Colour psychology in design


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Colours in design have a highly influencing effect on your brand and your mind. There are distinctive attributes and feelings associated with colours that need to be channelized in the right direction while designing. The influences of colour psychology in branding and marketing are responsible for attracting the right audience and bringing in enough customers. Therefore, before deciding upon the brand colour a substantial amount of colour psychology research needs to be conducted. The essence of colours on consumer behaviour can make or break a brand. The appropriate choice of colours not only sends out the right message to the public but colours evoke emotions through the tones and shades.


Choosing the Right hues


The effect of various colours on human moods and behaviour is what defines colour psychology. This is valid for all facets of human conduct and nature, but it generally applies to the interaction with brand and marketing. Whether it’s the psychological effects of the colours in advertising or it’s the colour psychology of logo design or it’s choosing the brand colours- colours always influence customers. Even though there are standard colour psychology charts, the psychology of colours differs from person to person.


For example - Red can be a sign of anger and anxiety issues in some and romanticism in others. Similarly, Yellow can be a sign of caution as well as a sign of warmth and happiness. Every colour has a different meaning and you will indulge in a whole new emotional experience whenever you come across any colour.


The importance of the psychology of colours can be a prized possession for designers and entrepreneurs when selecting brand colours. Choosing the right hues means your consumers will instantly know about your brand attributes, brand personality and your target consumers. The incorrect colours can distance them.


The colour psychology of branding depends on the choice of colour palette that will showcase the feelings that the customer wants to feel when they interact with the brand. For instance, Coca-cola, H&M and Netflix always uses red for all logos and branding whereas companies like Facebook, Intel and HP uses blue to depict their logos. This is because all these companies have their personalised messages to convey through branding colours.


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Consumer’s Call


When a consumer explores a variety of products, services or brands, and eventually decides to select one, it is either done in a conscious or an unconscious manner. On one hand, some decisions can be compared and consciously made like the technicalities or the price. On the other hand, there are unconscious decisions like the ones made by our brain through visualisation. In such cases, colour plays an essential role, not just in the selection of a product or service, but even in regular life. Just, for instance, a road sign in red will generally indicate danger or to stop and convey a serious message. In the case of ambulance or hospital signage too, red symbolises emergency or demands attention. Therefore, since time immemorial red has been connected to caution, urgency or something serious. As a result, we are psychologically connected to the colour in this manner. This shows that how just one colour if utilized in a smart way, can evoke different emotions.


Colours and Emotions


Every colour has its own unique set of attributes to invoke a certain emotion or impression among the spectators. Here are the standard sets of contrasting moods and psychologies of each colour.

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1. Colour Psychology of Red


Red exhibits emergency, excitement, anxiety, agitation, energy, passion, anger and increasing appetites. It represents emergency signals, stop signs and signage for attention and staying alert. On a positive side, Red stands for charisma, power, love, passion, energy, youthfulness, strength and enthusiasm.


2. Colour Psychology of Orange


If your brand colour is any shade of orange, it resembles playful and friendly nature, invigorates warmth, instils energy, and shows confidence, bravery or something innovative. After all, it’s a creation of the two primary colours of red and yellow. Thus, it will have a balance of attributes of both of them. The negative aspect of orange includes frustration, ignorance and immaturity.


3. Colour Psychology of Yellow


If you are using yellow as the brand colour for marketing, then it exudes cheerfulness, warmth, optimistic nature, friendly and loving attitude, youthful traits, happiness, creativity and enlightenment. On a darker note, yellow represents caution, anxiety, fearful nature, cowardice, betrayal, egoism, and craziness.


4. Colour Psychology of Green


If considered as a positive colour, Green is an all-rounder and is known for its versatile nature. It has strong cultural linkages. It’s associated with nature, upbringing, growth, re-birth as well as wealth and prosperity. Therefore, brands from both the gardening and finance sectors can be benefitted. Certain tones of green will have a fun frolic and playful touch to them. It also represents good health, hope, good nature and behaviour, positive growth and freshness. On a spiritual level, it means vitality and peace. The negative aspects include jealousy, sickness and boredom.


5. Colour Psychology of Blue


Blue is the most commonly seen colour in all brand logos especially the tech companies. The only reason is it represents security, loyalty, dependability, wisdom, faith, logic, intelligence, trustworthiness, seriousness and steadiness. It is also related to open spaces, freedom, intuition, imagination, inspiration, and sensitivity. The lighter shades of blue are related to calmness, peace, serenity and tranquillity. The negative meaning of blue can be coldness, emotionless and uncaring.


6. Colour Psychology of Purple


If you are wondering to make purple your brand colour, then it’s a perfect combination of cool and warm tones. The charisma of red is mixed with the calmness of blue. It represents royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. The Pretty Purple shade also symbolises wealth, extravagance, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, creativity, rich, royalty, grandeur, magic, freedom, wisdom and dignity. It also hints at feminity in some cases and thus stands for Sophistication and Royalty. On the negative side, it can stand for introversion and moody nature.


7. Colour Psychology of Pink


Pink exhibits good health, innocence, cheerfulness, romance and femininity, youth, and playfulness. It is immensely versatile. From candy pink to magenta pink to fuchsia- every shade of pink invokes a feeling of modernity and luxury. It's the shade of romance and femininity. It stands for Imagination, passion, transformation, balance and creativity. The dark sides of pink include outrageousness and being impulsive.


8. Colour Psychology of Brown


On a positive note, it stands for masculinity, seriousness or being earthy, reliable, authentic, original and supportive. On a negative note, it can denote being humourless, dirty and gloomy.


9. Colour Psychology of Black


It’s one of the best sleek and classic colours. Its not only contemporary and luxurious but has a timeless feel to it. Sophistication, power, security and authority are denoted by black. But it can also denote oppression and cold nature.


10. Colour Psychology of White


White shows peace and innocence. Some of the positive feelings that white can convey are cleanliness, freshness, chastity and purity. White symbolizes a blank slate or a new beginning. White can also make you feel cold, blank and isolated.


Therefore, an array of shades and tones of different colours can exude varying emotions and feelings. It all depends on how it is being utilised in the design and how the audience perceives it.


To conclude the psychology of colours, choosing the right colours for your brand can influence the way people perceive and feel about your products and services, so researching and understanding this area of design can help convey the right message.

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