Tradesmen Inspired to Utilise Colour in New Dulux Academy Colour Courses


Painters, decorators, interior designers and occasional specifiers are set to benefit from the first comprehensive offering of courses on colour, tailored to professional specification and applier industries. 

The Dulux Academy, which opened earlier this year as the UK’s first academy for professionals in the domestic and commercial decoration and refurbishment markets, will offer a new collection of colour ‘Colour and Design’ courses from January 2017. The courses are designed not only to demonstrate colour theory but also to provide hands-on opportunities to acquire and practice new design and application skills. With the new Dulux Trade Colour Futures 2017 collection of paint colours now available, attendees on the new Colour and Design courses will also be given insights into the new trends that are starting to emerge in interiors for the year ahead.

Vickie Mather, Dulux Academy Manager says: “Creating and enhancing interior spaces with appropriate use of beautiful colour is a highly sought-after skill, whether at the applier or specifier end of the market. However, anecdotal evidence right across the industry seems to suggest that a lack of confidence when it comes to understanding how to use colour properly. Colour has such a transformative and beautiful effect when applied in a thoughtful and considered way and our courses will enable professional decorators, architects, interior designers and occasional specifiers such as property developers to understand every aspect of how to use colour in their projects.

Courses range from introductory level courses on colour theory to advanced, intensive courses on creating and designing schemes that utilise the latest colour trends. Each course also provides credits toward the UK’s first ever City & Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Colour, Design and Professional Decorating – a qualification established specifically for Dulux Academy.

Two-day course, ‘Designing Beautiful Living Spaces’ is just one of the seven inspiring colour courses on offer that will help develop attendees’ confidence in designing colour schemes.  The course, which runs from 16th to 17th February, will bring established theories from the worlds of Colour Science, Theory, Culture and the language of colour with practical guidance on designing colour schemes, mitigating factors such as light and space and creative decorating techniques. Attendees will be encouraged to use the theories they learn to experiment during the course in a series of practical challenges.

Specifying a decorative scheme and colours in sectors such as public housing, education, healthcare and hospitality is governed by strict legislative guidance laid down by the Equality Act 2010. Thanks to the Dulux Academy, architects, commercial interior designers, property developers and occasional specifiers such as facilities managers can brush up on or gain an in-depth understanding of their obligations to create accessibility for visually impaired and sighted people in a building. The Dulux Academy ‘Colour and Legislation’ course on 16th March will provide the latest regulatory guidance on Light Reflectance Values (LRV), colour and contrast and how to select the correct shade from the Dulux Trade notation system and to use various Dulux Trade tools.  

Vickie Mather said: “Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is critical for professionals in the interiors, decorating and building specification industries but people often put the day job in front of their own learning and continued development. We have designed courses at the Dulux Academy to build professionals’ knowledge, skills and confidence so that they can more easily fit their learning around busy schedules in half day, full day and two-day sessions. Attendees will not only gain a great deal of confidence in colour but will be able to utilise course credits towards a recognised qualification that will further enhance their professional career.”

The full list of Dulux Academy Colour and Design courses can be viewed on the Dulux Academy website at  


Mark Rigby, Skills Development Consultants at Dulux Academy
Interview with Dulux Academy Consultant: Mark Rigby
 In March 2016, AkzoNobel, parent company of leading professional paint brand Dulux Trade, launched the UK’s first state-of-the-art flagship training academy for the painting and decorating industry in Slough. The Dulux Academy provides Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for professional decorators with courses that teach new techniques and ways of working.
Since the launch, hundreds of experienced tradesmen and apprentices have received expert advice in applying paints and coverings and gained an advanced understanding of developments within areas essential to their careers including colour, sustainability and social media.
Ahead of seven new colour training courses launched at Dulux Academy in November 2016, we got the low-down from Mark Rigby, one of two Skills Development Consultants at Dulux Trade, on colour knowledge and confidence.
Demand for Colour
1.   Are decorators seeing an increased demand for colours other than magnolia?

Mark: Magnolia is still a very popular choice with most new build projects because of its versatile, clean, warm and yet neutral properties. However, because of its popularity, the colour seems to have picked up a stigma of being “a bit boring” or “safe” and many people, increasingly, are moving on to other “exciting” colours.

