The psychology of colour

The psychology of colour is something we all recognise intrinsically. But unless you’re a designer or artistically inclined, you might never have paid it much thought. Colour influences our feelings, emotions and reactions to products, brands and ideas, whether we realise it or not.

If you’re building up a brand that relies on projecting an image and creating a specific feeling or reaction within your target audience, the colours you choose to use are essential, and can either make your brand identity appear professional and trustworthy, or confusing and amateur…

Which would you prefer?

Within any cultural group, different colours conjure different feelings, and the responses that provides can vary between cultures. Variations can depend on a vast range of traditional and historical factors and associations, including our relationship to the natural World.

Does purple help you feel cool? Is white oppressive? Do black and yellow stripes make you feel safe? Feelings are related to colours, bound by experience, history, and cultural context. What easier way to sway a customer’s thinking, than to alter their perception of your brand using colour?

Colour and logos

Consider BP (British Petroleum), a company with a questionable safety record in the petrochemical industry and several major oil spills to their name. They colour their logo green and add a few leaves, giving their image an ecological slant, and presto… damage limitation achieved!

Why? Perhaps because people have a desire to believe what’s put in front of them, so if your colour scheme backs that up, your message becomes strengthened by the associations that the viewer adds themselves. Get it right, and you’ll build customer loyalty, and make more sales.

The following infographic was compiled by Canadian plastic-card maker Colourfast, and whilst its conclusions are subjective, it should provide some good food for thought when considering the effect that your corporate colour scheme has on your customers, and consequently your earnings.

So, what colour is your logo?

Logos and the psychology of colour