Colour Makes People Happy

Colour Makes People Happy
Simon March is a famous shopkeeper who creates and sells colour. One dark and gloomy day last year, we sat down to make a colour together for Cubitts. The result, a shade we’ve christened ‘A preoccupation with possessions’.

Hear from the man himself as he sits down with Cubitts founder Tom Broughton. Plus, keep your bespectacled eyes peeled as our new colour pops up in different places as the year progresses.

TB: Why does colour matter?

SM: It both does not matter and actually depends on matter. It doesn't exist, it is a function of the method by which it's examined, it's not intrinsic. It's an interesting intersection between what I do and what Cubitts does, It's not that important but it is fun to mess about with. I deal in subtractive colour and you deal in additive colours...

TB: What's the most overrated colour?

SM: White with all its loaded purity yuk.

TB: We've named our Cubitts colour: a preoccupation with possessions'. Tell us about how you came to that name?

SM: Always randomly it could have been blue or green, but it will take on a meaning over time Anyway it's ironic, naming is irrelevant, it takes on a sense after its denotation. A kind of pataphysical magic. Scarlet is a good example of this, its etymology is from something bright and decorated'. It's not red specifically, but it has adopted a broadly fixed meaning by its continual use. Orange is another good example and now a preoccupation with possessions.

TB: You create colours for a living. What’s the one thing people should know about it?

SM: They should understand Metamerism, as colour is quite literally nebulas it can’t be pinned down. That’s what makes it enigmatic. But it’s the pseudo colour specialist people I hate more than anything; “inferior designers” … They spend hours umming and aahing and justifying why this should be this colour or that hue, when in reality, it will never look as you imagine it anyway. At 9am it will look completely different to 3pm. I wonder why people bother scrutinizing them that closely. In any case it’s more important to pick a neighbouring colour . As one colour is never seen in isolation. Two colours can tell a story but one not so well.

TB: Do you associate people with colours?

SM: Probably, but no more than I would associate people with shapes or textures. I would certainly describe people using color references though. Our language uses colour references so frequently it's difficult not to describe someone without some kind of colour association. Try to find a song without a description using colour, It's amazing how frequently it occurs

TB: Does colour make you happy?

SM: It's like saying does oxygen make me happy? It's everywhere. I suspect when this question is asked what is really meant is; do bright, distinct colours make you happy. No one ever says yea mushy grey brown makes me happy. It's normal, yes I simply adore purple. I could eat it. Eew. For me tropical fish, budgies, chrysanthemums, the Alps, the flag of Luxembourg and petrol in a puddle makes me happy, so I guess yes colour makes me happy - I suspect I seem a little jaded' (not a colour but a horse).

You can find Simon at

Matt and Tom also discuss machines to live in, skull door knobs, toy cars, and toothbrushes.

The full episode is available on Spotify, Amazon, Apple and Acast.

Tom will not always be dressed as the guest.