Colour Psychology

Written by Neitya Pathania, The Young Vision Ambassador (Since 2017), GEMS Our Own English High School, Dubai &ea Marwaha,The Young Vision Ambassador (Since Mar 2019),Delhi Private School- Dubai and Subah Bhatia, The Young Vision Ambassador (Since Sep 2018),Delhi Private School - Dubai & Arthi Anbalagan Pandian ,The Young Vision Ambassador (Since Mar 2019), New Indian Model School – Dubai.

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Imagine living in a world with no colour; it would be like living in a black and white movie, which is not as cool as it seems. Colour makes the world look beautiful and interesting to live in.

But did you know these colours can have a meaning, emotion or feelings in different contexts? So here we present the different meanings and expressions a colour can have in different contexts…

Arthi

Open your eyes, and everything around you is radiating with colour — blue, red, yellow, green — the list never ends. We’re engulfed in colour.

Some brands are so iconic that it is possible to identify them from just a single pantone colour without an accompanying logo. Others, including Cadbury, Barbie and UPS, have even gone so far as to trademark their defining shades. So why do brands place such importance on colour and what impact does it have on the way consumers perceive them?

RED:

Let’s start with an obvious example: the fast food giant McDonald’s. Its logo is one of the most recognised in the world and its striking red backdrop dominates its branding. This signature red appears on their signage, the walls of their restaurants and even Ronald McDonald himself.

It is widely claimed that red is the most appetising colour in the spectrum. Reasons for this vary from its ability to increase your heart rate, to simply an overexposure, to coincidentally red food marketing campaigns over time.

Either way, you’d be hard pressed to find a fast food outlet that is not dominated by a shade of red as part of its brand strategy.

PURPLE:

Purple, particularly in deep or vibrant tones, has been a common denotation of royalty and luxury for centuries. The alleged reason for this? The original price of purple dye being too costly for all but the very wealthy to afford.

It’s a go-to if you’re looking to portray your brand as creative, imaginative, or wise (food and entertainment innovators Taco Bell and Syfy Network). It can also be a soothing, emotional colour, which is why greeting card brand Hallmark uses it in their primary logo and branding in over 40,000 stores worldwide.

GREEN:

Green reminds many people of the recycling logo, which makes it perfect for any brand that advertises itself as eco-friendly or organic.

All these things explain why green shows up in the logos of brands like Whole Foods, Land Rover, and Starbucks. Each one of the brands works to make sure consumers feel like they’re buying into something to maintain their health, let them live freely, or get them outdoors.

Whilst your daily skinny-triple-shot-decaf caramel macchiato can hardly be categorised as healthy, what’s more relaxing than starting your day with a coffee in your favourite squashy armchair at your local Starbucks? The cool green of their logo signifies just that: it is rich, welcoming and intense, everything they want you to believe their coffee is.

BLUE:

Dark, rich blue has been heavily adopted by technology and motoring brands to signify intelligence, confidence and reliability. Commonly associated with corporatism, it is unsurprising that some of the biggest names in these sectors have chosen the colour to forefront their identities.

This makes sense when you consider the central role it plays in the identities of big brands like Facebook, Wal-Mart, etc. Several industries are dominated by this cool hue, including the tech, finance, and lifestyle spaces. Consumers trust these brands to handle various pieces of their everyday lives, from doing laundry to chatting with friends to saving for retirement, and that’s why these brands choose blue: to make consumers feel safe in their hands as they continue to innovate and grow their businesses.

Neitya

THE EFFECT OF COLOUR ON OUR EMOTIONS

As human beings, we all have certain emotions or expressions associated with everything…whether it’s your favourite book or pen or something else, you certainly have an emotion attached to it….but did you know we also have emotion associated with colour?

A person can associate any feeling with a certain colour, according to his or her experiences or past linked with it. For instance, when a person has a good memory or experience linked to a colour, he or she may tend to have a different perception of the colour. On the other hand, if a person has a negative memory or experience linked to a colour, he or she may tend to have negative emotion toward the colour.

Although emotions associated with colours are subjective, t is still possible to predict the emotion associated with colours through universal human experiences.

EFFECT OF COLOUR ON OUR PERFORMANCE

As well as our emotions, colour can also affect our performance!

Shocked? Well, even I was, but it is true. Colours can also affect the ways we perform or attend to a task.

For example, according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, when participants were given a red participant number (rather than green or black), they performed 20% worse on tests than their peers. That’s a significant difference and one that can be used to influence user experience.

That doesn’t mean red will always hinder performance. In a study of athletic performance, red uniforms appear to give an advantage. During the 2004 Olympics, athletes competing in four different sports (Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, boxing, and taekwondo) were randomly given either blue or red uniforms or protective gear. The red-clad athletes won in 19 of the 29 weight classes. And similar studies among soccer matches showed a similar advantage to the teams wearing red uniforms.

MEANING OF COLOURS

As mentioned previously, colours can have emotions or expression linked to them…these emotions can be subjective. However we can still predict them.

So here are the emotions or expressions linked to their respective colours and categories:

Warm Colours

The colours in this category are generally energetic and active, with relatively positive connotations. The colours in the category embrace the shades of red, orange, and yellow.

Red:

Red is a colour associated with positive emotion/expressions like love, passion, lust, etc. as well as negative emotion/expression like warnings, danger, anger, etc.

Orange:

Orange is a colour associated with positivity and energy. It can also sometimes be associated with warning, though less strongly than red.

Yellow:

Yellow is a colour that is associated with hope and is considered the happiest hue or colour. However, it is also associated with caution and cowardice.

Cool Colours

The colours in this category are more relaxing and calming than warm colours, but they their properties differ from each other. The colours in the category embrace the shades of blue, green, and purple.

