21 Jan 2013

Colour: A Marketers tool of influence

Colour; something that a lot of us may take for granted, and fewer understand, yet something that can have a huge influence on so many of the decisions we make. Colour can influence our emotions and our mood, it can influence the things you take notice of and the things that you miss, and it can affect us physiologically.

For most of us, colour is simple; something is red, something is green, yet just like the majority of the Beatles songs, simple things if used and understood properly can go a long long way. Colour has the potential to be a very powerful string not just to the marketers bow, but also in everyday life and social perception.

Here are eleven popular colours with a brief description of what they stand for, the emotions they evoke, and the known physiological responses.

The Psychology of Colour

1. Red

Red is a great accent colour that can be used to stimulate people to make quick decisions. It's a vibrant and emotionally charged colour, which is why it is used so much in all forms of creative.

It's the colour of blood and fire so can be associated with:
  • Strength, power, confidence and courageThis is why red is used in many national flags and is Ferraris flag ship colour. It radiates confidence. 
  • Danger - High visibility colour, which is why it used in warning / stop signs and traffic lights.
  • Passion, love, sexuality, energy - Think red lipstick, red tights, red light district, valentines day.
Physiological effects:
  • Enhances human metabolism
  • Raises blood pressure
  • Increases respiration rate

2. Blue

Blue is the colour of Earth's two great wonders - the sea and the sky. It is strongly associated with calmness and tranquillity. Unlike emotionally warm colours like red and orange, blue is the colour for intellect and consciousness.

In marketing blue is often used for precisionexpertisehigh-tech - it is not, and should not, be used to promote products that require emotional attachment, or food. Studies show blue suppresses appetite.

Blue can be associated with:
  • Trust
  • Loyalty
  • Wisdom, confidence
  • Intelligence
  • Truth
Physiological effects:
  • It slows human metabolism
  • Produces a calming effect.

3. Green

Green is a diverse colour that can be applied to mean a number of things. Green is very non confrontational / inviting colour that is usually associated with Safety; which is the opposite of it's counterpart 'Red' (Danger).

Green is the colour of nature and can be associated with:
  • Growth & fertility - Denotes good health
  • Harmony and balance

4. Yellow

Yellow is a powerful colour that if used correctly it can command your audiences attention and show confidence. Think New York taxi's. On the flipside, if it is used incorrectly it can come across as being gregarious. 

In Marketing, yellow should be used to evoke pleasant feelings. Psychologists describe yellow as being an 'unstable and spontaneous' colour, so it shouldn't be used to represent stability and safety.

Being the colour of the sunshine yellow is often associated with:
  • Energy
  • Happiness / Joy
  • Summer
Physiological effects:
  • Produces a warming effect
  • Arouses cheerfulness
  • Stimulates mental activity
  • Generates muscle energy

5. Pink

Female skewed, fun, friendly, frilly and extrovert. Is complimented by blue, white and black.

6. Orange

Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow.

Orange is:
  • Loud
  • Attention grabbing
  • Contemporary
  • Fun/cool
Physiologically effects:
  • Orange increases oxygen supply to the brain
  • Produces an invigorating effect 
  • Stimulates mental activity and so is highly accepted among young people

7. Purple

Purple has long been the colour of royalty so is often associated with prestigeelegance, and luxury.

Purple is a very rare colour in nature and so some think of it to be an artificial colour, or on the flip-side unique / special.

8. Gold

Similar to purple, gold represents prestige, elegance and luxury, but takes it a little further to really promote wealth and high pedigree.

9. Black

A very versatile colour that is often used to compliment other colours. It can mean modern / slick / professional or the opposite; traditional. If used properly black adds drama to the mood you are trying to portray.

Black can be associated with:
  • Power
  • Elegance
  • Formality
  • Death / Evil
  • Mystery / Fear of the unknown
  • Metal Music

10. Brown

Brown is organic, earthly and natural. It can be used to create homely and comforting feelings.

11. White

White is the colour of spirituality, innocence, purity and perfection.

White is safe and opposite to Black evokes positivity.

Sources for some of the above information - Colour Wheel Pro & Business 2 Community

Psychology of Colour Infographic

Below is a great infographic created by paintersoflouisville.com that graphically explains the psychology of colour.
Source: Uploaded by user via Si on Pinterest
Source: Uploaded by user via Si on Pinterest

What is your favourite colour? What colour do you wear the most? Do these colours accurately (according to their meanings above) represent the image of yourself that you want people to perceive?

Understand colour, and you will be able to better understand the things around you including yourself, friends and marketing. 

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1 comment:

  1. Glad to see you got the bullet point on Metal under 'Black'


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