What is colour psychology?
The term colour psychology:
The study of colours in relation to human behaviour.
Colour appeal goes beyond visual. There are numerous studies that explore the effect of colours on human perception and behaviour. It’s known that each colour has the power to evoke different feelings and emotions – and, needless to say, marketing and advertising professionals have tapped into the potential this represents for companies for years. Researching and understanding the meanings and triggers behind colours is imperative for when creating a brand or any communication material.
Somewhere over the rainbow
In this blog post, we explore the colours of the rainbow, their specific meanings with suggestion of how you could implement it for your brand. Join us.
“ATTENTION!” is what springs to mind when we think of or see red… Red is bold, vibrant, ‘in your face’,
so it’s not a surprise that it induces feelings like excitement, passion, danger, energy, action and
impulse, as well as a variety of other strong emotions.
Many brands use red for action buttons, to indicate something they want their customers to do, for example SHOP NOW, ORDER NOW. However, the colour red needs to be used in a mindful way, as it could trigger feelings of anger or danger and have a negative impact to the brand.
What does yellow remind you of? The sun! Bright, positive, joyful.
That’s exactly what the colour yellow represents: happiness, positivity and optimism. Want to prompt these emotions within your audience? Then yellow is your colour.
Ferrari, one of the biggest brands globally have a splash of yellow in their logo, inducing the feeling of happiness that a Ferrari can give to the owner. Other companies, like IKEA, also use a splash of yellow in their brand. Like red however, yellow needs to be used with care, as it can also mean warning, and its overuse could slightly hinder on your joyful message.
Renowned as a feminine colour, we often see businesses whose audience is predominantly women use variations
of pink in their brand, such as Victoria’s Secret, Barbie and Cosmopolitan, to name just a few.
This colour evokes emotions such as playfulness, immaturity and unconditional love.
Having said that, watch this space...recent changes in political correctness could make the use/ definition of the colour pink expand from a ‘feminine’ connotation.
Nature is calling… The colour green is often associated with nature as well as money. Green has meanings of growth, fertility and health. This explains why brands related to nature or that have eco-friendly purposes use it in their brands, such as National Trust. Green is also associated with the positivity of ‘go’ and ‘proceed’ – most likely due to its famous use on traffic lights, you can notice that on exit signs too.
One of the richest colours on the spectrum, often associated with royalty, power, luxury as well as spirituality. It could, however, similar to yellow and red, have a negative meaning if overused, as it can also be related to arrogance. Ideal to include in brand guidelines, but for use on occasion.
Representing creativity, adventure, enthusiasm and success, orange adds a bit of fun to any brand as well as marketing campaigns (even if it isn’t in your brand colours). Similar to red, it can be a demanding colour, however in a lighter or complimentary way it can work wonders. Orange can be seen in many young brands, including Nickelodeon – and it is indeed a perfect match for their audience, portraying fun, creativity as well as enthusiasm.
The feeling of trust is often associated with the colour blue, which is a big reason why our NHS logo is printed on a calming blue. Overuse, however, can bring an unwanted negative association to your brand, as it can be seen as cold or emotionless. Combine it with a black background to get your message seen or white if you want to be less dramatic.
Goodness, innocence, cleanliness and humility are related to the white colour in certain parts of the world, however, in other locations, it can have a completely opposite association. It’s wise to keep this in mind in case your brand has a global audience reach. White is often used in marketing campaigns and not as a main brand colour for this reason.
Black typically symbolises mystery, power, elegance and sophistication. Extremely popular, black is often used in an element of the brands logo, such as Top Shop, Primark, Dior and Chanel to name just a few. Aiming for your brand to stand out? Bright background with bold black writing will be perfect for you.
Creating your brand
We hope this article has given you some insight into associations among different colours and feelings and how you can utilise its power for your brand. Having a strong brand with the correct colours will set you off on the right path, as well as having outstanding print. For all your printed materials from business cards to brochures, we’ve got you covered.
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