Rebecca Isa, Creative Director of ZOYA Nail Polish, is standing in front of W Magazine in New York.

How ZOYA Nail Polish Creates New Colors

It’s been a year since I started working for ZOYA Nail Polish, and I still get excited about every new collection launch. So, to give you a glimpse into how ZOYA creates new colors, I interviewed our creative director, Rebecca Isa.

I wanted to ask Rebecca specifically how she gets inspired for making individual colors, but also how she organizes collections. I was surprised to learn that she creates colors with the scope of the entire year in mind, not just their corresponding season. She believes that together, each collection helps to tell that year’s unique color story. For Rebecca, color is not something you just turn on and off for the season. It’s a constant, moving pattern that she is able to just see in her head and bring to life with each collection.

The Color Story

“Think of each collection as chapters of a book,” Rebecca says. Each collection adds to a larger storyline of color. The transitional collection is your introduction. It contains elements from the previous year, but acts as a palate cleanser for the new story about to unfold. Next comes spring, which acts like the first chapter where you learn what the story will be about. Summer is the vibrant peak, where the main character goes through something exciting and adventurous. Then you have fall, which is the story’s resolution as the year starts to calm down. Lastly comes holiday, where you see a celebration of color and the close to the story. When color is thought about in this way, you can see that no color is made at random, as they all progress the story forward.

Maintaining Consistency

The storyline always follows a specific theme to be repeated throughout the collections. Variation occurs with the different shadings, textures, and finishes, but the general theme stays consistent. With each collection almost acting as a springboard for the next, that mood and theme is carried forward.

I asked how she determines what that theme will be, and she explained, “You have to look to see where you’ve been, and that tells you where you’re going. Color has a rhythm that it follows.” She explains that this color rhythm is partly intuitive, but it’s also logical in a way that can be seen when you look at the collections as a whole. I could see what she meant as she led me around her office with the varying color displays on the walls, demonstrating how each collection carries forward that rhythm. So while each year has to be predictive as to what trends may occur, it also has to follow a natural flow from each year to the next. Color always follows a pattern.

Making the Colors Wearable

Aside from continuing this flow, Rebecca noted the importance of making the color wearable on multiple skin tones. General color trends don’t always make sense as polish colors. So how does she make the colors wearable? She blends the pigments to ensure the color has just the right balance, vibrancy and dimension that she wants. The most challenging part of the process for her is finding that balance.  I asked her how she creates depth in polish, but that process is kept under lock and key: “That 3-D effect in our polish is what makes us ZOYA. I can’t give that part away, but what I will say is that there are endless ways to add dimension and create variety with our colors.”

After we have fun trying on the colors at the office, the colors undergo thorough testing by our carefully selected field group. 

“I choose colors that any given woman can wear. If the color only looks good on two of the women I tested the colors on, then guess what? I’m not going put that color in our collection,” she says. Once the colors go through proper testing and are approved for production, the naming process begins. Sometimes it can be difficult to capture that color’s feeling, but the right name always presents itself.

A Story of Humanity

Rebecca says her favorite part of the process comes at the end of the year. Once every collection is complete, she can see the full progression of where the year started and how the year ended in terms of color flow. She says that color stories fit the mood of humanity: “That color story is also a story of the year for people, for culture, for the world.”

Learning about the process surely makes you appreciate each color even more. Check out the latest chapter in our 2021 color story: Cosmic Pop!