Ever wonder why you feel suddenly happy when you see the color yellow? Or feel love when you think of pink? Have you ever noticed that most food restaurants have red in their logo or a warm color scheme inside? WAIT, purple isn’t a color?? It’s called the psychology of colors, and you’re about to read more on it.
Colors, unknowingly to you, effect our everyday lives. Their different hues are naturally perceived in unique ways and trigger certain emotions. Having a favorite color could even explain some of your personality! Associating holidays and feelings with certain colors actually have a science behind them! They also play a big role in branding. The color of a company’s logo has a big first impression on consumers, and plays a key role in how they want their business to be perceived. Colors can be perceived differently depending on the reader’s age, gender, and where they live. So, marketers must understand who they want to target as an audience and how that audience will then judge their brand. Below, you’ll find more specific details about popular colors and their own personalities.
Red is most commonly known as being aggressive. It has the longest wavelength of all colors, that’s why it seems so much more substantial than others. Which also explains why it’s universally known as STOP! Running up close behind aggressive, it’s also commonly associated with Valentines day and ~love~. This pops first into your mind when paired with pinks and purples. Red raises your pulse and stimulates, which explains how it can make you feel lots of things. At the same time, it can be very friendly when paired with other colors like orange or yellow. You often see it paired with warm colors by food companies to increase a consumers appetite, think: Wawa, Boston Market, Sonics, any pizza place.
We have such a love-hate relationship with orange. It often comes off as obnoxious and headache-triggering. But, at the same time, it can draw us in with warmth and increase our appetites. Orange is often used to represent youth and signal kid-friendly environments, like Nickelodeon. It gives off enthusiasm, confidence, and is welcoming. Home Depot markets with it’s orange to make their big stores seems more homey, and their staff with their orange aprons more friendly.
Yellow is the color of the sun, so obviously, it stands for optimism, happiness, and warmth. Psychologically, this is the strongest color! McDonald’s notable M logo is a very smart branding move because 1) it’s huge, and 2) it’s yellow! This makes you take immediate notice to it, and lures customers in, even if they aren’t hungry. While it’s very effective at lifting our spirits, too much can be very negative. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by yellow, and can trigger anxiety.
Green is very overlooked when it comes to the color spectrum. It’s negatively associated with envy, blandness, and war. When used as certain tones though, it can come off as serene, natural, and glamorous. Workplaces try to incorporate it into their office designs because it is known to increase productivity and convey growth. The growth comes from the idea of green little buds popping up in spring, then growing quickly into big leaves that keep a tree alive.
Blue just seems to be a color that everyone can agree on. It’s often presented in a variety of different tones, from baby to navy! It can trigger many emotions depending on its tone. Baby blue is associates with baby boys, gentleness, and is soothing. You can go towards aqua blue, which can relax or excite you; or take you to a tropical vacation. Then we have deep, dark blue. This can be scary or make you feel small. Compared to red, blue mentally affects us rather than physically. Many brands use blue on their logos to come off as trustworthy and intelligent, like Facebook, IBM, and Samsung. You don’t see it on many food brand logos though because it’s known to curve appetite.
Glam and royalty says it all with purple. As early as the 15th century, nobility were the only people allowed to wear purple cloths. Its dye was so hard to make, that wearing purple showed signs of wealth and royalty. Today, thankfully, it is much easier to obtain. They say that purple fireworks are still expensive though, because the color is hard to get right in them. Magic and mystery are also commonly associated with purple. It can have a poignant tone and seem very dark. Purple is a mix of the primary colors blue and red, and doesn’t have its own wavelength, technically making it not a color. However, violet does have a wavelength at the bottom of the rainbow, making it an actual color. This is just one of multiple differences between these two commonly confused hues.
Interestingly enough, red happens to be the only color that has a tone known as a whole different color, pink. Blue, green, etc., are all known as “light blue” or “dark green”, but never classified as a separate hue. Just like red, pink effects us psychically, but in a less obvious way, soothing instead of stimulating. Pink is best known for baby girls and giving off that loving feeling. Bubblegum pink and hot pink can come off as obnoxious very easily, and baby pink can indicate easiness. But on the bright side, hot pink can be audacious and call attention to female power. Men can wear it too, and are often considered more manly if they pull it off, even though traditionally, it has the opposite effect.
What about all the colors used together, or a few as a color scheme? Using different hues together projects diversity and appeals to many people at once, no matter the gender or ethnicity. Used by Ebay, NBC, and most famously the Olympics! All of these brands are aiming to reach and represent a very wide audience. It makes them stand out from other logos, too.
While there is backing to the connection of colors and feelings, much of it is based off of observation and such. To truly understand what colors do, you must research and learn in depth the science behind color waves and the biology of the human mind.
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