people and bowel regularity.

Anj--I like. Let's start a company.

Eeew--gangrene and baby diarrhea--gag me!

November 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLuisa Perkins

Holy crap! They SHOULD pay you for that! BRILLIANT!

(They should also pay you for what NOT to name them. Old meat? HAHAHAHA. Such a thing causes a vegetarian like myself to quake and tremble. But come on, wouldn't it be HILARIOUS to buy your mom some "compost" lipgloss for her birthday? hahahaha. There's gotta be a market there.)

November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBrillig

And speaking of old meat, how about a mid-range pink nail polish called Bag of Old Ham? Or a lip gloss called Bacon Grease? Or a light blue eye shadow called Cyanosis? ... I love this game.

November 27, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterdeb

I don't do nail polish so I think I will not suggest any new colours.

November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSirdar

Going with Deb's ideas, it could be called 'Spam' but there might be licensing laws. Avon has Tickled Pink and Spring Fling, in nail and lip colour. It is too late for me to think of original names and I have so many actual ones in my head.

November 28, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterdawn

Deb, I had actually thought of a lip gloss called Fatback, but that's a whole other post. Love your ideas.

November 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLuisa Perkins

luisa - we're so simpatico. surely there's some bizarre little project we could work on together? fondly, fatback

November 28, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterdeb

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