Color Psychology

Color plays an important role in our lives whether we realize it or not. It has the ability to influence our feelings and emotions in a way that few other mediums can. It can control our moods and thoughts. Color has the ability to make us feel happy, depressed, excited, relaxed, hungry, and creative.

Colors have deep subliminal meanings that affect our thinking and rationale. As a result of this, color research and planning is a vital part of the design process. Before beginning a design or marketing campaign, you must choose the appropriate colors that are both effective to your message and also complement each other.

There are many different technical aspects when it comes to working with colors. In the print world Pantone and CMYK are the color formats, while online RGB and Hexadecimal are the formats. It is important that both web and print designers work closely on the color process to ensure colors transfer smoothly across mediums. A color may look one way on a particular screen but when printed looks totally different. It is important to come up with a color palette listing all different color codes to ensure a unified color scheme through print and web.

How do Colors Influence People?

Red – Creates a sense of urgency, which is good for clearance sales. Encourages appetite, thus is frequently used by fast-food chains. Physically stimulates the body, raising blood pressure and heart rate, associated with movement, excitement, and passion.

Blue – The preferred color of men. It’s associated with peace, water, tranquility, and reliability. Blue provides a sense of security, curbs appetite, and stimulates productivity. The most common color used by conservative brands looking to promote trust in their products.

Green – Associated with health, tranquility, power, and nature. Used in stores to relax customers and for promoting environmental issues. Green stimulates harmony in your brain and encourages a balance leading to decisiveness.

Purple – Commonly associated with royalty, wisdom, and respect. Stimulates problem solving as well as creativity. Frequently used to promote beauty and anti-aging products.

Orange & Yellow – Cheerful colors that promote optimism. Yellow can make babies cry, while orange can trigger a sense of caution. Used to create a sense of anxiety that can draw in impulsive buyers and window shoppers.

Black – Associated with authority, power, stability, and strength. Often a symbol of intelligence, but can become overwhelming if used to frequently.

Grey – Symbolizes feelings of practicality, old age, and solidarity. But too much grey can lead to feelings of nothingness and depression.

White – Associated with feelings of purity, cleanliness and safety. Can be used to project an absence of color or neutrality. White space helps spark creativity since it can be perceived as an unaltered, clean state.

How Are Major Brands Using Colors?

McDonald’s chooses high-energy colors like red and yellow, which appeal to children, kindle appetites, and create a sense of urgency. Micky D’s might not have been the same ridiculously big chain it is today without using red and yellow so effectively.

Starbucks on the other hand uses green as their primary color to promote a sense of relaxation in their cafes, inviting customers to come in for a coffee break during a stressful day.

How are you incorporating color into your branding and marketing efforts?


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