Skip to main content

Considering a creative course starting in 2020 or 2021? Email to find out about studying with us. Register for one of our Online Open Days at

Posted 27.02.20

Students get top decorating tips from prestigious Farrow & Ball

By Naomi Girdler

Business Development Manager Magdalena Bieth explaining the difference in their neutral tones

Students from all years across BA (Hons) Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern and BA (Hons) Interior Decoration, Design & Styling attended a guest lecture by the illustrious British paint and wallpaper manufacturer Farrow & Ball.

Business Development Manager at Farrow & Ball, Magdalena Bieth, visited Plymouth College of Art to deliver a talk about the brand, their unique use of colour and palettes and their recent collaboration ‘Colour by Nature’ with the Natural History Museum.

Founded in 1946 by John Farrow and Maurice Ball, Farrow & Ball are known today for their historically inspired colour palettes, often featuring unique and quirky names such as ‘Skimmed Milk White’ and ‘Mouse’s Back’. 

Magdalena said: “Our creative team takes inspiration from so much in creating our colour palettes; it could be an element of nature or an item that inspires them. We update our colour palette every two to three years, and we focus on creating colours that would work across modern and traditional home environments. 

The lecturer was attended by students of all years across Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern and Interior Decoration, Design & Styling

“We try and give every colour its own narrative. For example, our India Yellow is famously named after the pigment collected from the urine of cows fed a special diet of mango leaves! My favourite shade, a versatile shade of grey named Ammonite, harks back to Farrow & Ball’s Dorset origins, taking its name from the many fossils found along the coast. Each of our colours has something you can relate to and we want our customers to connect to that.”

"Respect tradition but look forward and be creative."
- Magdalena Bieth, Business Development Manager for Farrow & Ball

Magdalena’s talk covered subjects including different ways to decorate a room, how light affects colour and how to highlight interior architecture such as moulding or panelling. She also talked the students through their extensive 132 strong paint colours, from neutrals grouped by their undertones to bright and intense blues and greens.

Second-year BA (Hons) Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern student Eliza Belle said: “I really enjoy and appreciate visiting lecturers and the presentation given by Magdalena from Farrow & Ball was no exception. In my own discipline, I focus a lot on sustainability and innovation for future practise, and I found Farrow & Ball's presentation really inspiring and eye-opening. I especially found the discussion on colour and how their colour direction is often inspired completely from nature really exciting. I can't wait to put into practise some of the things that I learnt, including putting colour palettes together and tips for decorating.”

Farrow & Ball's water based paints are low odour, eco friendly and safe for children and animals.

Magdalena said: “I would recommend any students who are thinking of getting into the interiors industry to be true to themselves. Have some self-awareness and allow your personality to shine through your portfolio. Demonstrate with your research that you’re going the extra mile to find out what clients want and where trends are heading. Respect tradition but look forward and be creative.

“Attitude plays a massive part too. We look for people who are helpful, respectful and supportive. If you have a good attitude and a robust work ethic, you’ll go far.”