2.   How important do you think it is for decorators to be able to advise on colour?

Mark:  It is very important for the decorator to be able to gently guide the customer at the estimating stage of a job where customers usually state their colour choice or preferences. Not specifying colour correctly can impact whether the job goes well and could impact the decorator’s bottom line. Advising correctly shows the customer that they are in safe hands.

3.   Can knowledge of colour add value to a decorator’s business?

Mark: If a decorator is able to instil such levels of confidence in the customer at the estimating stage of the job, the focus is shifted from price alone to security that they are employing a professional service and they will, more likely than not, pay a premium for it. So, in my view, displaying good colour knowledge can add value.

4.   What are the most popular colours at the moment?

Mark: Like most things, customers like to be “on trend” and want to imitate what they see in the media and on the high street.  When it comes to picking paint colours, a useful tool is the Dulux Colour Futures palette. These are colours selected by a panel of design experts across a range of industries each year and are considered the pinnacle of “on trend” colours. This year’s colour, Denim Drift and similar shades of grayish blues are proving popular in interior designed decorating schemes.

5.   How would you define what colour advice a decorator should provide vs. that of an interior designer?

Mark: In the customer’s eyes, the decorator gives the colour advice free, whereas an interior designer will charge for it as a separate service, which again adds value to the service the decorator provides. A decorator should be able to show the customer a colour and its complimentary shades within a scheme by using tools such as the Colour Guide or free Dulux Trade Visualiser app, whereas an Interior Designer will likely design bespoke CAD designs.


6.   What are the main things to be aware of when choosing colour? E.g. light, special awareness etc.

Mark: The biggest mistake people make when choosing colour is to go into a store with an idea of what they want, look at a few colour cards and then pick and buy it there and then! There are a lot of factors to be aware of when choosing colour. It is important to pick out the colour in the room that it is going in and with the fixtures and fittings that you want it to contrast, match or harmonise with. It is equally important to see the colour under different light sources e.g. in daylight, at sunset and under artificial lighting as these will all have effect on how we see the colour.

7.   If a client is nervous about using colour, what are the best ways to introduce it to a room’s palette?

Mark: If the customer is nervous about using a particular colour, the decorator could start off using the Visualiser app, which will enable the customer to see the colour on the walls without physically applying any paint. This would give them a good idea of which colours to choose and then samples of the colour can be painted on to lining paper and left with the customer. This also enables them to see the colours under the different light sources.

8.   How powerful can use of colour be in a commercial or residential space?

Mark: More often than not, colour is used in a domestic situation simply for decoration purposes. In the commercial sector there are other aspects to consider, e.g. do you want to reflect a vibrant office or children’s play area? Do you want to bring a feel of tranquillity and calming to a funeral parlour or hospital ward? Do you need to highlight where certain areas are e.g. fire escapes or first aid stations? All these things can be achieved just using the right colours in the right places.

9.   Are there any techniques that you recommend for use with bright colours? E.g. colour blocking

Mark: If a drastic change of colour or product, especially particularly bright colours, is to be used, it may be financially beneficial to consider using a colour blocker first.


10. Which Dulux Trade tools would you recommend that decorators use to get the best result?

Mark: Dulux Trade offers a number of easy-to-use colour tools. When I was running my own business, I found the Professional Colour Card, which features ‘Favourite Colours’ and a colour swatch to be invaluable.  The swatch showcases colours that work on their own but it’s also easy to pick corresponding or contrasting colours by looking at the swatch horizontally or vertically. The Visualiser app was also invaluable to me when it came to choosing and advising on colour and I would highly recommend them. These and more can be obtained from the Dulux Trade Paint Expert website.

11.    What will the new colour courses at Dulux Academy entail and how can decorators get involved?

Mark: The new colour courses will provide decorators with a deeper level of knowledge and introduce technical aspects will help to update their knowledge and skills. New courses include ‘Understanding Colour Theory and Principles’, the content of which is not well understood by many professional decorators.  The course combines science with colour psychology and decorators will learn how colour works, the influence of light and how it and even the temperature of a room can change the feel of a colour.

Download the prospectus or you’re your course now at .For further information on Dulux Trade, please visit