One of a handful of people with a PhD that investigated the interface between colour and human response (University of Sydney, Faculty of Architecture, Design & Planning), I established Design Research Associates in 2006.
A designer by training, I am an evidence-based color design consultant (Design Research Associates). I provide insight, validation and colour strategies for design, the built environment, branding and advertising. Projects include strategies to improve environmental visual literacy for healthcare and aged care projects; colour strategies for the urban and built environment; data visualization; branding, logo design, product and packaging design.
Clients include Aevum Limited, Art Gallery of NSW, Arts Health Institute, Arvida Group (NZ), Auckland District Health Board, Auckland City Hospital, Bupa (NZ), Deicke Richards Architects (Brisbane), Dept. of Public Works, Greene King (UK), Haugstad Møbel (Norway), ING Communities, Klein Architects (Auckland), Mirvac, New Zealand Health Design Council, Norna AI (Sweden), North Sydney Council, Porter Novelli, Oslo Planning Dept. (Norway), Suncorp Bank, Taylor Fry, and numerous private clients.
As an adjunct lecturer, I have developed and taught eight TEQSA-compliant tertiary education courses:
- Designing with Colour I, Designing with Colour II & Effective Visual Communications Design – University of Sydney (Faculty of Architecture, Design & Planning), 2010-2015.
- Applied Colour (Interior Design) & Advanced Colour (Built Environment) – Sydney Design School, 2016-2018.
- Theories of Colour – University of NSW (Faculty of Art + Design, formerly COFA), 2007-2016.
- Design Perspectives and Applications & Art/Design Evolution – Wentworth Institute, Sydney, 2012-2015.
- Course advisory committee member, Academic Board, Wentworth Institute (2011) and tutor at University of NSW for Design History, Theory and Aesthetics I, II & III (2007-2009).
In addition, I have developed and delivered multiple short courses and workshops including:
- Effective colour for Healthcare, Aged Care and Dementia Care – Australian Aged Care Industry Association, 2021-2023.
- Specified Colour vs. Perceived Colour, Colour for Architecture &Colour for Engagement, Orientation and Wayfinding – Resene, Australia & New Zealand, 2016-2023.
- Colour Fundamentals, Colour Psychology, Colour Apps and Tools & Visual Communications Design – Design Research Associates + Orana College, Sydney, 2018-2023.
As an independent researcher on color design, I have published 75+ peer-reviewed books, book chapters, academic articles and conference papers, and delivered numerous public talks, 2003-2023. In 2017, I won the Resene Colour Maestro Prize and won three Research prizes (University of Sydney). You can check out my full list of publications here or at Academia.edu profile (currently listed in the top 5%).
An individual member of the AIC (International Colour Association) 2009-2022; Environmental Design Research Association (emeritus); Inter-Society Color Council (USA); Design Institute of Australia; CAC member of the Sydney Harbour Trust (2007-2017), and Foundation Member of the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2001-2022).
In my spare time, I established 2120 Music with the aim of contributing in a positive way to the music community by supporting singer-songwriters and since 2019, we’ve held over 50 events featuring 40 artists. Social media: @2120music @color.design.resources & Pinterest
PhD – University of Sydney (Faculty of Architecture, Design & Planning) – link to thesis at USYD
Master’s Degree in Design, University of Technology Sydney
Bachelor of Business Degree (Major in Marketing), University of Technology Sydney
Graduate Diploma in Design, University of Technology Sydney (formerly Sydney College of the Arts)
Shillito Design School, Sydney.
© Zena O’Connor, Rushcutters Bay – https://zenaoconnor.com/