When it comes to making jewelry that sells – selecting colors that are familiar, yet have an element of surprise – is the principle for success. As jewelry designers, we want to be unique, but the truth of the matters is, humans are hardwired to like things that are familiar.
The principle of MAYA, Most Advanced yet Acceptable, was introduced to me when I read the book Hit Makers by Derek Thompson. Derek also talks about why people like what they like in his “The Four-Letter Code for Selling Anything” 2018 TED Talk. The intro reads:
“Why do we like what we like? Raymond Loewy, the father of industrial design, had a theory. He was the all-star 20th-century designer of the Coca-Cola fountain and Lucky Strike pack; the modern sports car, locomotive, Greyhound bus and tractor; the interior of the first NASA spaceship; and the egg-shaped pencil sharpener. How did one man understand what consumers wanted from so many different areas of life? His grand theory of popularity was called MAYA: Most advanced yet acceptable. He said humans are torn between two opposing forces: neophilia, a love of new things; and neophobia; a fear of anything that’s too new. Hits, he said, live at the perfect intersection of novelty and familiarity.”
So how do we select colors that have just the right MAYA? I turn to many different industries for inspiration to find that “perfect intersection of novelty and familiarity.”
Bedding & Towel Color Inspiration
I love to look at bedding and towels for color inspiration. If someone is waking up to these colors everyday, chances are they will be drawn to jewelry colors that are familiar!
I personally am crazy about pottery! Someday I will have a house filled with unique pottery, (anyone else have kids who break everything?), but for now I can just be inspired by the color!
Event planners are also a great place for color inspiration. Everyone loves to look at wedding images (don’t they?). They are the perfect place to look at table settings, flowers and decorations.
I enjoy following Kristin Go of Pattern Curator. She does a great job of tying threads of colors throughout many industries.
Flower Arrangements and Interior Design
Gulshan London does an amazing job of capturing amazing interiors and floral arrangements throughout London. Such great color inspiration. (Warning, you may want to eat pastries after looking at their Instagram page!).
I love fancy soap! The packaging and colors are always so inspiring!
So much color inspiration with the fiber arts!!!
The stationery industry was my first love (and first business!), so I am always attracted to the wonderful color of the paper world!
See what I mean? That is a whole lot of color inspiration that supports the MAYA Principle. Finding that perfect intersection of novelty and familiarity with color in your jewelry designs will create a “hit” of a seller!
To read more about the book Hit Makers by Derek Thompson, take a look at my book review on the Nunn Design Blog: Book Review-Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson
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