Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Magic of Color!

When you are creating your designs - do you really stop and think about the colors you are using? Do you choose those colors 'because they go together' or do you think there is another meaning behind the them.

There is a science - a psychology - of color and how subconsciously it effects us. The choices of colors used by restaurants, on labels for groceries, on web sites, and even in your office were all carefully planned out to stimulate something in you to want that product, or to create a mood.

Color influences change from culture to culture, so I can only give examples of what I have found from studies done in the States

Black - Black can represent sophistication, elegance, mystery. Black can be overpowering and if used too much, can give a sinister feel. Black in clothing is seductive and thus will represent the same thing in many marketing materials even though it is only a mindful trigger and not a voiced one.

- White represents pure, purity, virgin, clean, youthful and mild. This is why white backgrounds work better than black backgrounds on a website. White has also been known to stimulate creativity - white boards, sheets of paper....

- Red creates excitement, displays strength, is used to express sex, passion, speed and danger. Use appropriately and it works extremely well. Red is a stimulant - which is why you see it often in fast food restaurants. You don't relax and hang around - you eat and get!

- When we think of green we associate with trees and grass. This brings up associations with nature, freshness, coolness. It also means growth and abundance. Money is green and we are automatically associating green with prosperity.

This is the most popular color. Why? Because it builds trust, reminds people of sky gazing/dreaming. Thus, builds trust, conveys reliability, a sense of belonging, refreshing and clean.

- Royal purple brings up pictures of royalty. Purple means spirituality and dignity as well. Maybe it means royalty because in nature the color purple is rare - like diamonds are rare and exquisite!

- We think of the sun and sunshine, its warmth, being cheerful and happy. Place it together with blue and thoughts of sitting on the beach or looking out over the ocean connect.

- Orange isn't used much in marketing. On a computer screen it looses its hue. When it is clearly visible that it is orange, it conveys playfulness, triggers child-like behavior -- great in workshops if you want to take people to that place, it also conveys warmth and vibrancy.

Just some food for thought - I will never look at color quite the same. How about you? How does color effect you?


  1. Trying to make myself use different colours in my designs. But somehow I always get drawn to green. Why I ask myself?

  2. This post is a keeper! My favorite color is blue which makes sense that I place importance on "trust" and truth! Have a good day!

  3. Great Post! I'm trying my hand at using orange - it's a color I am always drawn to but never seem to use much of it in my designs!

    Here's to a year of using more colors!