Whether it is learned or biologically innate it is undeniable that color exerts a certain feeling and automatic influence. The psychology of color has been a popular topic of investigation for decades, particularly with the rise of commercial advertising since the 1950’s and more recently the growth in digital and web design and the multitude of hues available.
Color psychology attempts to determine the effect of color on perception and behavior. It is evident that color can indeed influence, however the effect may not be specific and can greatly differ between people depending on many factors such as gender, age and culture and in relation to its context as well.
While specific interpretation is ultimately individual there are still some general meanings and feelings associated with different colors;
Red – love, excitement, warmth, aggression
Yellow – happiness, optimism, creativity, anxiety
Green – harmony, balance, nature, stagnation
Blue – serenity, calmness, peace, trust
Purple – vision, authenticity, imagination
Black – mystery, sophistication, oppression
White – purity, clarity, simplicity
Check out the image below to see how color influences the emotional perception of many of the world’s most well-known brands;
When choosing the colors to represent your brand it is important to determine your target audience and the personality you are channeling. Trying to understand the factors that are important to your target market and which flavor their perception will help you to choose an appropriate color and expression that is perceived as it is intended.
We also look at other color theories to increase the effectiveness and conversion of marketing communication. Such as achieving harmony in a design through color selection rules, and controlling attention through high contrast. Contrast is vital in this overly saturated world. It allows us to establish a hierarchy of importance and distinguish one object from another to draw people to certain areas of a page and communicate a clear and concise message.
There are many considerations when choosing a colour for your branding, marketing material or online presence. Color psychology gives us a good general guide to picking a color close to the values you wish to express and other colour theories help to create visually arresting, effective and beautiful communication.