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Interview with designer and author Debra Wilde

Colors Gone Wilde
Debra Wilde

Debra Wilde owns Debra Wilde Design and is the author of Color Gone Wilde: Introducing the Core Color Plan.

Eliza: What made you interested in writing about design?

Debra: Design is my livelihood. All of my adult life I have worked with color and design in some fashion. Yet the seeds for the book were instilled by a near-death-experience at 19 as I was working in New York as a governess, driving in my boss’s car, going to the movies, hit head-on by a drunk driver. During my near death experience, and in the proceeding post traumatic stress that developed years later, a deeply profound and spiritual relationship to color was born. When I went through these traumatic experiences, designing and working with color became my personal access to healing. Since then I’ve devoted my life to studying color and light in the created world (both natural and through human design). I look at color as archetypal, possessing distinct psychological characteristics.

Eliza: What exactly is the Core Color Plan?

Debra: The Core Color Plan is color preference test that empowers personalized design solutions.

It’s a fool-proof questionnaire that draws on one’s intuitive reactions to color. Based on the results of the questionnaire, you will identify a unique color “signature” or “plan.” You will discover new ways to utilize colors in your environment (or any design project, for that matter). Your selections are colors that bring you happiness, or calm you, or give you strength, among other things. During workshops, I illustrate my point with bio-kinesiology muscle-testing. Our body strength remains strong holding our personal color preferences and weakens with color dislikes. The clincher is when I blind-fold the individuals and they don’t know which colors I put in their hands. The same results hold true again and again. The audiences are amazed. This work is based in an inquiry of how design can create a psychologically supportive environment—one that draws out the best of who we are, cultivating personal happiness. In our homes, the colors discovered through the Core Color Plan become a self- reinforcing loop of psychological support and pleasure.

Eliza: What gave you the idea?

Debra: During my near death experience, the over-arching truth that I discovered is that color is fundamentally energy and has manifesting abilities. The commercial world has used the power of color in marketing, advertising and design. Our spiritual, emotional and mental worlds can benefit from the power of color and I wanted to develop a way for each of us to access this. Every individual’s experience with color is unique, it is a highly personal relationship. I developed the Core Color Plan in the 1990’s—it was my thesis project--- when I was receiving accreditation through the International Association of Color Consultants and Designers. I wrote a thesis for which I graduated with honors and that eventually became the foundation for my book.

Eliza: What challenges did you have in writing the book?

Debra: The book is like an onion or a huge ball of string with many, many layers. I was living a dual life as the introverted writer seeking time and seclusion, while actively running a business in the outer world. My current book is self-published and I’m currently working on reprocessing and streamlining it into a more succinct and accessible handbook: “The Core Color Plan.”

Eliza: Do you think Portlanders will be more open to the concepts in the book than people in other cities?

Debra: Color is universal. My concept supports wise consumer decision-making and sustainable design. Portlanders can resonate with that. Find the colors that work for you, that resonate with who you are and be true to yourself. An elementary school principal that I worked with in Kansas City wanted to organize groups to help people find their strength colors, illustrating their responses through muscle testing. It’s a concept for everyone. I lead workshops wherever people are interested in learning about the Core Color Plan and how to design purposely with color. I’ve had gatherings at my office or it can be a home party. Interested parties can contact me at info@debrawildedesign.

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