Blue:

Blue is a colour associated with expressions such as honesty, loyalty, peace and even spirituality. However, it may be associated with expressions like loss or sadness depending on the context or situation.

Green:

The colour green signifies a new beginning or growth. It not only contains a few properties of blue and yellow but also signifies money, affluence and stability.

Purple:

Purple is a colour associated with royalty and luxury. However, it is also associated with mystery and the occult.

Neutrals

Neutral colours can be used to reinforce the influences, as well as take on the characteristics, of other colours in a palette.  These include colours like black, white, grey, brown and beige.

Black:

Black is a colour that represents expression or emotion of elegance and sophistication. While on the other hand, it also represents death and mourning.

White:

White represents expressions such as purity and innocence, and cleanliness. However, in some cultures it can also be associated with death.

Grey:

The colour grey represents expressions such as sophistication and power, but in a limited context.

Brown:

Brown is a colour that is dependable and solid, and is associated with nature depending on the context.

Beige:

Beige can take on the warmth of brown or the coolness of white. It takes on the meaning of the colours around it and often fades into the background, adding little psychological influence on its own.

CULTURECOLOURS BY CULTURE
ORANGEBROWNYELLOWGREENBLUEPURPLEREDBLACK
Western

Culture

 

Warmth

Harvest

Affordable

Practicality

Comfort

Stability

Happiness

Joy

Caution

Luck

Jealousy

Greed

Depression

Trust

Calm

Royalty

Spirituality

Wealth

Love

Danger

Action

Intimidation

Death

Mourning

Far Eastern

Culture

Happiness

Spirituality

Adaptability

Earth

Industrious

Mourning

Masculinity

Sacred

Royalty

Fertility

Hope

Life

Feminine

Healing

Relaxation

Wealth

Privilege

Spirituality

Prosperity

Good Fortune

Vitality

Health

Prosperity

Stability

Indian

Culture

Sacred

Courage

Love

MourningSacred

Auspicious

 

Hope

Harvest

Virtue

Sports

Strength

 

Sorrow

Comfort

Nobility

Beauty

Wealth

Power

Evil

Darkness

Negativity

Middle

Eastern

Culture

Mourning

Loss

Harmony

Earth

Comfort

Happiness

Prosperity

Mourning

Strength

Fertility

Hope

Mourning

Heaven

Spirituality

Wealth

Virtue

Royalty

Danger

Caution

Evil

Mystery

Mourning

Rebirth

 

Subtle Changes Have a Huge Impact

Even the smallest change in the colour can make a big difference. For example, the shade of blue; while bright blue can be modern and energetic, navy blue is considered loyal and traditional and light blue can be calming and peaceful. They all are shades of blue but the amount of saturation can make a lot of difference in the meaning of the colour…

Rea

Luscher Colour Test: Select one of these colours and find out who you really are!

 Your qualities are

  • You wish to remain free of obligations.
  • You only mechanically and artificially attend in social contexts
  • You are indecisive, quiet and reserved
  • You can also be dependable and practical
  • Grey is completely compensating, which arises from the anxiety that comes from rejected colours

Your qualities are

  • You crave peace, harmony and contentment
  • You prefer to have an ethical attitude towards life and people often find it quite easy to trust you
  • You ensure you take your responsibilities seriously
  • You either come off as moody and over emotional or cool and indifferent
  • You believe that after a busy day, it is necessary to relax and unwind in order to recharge

Your qualities are

  • You strive to be well recognised and aim for great wealth and intellect
  • You are compassionate and faithful
  • You are quite resistant to change and like to have control over situations
  • You are a good listener and your presence can often be quite comforting
  • You have firm beliefs and stick to your principles, regardless of what anyone has to say

        Your qualities are

  • You crave to experience intensity and wholeness in life
  • You are friendly, good natured and adventurous
  • You require freedom and are quick witted
  • You tend to gravitate towards activities that require leadership, creative expression and vision

       Your qualities are

  • You enjoy spontaneity and advertures
  • You are analytical , methodical and decisive
  • You possess a clarity of thought and use your mind to achieve goals, rather than your physical energy
  • You often prefer to remain relaxed and cheerful
  • You may be experiencing some conflict that needs to be resolved

Your qualities are

  • You are somewhat introverted
  • You enjoy dreaming and envisioning what the future may hold for you
  • You are sensitive, compassionate and trustworthy
  • You have a remarkable imagination and can be quite selfless and giving

Your qualities are

  • You may be at conflict or unable to manage a certain situation
  • You are down to earth and can often be quite serious
  • You are loyal, friendly and approachable
  • You often find it easier to suppress your emotions
  • You are genuine, sincere and like to be in control

      Your qualities are

  • You are independent, strong willed and determined
  • You can be stubborn at times and like to often have your say in situations
  • You often appear intimidating or demanding, without meaning to do so

Interesting facts:

  1. Studies have shown that yellow makes infants cry.
  2. The colour purple signifies abundance or the elite, as it wasn’t easily found in nature (unlike most other colours) and had to be specially produced.
  3. Red is the first colour a baby sees, as it is the longest wavelength.
  4. The colour pink helps to suppress anger and anxiety and is often used in prisons and mental health care institutions.
  5. White cars are statistically proven to have fewer accidents.
  6. The orange fruit appeared in the English language before the colour, which was initially referred to as Geoluhread.
  7. The colour red can actually impair your performance in exams!
  8. Bulls actually don’t hate the colour red. Any moving object, regardless of colour is a likely target for them.

Wow! The psychology behind colour is a really big and interesting topic… do you think so?

Share your comments with us at ambassador@theyoungvision.com