Professionalism and Computer Color: What do YOU think?

A Red Sony VAIOA few months ago one of my friends was purchasing a new laptop. At first she wanted to get the red Sony VAIO, but decided against it because she felt it wasn’t as professional as a typical gray or black one. I was at Best Buy a few days ago looking at some of the newer styled laptops, and was surprised to see a variety of colors: white, off white, designed, pink, green, and red.

It got me thinking again- would the majority of potential employers or clients consider it “unprofessional” or “juvenile” if i showed up for a job with a pink or green or red laptop in hand?

I personally think that it makes you stand out a little more, and may even show that you have a fun and creative site in addition to being sleek and professional.

What do you think? Please let me know, and hopefully we can get a discussion going!


26 thoughts on “Professionalism and Computer Color: What do YOU think?

  1. Great question, Erica! I think that no matter who you’re working with, you have to be yourself. So, if a bright green or red laptop shows off part of who you are, then go for it! It can also serve as a conversation piece…better than talking about the weather!

  2. At many professional conferences I attend, I don’t see a ton of bright colors – but I see a lot of black, grey and white of Apple laptops. I’ve got a white Macbook and I think it stands out among the dark grey PC laptops out there.

  3. It seems to me that a lot would depend on what line of work you are in. For example, a distinctive splash of color on a laptop case could be a desirable attribute in your (e.g., Erica’s) area of endeavor which is creative & marketing & image oriented and by its very nature embraces a certain amount of irreverence. On the other hand, if you worked in a job which required projecting a more staid serious image to clients and among associates(investment banker, college development officer, funeral director, auditor, etc.) then —like clothing— basic grey or black suit with a white shirt is probably the safest way to go. Truth be told, in most cases I’m not sure it really matters one way or another so live it up ! Life is short.

  4. In the past, being flamboyant in the laptop game was likely done with the choice of carrying case color. New options to trumpet and bump it arise with VAIO.

    Caution is in order. The business world is pretty staid. You may have more moxie, but when you take your laptop on business calls, YOU represent your business, not you.

    We are now being calculated to less than 6 degrees of separation.
    You are filmed, polled, counted, digitalized, scoped online, and have a credit report that determines your car insurance rates and medical choices. Your eyeball is monitored by billboards to see where you look. They are photoshopping our brains and hearts out there. Hmmm.

    Along comes VAIO with more trepidation for us……colors.

    I recall taking a “colors” personality test long ago. It seems the world of psychobabble can determine if you are a particular personality, by the choice of colors you choose on the test.
    (1/2 hour test, similar to “what animal would you be and why, if you were an animal in the San Diego Zoo”….duh, penguin!….if you want the job, say “peacock”).

    Safety could be found in the likeability of blue/brown folks (yes, we have dominant and less dominant colors in our personality profile).
    Brown/blue is a lot of us too. Who woulda thunk it?

    The most dangerous choice was to end up with the test predicting you are “orange”. In our group, we had only ONE “orange” and the balance of folks lined up like a bell curve rating. The “normals” chose the right colors, while the whacked among us, leaned to the extremes.

    I dated the orange. She was a helluva lot of fun. She broke every rule in the book of human relations and was never dull. We are talking dynamic to the max,….. and a great laughter.

    Sadly, the psychobabble people did not approve of our relationship, as “orange” is destined to rebel. They just do not “fit in”. [Maybe not with corporate, but I have found otherwise].

    Even in the English language, there is no other word to even rhyme with orange. They are on their own.
    [Well, actually, nothing ryhmes with silver either, but do NOT let the psychobabble industry find out, or laptop envy will accrue to you.]

    The danger in this VAIO color scheming is the testing that will follow. Corporate America will glean the psychobabble information on YOUR color choice.
    Will you fit in with their culture with magenta?
    Are you lemon-lemon or yellow-yellow?
    Only your psychobabblist knows for sure. This VAIO in color could end up a dangerous choice for your career path.

    Color your hair; leave your VAIO alone.

    And if you ever, ever get a chance to date an orange, forget the job, forget your reputation, forget your future.
    Go have a marvelous date.
    They are fun from the get GO.
    You will laugh in new hues.
    Spontaneity will make you blush, click your heels, and run a thread of serendipity throughout your day and night.

    There are very few oranges among us. They will surely stymie corporate.

    But just between us, take the test, find out who ends up classified orange personality, loosen your tie, buy a bottle of Champagne, and set aside 16 gigs of memory to recall all the fun you will have with that orange!

    Google calls that color “sensational”! Danny Lucas agrees!
    Check it out:

    When we get off this color kick, I will return and tell you about VAIO and the Vista inside of it. Around the globe, it is known as the $1,800 headache from hell.

