Believe it or not, there is a psychology to color because it can
have a direct impact on the human mind.
restaurants, for instance, commissioned a study and chose yellow and red
as their theme colors because those colors tend to make people feel hungry
and then want to leave ...thus promoting food sales as well as a fast
table turn-over rate! And you thought it was just because yellow and red
are the colors of mustard and ketchup!
colors have varying significance between cultures a research study in the
United States determined that the following human reactions to colors
remained relatively constant.
in graphic design, particularly logos, branding and crests, the choice of
colors can be equally important as the design elements and style.
Black - the color of authority and power and also
popular in clothing because it tends to make people appear thinner as
well as being considered stylish and formal. Black also implies
submission. Priests wear black to signify submission to God while a
woman wearing black implies submission to men. Black outfits can also be
overpowering or make the wearer seem aloof or sometimes even evil.
White - connotes innocence and cleanliness and even
considered a summer or hot weather color because it reflects light and
therefore keeps the wearer cooler. Brides traditionally wear white to
signify their ‘virginal purity’ at the time of marriage. White is
popular in both decorating and fashion because it is light, neutral, and
is therefore very versatile. However, white shows dirt and is therefore
more difficult to keep clean and therefore clean white implies that
extra care is taken with cleanliness. Medical professionals have
traditionally worn wear white to both imply and demonstrate sterility.
Red - the most emotionally intense color.
to stimulate heartbeat and breathing which is perhaps why its the ‘color
of love’. Red clothing gets noticed and makes the wearer appear heavier,
but since it is an extreme color, red clothing should be avoided for
negotiations or confrontations. Red cars are popular targets for
thieves. In decorating, red is usually used as an accent. Pink is a
variation of red and associated with romance as it tends to be
tranquilizing to the viewer.
Blue - one of the most popular colors.
causes the opposite reaction to red as it is peaceful and tranquil,
therefore causing the body to produce calming chemicals. However, blue
can also be cold and depressing yet wearing blue to job interview evokes
a symbolism of loyalty. People tend to be more productive in blue rooms
because a calmer state of mind allows an individual to concentrate more
fully on tasks at hand.
Green - symbolizes nature and living.
the easiest color on eyes and has been known to improve vision. It is a
calming, refreshing effect which is why TV studios have "green rooms"
for guests, and why hospitals often use green to relax patients. Green
to symbolizes fertility and growth. Dark green is considered masculine
and conservative, and generally implies wealth.
Yellow – an attention getter with a dual personality.
considered an optimistic color yet people lose their tempers more often
in yellow rooms, and babies will cry more. This is likely because yellow
is the most difficult color for the eye to deal with and can be
overpowering if overused. Yellow speeds up metabolism and therefore
enhances concentration …which is why it is used for legal writing pads.
Purple – a color with mixed messages
the traditional color of royalty, implying luxury, wealth, and
sophistication. It is also feminine and romantic, however purple has
also been adopted by the gay community as its symbolic color …perhaps
because it can be arrived at by mixing pink and blue which are the
traditional colors of gender. Purple also implies eccentricity to some
as it is not the most commonly used of colors.
Brown – a color associated with earth
seen as a staid, solid, reliable color because of its connection to
earth. The term "earth tones" is predominantly associates with degrees
of brown and this tends to make it a ‘natural’ and ‘unpretentious’
color. People who wear brown are considered to be understated and often
academic, if not shy as it is not a color that attracts attention.
Summary of color use in logo branding
color must be looked at on the basis of what sub-verbal messages are being
sent. Combinations of colors must balance once against the other to either
combine effects or for one to downplay a negative association of another.
argue with designers about choice of color because they are thinking in
terms of their favorite colors personally, as opposed to understanding the
subliminal effects of those choices.