For Color Designers, the World Is a Palette

In the secretive world of psychologists of color, the next great shade for a product could come from anywhere -- even poisonous frogs

When Beatrice Santiccioli was studying art in Florence during college, she took regular breaks in the Capponi Chapel of the 16th century cathedral of Santa Felicita. There, soaking up the cool of the stone interior on hot summer days, she would study Jacopo Pontormo's wood panel, Deposition. The brilliant colors of the Renaissance masterpiece left her in awe. "I would wonder, 'Where did he get the inspiration [for these colors] in the 16th century?'" Santiccioli says. Then, she would wander outside the church, look up at the blue of the sky, the pink of the clouds -- and understand.

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