  5. My daughter has a bright pink laptop but its for personal use and school – I can’t see past a slick black number it just looks so much more professional.

  6. I think that “professionalism” is how one conducts business from day to day. It is not the color of their laptop or even their hair. We as a culture are way to focused on the external as ways to determine the inner person. I know I have been judged based upon my appearance many times, sometimes good and other times not so good. Either way i did not feel that it was right for a “professional” to do this.

    We need to instill a greater work ethic and higher ethical morale into everyday business. Need we forget the great Enron debacle or perhaps the great fuel shortages we are experiencing today.

    So no I do not think that the color of the laptop you are carrying around is a very important factor in determining professionalism.

    By the way who can give me a clear definition of professionalism at all?

  7. First, it depends on your industry. Even then, you’re better off with more conservative colors. It’s not about who you are, it’s about who your customer wants you to be. The color of your computer should be a non-issue, so don’t make it into one with a computer that screams who-knows-what to your clients.

  8. Depends and depends… If your work environment has some strict unwritten rules and you you want progress in that environment, you have to follow those laws and get the dark-blue laptop with you, leaving the Hello Kitty-branded at home. (or just be yourself and quit.)

  9. Okay, I have a black HP, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with the notebook displayed above. I guess if also depends on your company or co-workers? Personally, choose whatever color you like! Lastly, it’s not the color of your notebook that matters but the creditability and quality of both your production and word.

  10. I think that black / grey and as many say white are the ones to go with … Anything else will IMO might attract judgement … White is IMO even on the edge … just my opinion though πŸ˜‰


  11. I suppose it really matters about the business you’re in… My laptop is white but clients rarely, if ever, see that… I go to business meetings in jeans and a tee shirt….

    If you’re good at what you do you can pretty much do whatever you want πŸ™‚

  12. @wingnut – thanks that pretty much sums it up doesn’t it? If you are good then who cares what color your laptop is. Be good and people will overlook your “quirks” at least that is what I have found out in my short life here on planet Earth.

  13. It’s a laptop… why does it matter? I’d be more worried about an unprofessional background image or a cluttered desktop on the computer than the color of a laptop.

    As business becomes more and more personal and all about building relationships wouldn’t this help people better understand YOU?

  14. I guess it sort of depends on your industry. I wouldn’t want a hot pink laptop, but I could certainly go for a blue one. Black? Most everybody’s got that, it’s not a bad thing to stand out from the crowd now and then.

    I care much more about the image my professionalism and quality work say about me then to worry about the color of my computer.

  15. Hey Erica,

    I think if you’re in any sort of creative field like myself, in web design, it can’t hurt. For creatives like designers, developers, artists, freelancers, etc., custom skins and engraving are becoming the norm. Here are some pretty fun examples:

    If you’re going into investment banking, you might want to stick to black or grey… πŸ™‚

  16. There is a story about a sales meeting held at DEC and everyone was asking why IBM was always on top.
    Somebody raised a hand and said “…well we all dress in these tacky suits and the IBM guys all wear blue”, so a decision was agreed upon to have everyone wear navy blue.
    A year later the sales meeting at DEC was again held and the sales results seemed to be no better. The question turned to why, if they were all wearing blue and IBM was still on top. Somebody again raised a hand and said “…well yes, we are wearing the same color but the IBMers don’t wear polyester suits!”

  17. Windows XP goes off production as of June 30th, 2008 last I heard. The roar against that has been heard all the way to Seattle. Bill Gates recently decided to extend support to XP until the year 2014.

    VAIO comes equiped with Vista by Windows, instead of XP.
    Time is running out before your life is ruined.

    Vista has an encoding at the end, an “x”.
    So your file extensions end up looking like word.docx for example.
    That “X” trailer is designed to provide additional security per Microsoft. It must be good. When you send a typical resume and cover letter online (an all but mandatory procedure these days on any job), the information on you whizzes to the destination of your hoped for employer.

    If they have Vista, the info opens up.
    If they have prior Microsoft versions (which they ALL do), your resume and cover letter go into oblivion as they can not be opened up and read to make you a candidate.

    Most people then use another computer and send the 2 documents again using word.doc, instead of word.docx in Vista (VAIO). The employer company then notifies you that they have received an application, resume, cover letter from you previously and you cannot apply a second time. Now smack your forehead hard as it gets worse.

    They DID get the original; it just cannot be read.

    Companies are loathe to purchase corporate systems anew for the privelege of reading your resume. It goes into the can, and regular folks with old system software get your job.

