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Over the last several weeks, a lot has changed in our daily lives. Today our world revolves primarily around the inner walls of our homes. When we do venture out, our neighborhoods are virtually unrecognizable with plywood façades shuttering the doors and windows of our favorite local haunts. With unprecedented repercussions from COVID-19 weighing heavily upon us, optimism is one thing that continues to propel us forward.
To brighten an otherwise bleak canvas around our cities, designers from Gensler have volunteered their time to partner with small business owners to create vibrant and inspiring murals that reflect the distinct personality of each business, as well as the promise of better times to come. Color Speaks—a research project spearheaded by Sara Thompson, Ryan Collier, and Krista Reeder at Gensler’s Seattle office—was initially created to study how color can bring hope and optimism to the future of our cities, and how applications of color in the urban environment affect our behavior and collective well-being.
Now in the face of COVID-19, Gensler designers are using the initiative to encourage others to join them in revitalizing storefronts and transforming abandoned streets into beautiful splashes of uplifting colors and positive messages. The focus is on sending a message of resilience, that design can inspire hope in uneven time.
To date, the Gensler Seattle and Gensler Portland teams have each painted four murals around their cities, and conversations are underway with even more small business owners. Since initiating this project, other Gensler offices around the nation are joining in to beautify their own cities.
The team has even created a free downloadable tool kit (containing a list of necessary supplies, “paint-by-number” guide, and helpful tips) that walks even non-artists through the process of painting their own murals. Anyone interested in receiving a copy of the downloadable tool kit can contact the team directly through the Color Speaks Instagram page (@colorspeaks_).