The Psychology of Color

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Filed under: Canright Blog

The Psychology of Color

What’s your favorite color?

A seemingly shallow question can produce an answer that unlocks multitudinous layers of personality and meaning.

Clients come to us with requests to redesign their web sites, business collateral, and even their identities. Some give very specific directions, while others give us the full freedom to explore the infinite possibilities of design. What we find overall, it seems, is that when it comes to color, most people know what they want.

It is without doubt that color gives off an immediate impression. It makes you feel without thinking about it. It’s no wonder hospitals have light blue walls (for calmness), or a lingerie store is comprised of pinks (for romance).

I got this basic but helpful list from Dos and Don’ts – Colour, which explains the general meanings of colors. The next time you’re picking a wall color for your home/office, or changing your company collateral, consider the following (and give us a call!):

RED: With its aggressive, stimulating and sexy nature, assertive attention and provoking action, the red is impossible to ignore.

PINK: Depending on its saturation or value, pink evokes varied mood swings. Magenta and fuchsia are perceived as sensual and theatrical. But water-down the red in lighter pinks and the raw sensuality of red is replaced with gentle romanticism.

ORANGE: Inheriting some of the drama of red, orange is tempered by the friendly humour of yellow. It’s the colour that stimulates the appetite and radiates with warmth and vitality.

YELLOW: Yellow and black is the most unignorable colour combination in nature — tigers, stinging bees — it’s the colour that says: you’d better pay attention to me.

BROWN: Rustic, durable, wholesome and deliciously rich are just some of the traits of the colour that’s often associated with earth and home, substance and stability.

BLUE: Ever noticed how many corporations and financial institutions use blue in their brands? That’s because blue is seen as dependable and committed. It is also the colour we often associate with calm and serenity. Darken the blue and you’ll add an instant authority, credibility and power to it.

GREEN: Because of its association with nature and foliage, green in design can be used almost like a neutral colour: greens never clash with red or pink roses, yellow sunflowers, lilacs or bluebells.

PURPLE: It’s perhaps the most enigmatic and complex colour, with the range of meanings – from royal to elegant to spiritual to mysterious. Purple is often favoured by very creative and eccentric people who are not afraid of appearing daring.

WHITE: Not surprisingly white communicates purity, sense of clarity and simplicity. White is also perceived by the human eye as a bright colour, that’s why it works so well in contrast with all other colours.

BLACK: People see black as the most dramatic, heavy, powerful, classic colour with an up-scale look. Because of its extreme contrast to white, black and white is the quintessential combination of depth and clarity, power and innocence.

-Aya