How does color affect human emotions? The history of Color Psychology dates back thousands of years and the meaning of one color varies from culture to culture. Color can be used to communicate danger, peace, liberty, death, love – even environmentalism.
How can we capitalize on the different feelings and emotions of our targeted consumer in this fast-paced world? With color. By using various color palettes, we can quickly tap in to their emotional response to get and keep their attention. Once engaged we can deliver our message, creating a response that will be remembered.
As marketers, we can use the latest color psychology in all aspects of marketing, particularly in logo design, web site design, book covers, and product packaging. To be successful, one needs a basic understanding of how we can use colors together in design and packaging. Color psychology is complicated, but there are two basic types of color – warm or cool. Warm colors – red, yellow, and orange can spark a variety of emotions ranging from comfort and warmth to hostility and anger. Cool colors, such as green, blue, and purple – often spark a feeling of calm, reflection, and sadness.
If different colors mean different things, what entices a consumer to feel a certain way and then purchase a certain item? If we are creating a website for a company that specializes in selling lifestyle products for their home or garden, we’ll use blues to convey calm and green to communicate nature and relaxation. For a trendy, upbeat eatery, bold colors such reds and oranges communicate energy and confidence – the perfect place for a fabulous meal on a special night. If part of our advertisement includes a call to action, we would use bold red. Think of your last glance at a newspaper with all the ads with large letters in red screaming “SALE TODAY” – you looked at it, didn’t you? That’s what color can accomplish, quickly and easily.
As you dig deeper, consider the current color palette used by your company. Does it communicate that you are innovative or traditional, trendy or conservative? Any of these are fine if that’s your brand message. If not, you probably need to update your look.
A great example of infusing a bit of design and color to bring a company into the new millennium is Holland’s work with Business Information Solutions. They had a recognizable logo, probably because it had been in use for more than 30 years. As a document management company encouraging customers to go “paper less” with electronic storage, they were already a “green” company, but that wasn’t being communicated with their old logo. By simply adding a few crisp, green lines to their logo and topping off the letter “I” with a little green leaf, they quickly reinvented themselves. By adding the leaf and the green, they identified themselves as a green company, and positioned themselves for the new millennium.
This fall’s Pantone colors are bright, fun, and challenge the design industry. Take Tangerine Tango, a spirited reddish-orange, and the energy and vibrancy it communicates. This new color palate reflects our need to recharge and fast-forward our economy – to infuse our ideas with energy. By using bright, vibrant colors, there is a sense of urgency – a sense of getting things done.
So, how does Pantone decide which colors will be big this season? They look for influences in various industries, trend forecasting, and some psychology to understand what’s resonating. Colors are chosen from the world around us with inspiration from nature, experiences, or from any number of worldly objects. These colors are likely to appear on the catwalk, in paint colors, paper products, greeting cards and then in corporate logos, advertisements and as templates for websites. Once a color takes hold, you’ll never know where it’s going to turn up, but you can be fairly sure it will resonate with your intended audience.
Find out more about how Holland’s design experts can put color to work for you. Call Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001 or email him at BHolland@hollandadvertising.com
About.com – Color Psychology