Creating a promo video

How Colour Influences Our Choices

 

The psychology of colour is something many people don’t even contemplate but is something us designers consider often and influences our work daily. By looking at the emotions evoked by certain colours we can choose which colour might be more suitable for a project than another.

The psychology behind it is the effect of different colours on human behaviour. For example, how we interact with a brand and marketing. In branding especially, you can choose a colour palette that will reflect the emotions you want the customer to feel when they engage with your product or services. An example of this is how BP use predominantly green in their branding to provoke the feeling of an environmentally friendly brand, despite that probably being the opposite of what they do.

 

Conscious and unconscious decisions

 

When consumers are deciding whether a product, service or brand is what they want or need a series of both conscious and unconscious decisions are made. Firstly, the consumer may think logically about aspects such as the price and technical specifications and may compare against competing products. Then come the unconscious decisions your brain makes without you even realising.

Colour affects us in every day life, for example red traffic lights or stop signs, providing a feeling of urgent attention. That choice of colour is not just a coincidence, psychologically we see red as conveying urgency. With that in mind, you can probably see why so many ‘50% off SALE’, or ‘SALE MUST END SUNDAY!’ signs are red. While it may not be a life or death situation like when we’re driving, we tie the idea of seeing a red sign to it being something we should read with urgency. It’s a clever piece of marketing that bases its theory on colour psychology.

 

What colours evoke which emotions?

 

Every colour in the spectrum will evoke either positive or negative emotions to make us feel a certain way. Below is a simple chart showing which emotions some colours are known to evoke.

Colour Psychology

Red

  • Positive: Power, Excitement, Strength, Passion, Energy, Youth, Confidence
  • Negative: Anger, Danger, Warning

Orange

  • Positive: Confidence, Warmth, Innovation, Friendliness, Energy, Bravery
  • Negative: Frustration, Ignorance, Immaturity

Yellow

  • Positive: Optimism, Warmth, Happiness, Creativity, Friendliness
  • Negative: Caution, Anxiety, Fear

Green

  • Positive: Health, Hope, Nature, Growth, Freshness, Prosperity
  • Negative: Envy, Sickness, Boredom

Blue

  • Positive: Trust, Loyalty, Dependability, Logic, Serenity, Security
  • Negative: Coldness, Emotionless, Uncaring

Purple

  • Positive: Wisdom, Luxury, Wealth, Spirituality, Sophistication, Royalty
  • Negative: Introversion, Decadence, Moodiness

Pink

  • Positive: Imaginative, Passionate, Transformation, Balance, Creativity
  • Negative: Outrageousness, Femininity, Impulsive

Brown

  • Positive: Serious, Earthiness, Reliability, Authenticity, Warmth, Support
  • Negative: Humourless, Dirty, Sad

Black

  • Positive: Sophistication, Security, Power, Authority, Substance
  • Negative: Oppression, Coldness, Threat

White

  • Positive: Cleanness, Clarity, Purity, Simplicity, Freshness
  • Negative: Sterility, Coldness, Isolation

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So, as shown above there is a selection of emotions that come with each colour. How we utilise this can be important in helping a brand or campaign succeed with the right audience and evoke certain emotions. Of course, colour is just one aspect of branding and marketing and colour psychology should not be used as the only method to decide on a colour palette, however it’s important to understand how the different colours can be perceived by the unconscious part of customers everyday decision making. By knowing this we can avoid evoking the opposite emotions and potentially sabotaging the success of a brand.

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