Our people are the heart of PPG and responsible for the continuous production of revolutionary products. In this series, we want you to meet the innovators behind PPG's Industrial Coatings business.
Karen Tyng Cowell, our APAC marketing communications manager, joined PPG's Industrial Coatings business in March 2019 after PPG's acquisition of Whitford Worldwide..
This interview was conducted to celebrate the PPG 2021 Palette of the Year announcement.
People say you have one of the coolest jobs at the company. Your thoughts?
It certainly is, as we are privy to the latest color trends that come straight out of the oven. At PPG, I have been chiefly involved with the creation of the annual nonstick coatings color palette. It is exciting to see first-hand how a color on paper gets translated to a nonstick coating on metal, with sheen and metallic effect.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
Being able to run with my creativity. Most people fear change, however, for marketing communicators, change is an avenue for us to bring forth a new, creative idea.
PPG's recent release of the 2021 primary color palette has almost a similar role to that of comfort food – what are your favorite comfort foods?
My favorite would have to be Laksa, a spicy noodle dish from Singapore.
What is your favorite color as a child and how has that transformed as an adult?
It's always been pink, although my preferred shade of pink has shifted from baby pink to dusty pink. I like to think of the shade progression from pale to dull as a sign of sophistication rather than of age.
There are so many colors that their names have to be really creative. How are colors named?
You should be able to feel a color. Colors have resonances to places, objects or emotions. So, a good color name should be able to evoke the color in one's mind. For example, Chinese Porcelain (PPG1160-6), Misty Aqua (PPG1147-3) and Buttercup (53YY 83/348) do that.
Tell us about a situation that first caused you to realize color elicited emotion.
When my first puppy, a Bichon Frise, came home, she was wearing a carmine red collar. Since then, red equates with happiness and loyalty for me.
How have the colors you've worked with translated into your own life?
In my previous life in textile coloration, I was involved in product management and marketing of the indigo dye that gives denim its unique color and wash properties. My favorite fashion item is jeans and I own more than 40 pairs.
What do you do for enjoyment outside of the work environment?
I love to bake and cook, especially for parties. Being able to bake and cook with colorful bakeware and cookware adds a different dimension of happiness. For one thing, they double up as attractive serving dishes, which means less washing up.