The Power of Optical Optimism

The tool Project Color Corps uses to improve children’s lives.

Laura Guido-Clark
Kevin Cho
Christina Black
Lavender Earl Grey

The Concept of Color

Colors have played major roles in our existence and our history. All aspects of color are crucial parts of the stories we tell, the art we create and the symbols we inject with meaning. Colors can make us feel happy or sad, hungry or relaxed. The emotional reactions incited by color are rooted in psychological effects, biological conditioning and cultural imprinting (1).

Fascinated by color’s potential to excite and delight, TEALEAVES reached out to experts in design—from OPI to Nike—to learn from subject matter experts in their respective industries. This journey is documented through Color in Sight, a documentary that brings together major brands to discuss their process in selecting the right color. These experts tell us that a single color has a lasting impact on the products and services enjoyed by many. 

Laura Guido-Clark has experienced first-hand the remarkable influence color has on the human experience and psyche. In 2011, Guido-Clark embarked on a journey of color, founding the Project Color Corps after experiencing a recurring dream: In this dream, she presented positive change for communities through color to the then-President Obama. Guido-Clark spoke to OnBlend about the inspiration behind the beginnings of Project Color Corps:

The Project Color Corps started with a dream. That dream was so powerful for me that I knew I had to do something bigger.

– Laura Guido-Clark

Guido-Clark’s dream was the catalyst for founding Project Color Corps, a non-profit organization based on optical optimism.

Optical Optimism

What does color mean to your community? Project Color Corps uses the power of color to infuse well-being and energy into neighborhoods across the United States. The organization spreads positive messages of optimism and hope through color. Guido-Clark enlightens us on this concept of optical optimism:. 

When you’re surrounded by beauty and color, and when you have a part in that process, you get to see yourself differently.

The transformational characteristics of color are embedded in the vision of Project Color Corps. The organization speaks to the power fresh paint has in improving the quality of life for children and residents of historically underinvested communities.

At its essence, color contains both change and hope.

– Laura Guido-Clark

The Process of Palettes

Understanding the relationship that mood has with color, Project Color Corps offers a Color Seminar Day, in which organizers take note of the words children say. These words, such as hope, happiness and excitement,  inspire word clouds, to bring out the most impactful and important words. “From these words, we are inspired. We take these words and we create palettes,” says Guido-Clark. These color palettes are then associated with the moods they evoke. A few highlights include “Natural Brave”, a stoic and serious palette,  and “Stellar Fun”, a blend of bright colors mixed in the most creative ways.

After the creation of palettes comes voting day, where the children vote on their favorites. “It is probably one of the most exciting things to see”, says Guido-Clark. At the end of the day, the winning palette is announced. 

There is such a great sense of pride. Kids love voting day, and the process. They know they are important, and what they say matters. That is a big part of the essence of Color Corps.”

The Mission of Project Color Corps

Project Color Corps engages and encourages communities to develop a design scheme that reflects their unique essence. This inspires a sense of ownership, empowerment and pride throughout these neighborhoods.

Through their process, Project Color Corps teaches community members and their children the fundamentals of color, the connection between color and emotion, and how color may be used in powerful ways. 

Get involved in Project Color Corps through their website:

Learn more about the influence of color throughout history with Nature of Color, Color of Nature.

How does Color influence us? Watch our documentary Color In Sight to find out.

Works Cited
Gremillion, Allison S. “How Color Impacts Emotions and Behaviors.” 99designs, 99designs, 24 Jan. 2020,