Help Wanted: Gel manufacturer seeks employee to identify and provide suitable sobriquets for new line of colors. Candidate must possess a modicum of creativity but must observe a sense of decorum.
Or so the advertisement, seemingly out of The Twilight Zone, read. And it makes one wonder: How do they assign names to gels, and how can I get paid to do it?
Of course, all of the good names are taken. "Red," "Blue," and "Yellow" were all bought and paid for years ago. So where do they come from?
Some colors, which shall remain nameless (and numberless!) have found the inspiration from a variety of printed material. In the future, I'm sure we'll be seeing "London Blue," "Egyptian Sand," or maybe even "Miami Mauve," all of which are very logically drawn from the field of geography.
Thankfully, it was an atlas on the table at the gel factory and not an automotive parts catalog--at this very moment, we could be ordering "Drive Shaft Saffron," "Oil Filter Gray," or even "Timing Belt Teal." One shudders to think what would have happened if a medical dictionary were handy. "Bile Duct Brown," "Hemorrhagic Fever Red," or even "Festering Wound Pink" could color our theatrical events.
When you stop to think about it, the world is just teeming with possible color names. Who wouldn't feel good about lighting their opera in Palest Ale Amber? Or using Pinkest Grapefruit for a backlight? This opens the door to cross-industry advertising that could be a gold mine--the cosmetics industry is a natural, since they also gainfully employ people to gaze at colors and provide an adequate eponym. Just imagine the commercial crossovers: "Pink Sunshine--it's a gel color and a lipstick!" Then there's the inevitable perfume tag line: "This advertisement was colored using Lilac--the fragrance that is the color."
Finally, at the dawn of the new millennium (not to be confused with "Dawn of Man Orange"), a whole slew of new names can arise. For those manufacturers that expect a new order of peace and tranquility, undoubtedly colors such as "New Age Aqua" and "Harmonic Convergence Coral" will appear. The companies that are a bit more Y2K-hysterical may soon be selling "Stock Market Panic Plum," "Societal Collapse Silver," and "Food Rationing Red."
Personally, I'm going with "Noncommittal Color Correction." It seems safer.
Sharon Stancavage is a Detroit-based concert and theatrical lighting technician.