    No matter how hard Gates tries to foist the disaster of Vista on Corporate America, they do not bite.
    [Windows 7 is being rushed to come out in 2009 because people refuse to play dumb again; this is another good reason to avoid Vista].

    Within Vista is a Word toolbar you have never seen, can not use, and pull hair out trying to figure the nuances of millions of things you do not need. Here is a tip.

    When you go to send your Word document over the Net, go to the top left corner of Vista and click the cute ball. A menu comes on that allows you to choose prior Windows versions like XP or Windows 2000. Choose a good one from days of yore.

    Immediately, your document is formatted to an OLD Windows version and sent out WITHOUT the super security of an “X” trailing along. This means, the receiver can actually open it up and read it since, in all liklihood, they too have no Vista.

    Imagine paying a huge premium to buy this lemon version of security, then, formatting your work to the security-free older version, and sending it. Is this dumb or what?

    I have been waiting for everybody to get off this color of laptop stuff, to tell you June 30th is your last call for XP folks. Pick a VAIO, but try to get it without Vista (an impossibility now).

    The camera feature is nice in VAIO. You can do interconference and muliple location interviews all dressed up above, and in your underwear at the kitchen table if you like. The interviewer folks are probably doing the same thing when you teleconference together.

    My mom died a month ago and there was a surrealness to being hooked up live to her room at my sister’s home in Oregon.
    Camera system…..GOOD.
    [I wonder if Google is staring at me via that camera, as I keyboard at times, tho.]

    The Wireless modum is a mess. Wait and get a laptop with a built in modem and you will not have to hook up a candy bar in black to the side of your laptop. Verizon puts out a goofy looking contraption to pick up a signal. New models eliminate all that.

    By the way, Verizon Wireless in Erie, PA at the Millcreek Mall will confirm to you that there is NO Broadband in Erie, PA and NO Intention of getting it.

    My VAIO worked like a charm for checking email all over the country until I tried it in Erie, PA. They said if I drive to Meadville, I might pick up Pittsburgh broadband on their system.
    It does not exist in Erie, PA so if you are a company that plans to locate anywhere in Erie and require high speed Internet access ala Broadband,…..tough.

    And now, back to our colorful discussion, that frankly, amazes me! πŸ™‚

  18. In the same way that the original Windows XP color scheme makes your PC look like a Fisher-Price toy, having a fluffy pink laptop with orange spots would be perceived as not quite a professional machine.

  19. Thanks everyone for all of your opinions. My personal opinion is to express yourself- use whatever computer will make you feel good every time you open it up- whether that be a pink spot to rest your hands or a red silvery color. Staring at a color for a long time can change your mood- red will make you seem alert. After all, YOU are the one that’s going to be using this computer every day, not your client. It’s yours, not theirs.

    However, be careful, take sciencebase’s advice and avoid a “fluffy pink laptop with orange spots.” If you want some color in your life, settle for a solid color. And if you want Pink, settle for a pastel pink instead of a hot pink (think Elle from legally blonde!).

    As for the Vista comment from Danny- I agree. Vista is no fun to adapt to. But the “x” problem at the end of all microsoft office files i’ve been dealing with ever since Microsoft Office 2007. If you don’t have 2007, download the converter package so you can easily read anything somebody sends you from Office 2007. And if you’re sending something out to somebody, save as, and save it in the Word 97-2003 format.

    I don’t like Vista- it downloaded a bad driver on purpose from Windows Updates and crashed my computer– but it’s getting better, and I’m getting used to it. Sure it takes more memory to run, which eats up the available memory I have to run my huge applications, but just disable some of the features that automatically run (the widgets) if you don’t need them/ want them / need more memory, and you’ll be okay.

    We must adapt, right Danny? Thanks for your comment, and everyone else’s! Please continue to post your opinions, I would like to do a follow up posts with the results of others’ opinions (which means a link for you and the summary of this little poll!) Thanks everyone!

  20. If we want to stand tall like an elegant crane amongst the chuckling chicken, we have to been seen and heard above the din.

    Folks in the creative industry probably can get away with pink lappy with orange pokka dots. πŸ™‚

  21. I think it really depends on who you are asking. Relating to your recent post about Gen Y I think that it wouldn’t matter for that generation and for most of us we would embrace different colors as being creative or cool. While older generations like a Gen X and before may look down on it a little more.

    I think you can ask the same question with something like shirts that men wear in the office. Past generations have always been white shirt with blue/black tie. Today brighter colors like green, yellow and pink are being worn. Do some people view those colors as being less professional?

  22. I think introducing a pink Vaio is the best move that Sony has ever made since it started producing electronics. Pink is a color universal to all girls, transcending culture, race and religion. No wonder it’s such a best seller among ladies. – Tanya Bayo

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