Did you know that colors are linked to emotions? Well, they are! Each shade causes us to subconsciously experience different feelings, depending on how our brains process them. Designers must be specific and consider their audience when selecting colors for each project. Not selecting the proper color can lead to poor user experience.
What is Color Psychology?
Color psychology is the effect that different colors have on our emotions and behavior. Color can influence us more than we know. How each person feels about color is personal and rooted in their own culture and life experiences. Though every person reacts differently, some reactions to color are more universal.
Now, let’s look at what emotions each color conveys.
Red, orange, and yellow are known as warm colors and have positive connotations.
Red: Red is most often associated with love, passion, courage and lust. It is intense and also can be used to convey danger, anger or war. In general, red provokes the strongest emotions.
Orange: Orange is seen as a positive, energetic color that represents creativity and determination. It is associated with the changing leaves in autumn and the construction zones we all know and love. It is bright, bold and considered a strong color; but is not as intense as red.
Yellow: Yellow is a happy color and resembles the sun. Yellow conveys hope, friendship and joy, but it also can be linked to caution and cowardice. Yellow also alludes to hungry. It is often combined with red in restaurants’ marketing efforts to create a sense of “passionate hunger.”
Blue, green and purple are cool colors. Cool colors are typically calmer and more relaxed.
Blue: Blue is the most calming color. It is found in nature in the sky and water, which convey calmness and serenity. It represents loyalty and honesty. Because of this, it is the most popular color to use for corporate branding – it conveys trustworthiness in a brand. That’s why you see so many financial institutions use this color. Blue also can be associated with sadness, loss, peace and tranquility.
Green: Green represents growth and alludes to nature. As a combination of yellow and blue, the color has energizing qualities of yellow and the calming qualities of the blue. Green is also associated with affluence, money, luck and stability.
Purple: Purple symbolizes luxury and royalty. It also hints to mystery. Lighter shades convey romance and springtime. Purple rarely occurs in nature, giving it a sense of value when found in things like lavender, lilacs or sunsets.
Black, white, gray, brown and beige are the neutral colors. They take on qualities of the other colors and work to reinforce their characteristics.
Black: Black takes on the qualities of elegance and sophistication, as well as sadness, death and mourning. Life experiences will typically determine the way that people process the color black.
White: White is a symbol for purity and innocence. It is associated with order and cleanliness. Some cultures, however, see white as a cold, stark color that represents death.
Gray: Gray is the most flexible neutral color. It can be seen as anything from sophisticated and powerful to boring and unengaging. Depending on the shade, it can be considered warm or cool.
Brown: Brown is dependable, safe and comfortable. It is typically seen as solid, like the earth. It is found in nature, which can allude to strength or isolation, depending on the observer.
Beige: Like gray, beige can be warm or cool depending on the colors it is around. It usually takes on the warmth of brown and coolness of white. Because it is typically seen as a background color, its attributes change based on the colors it is paired with, a reason why it is often used in fashion.
Because color plays such a vital role in user experience, it is important to be intentional and strategic when creating marketing materials or branding. Color evokes emotion and can persuade consumers subconsciously, making strategizing through color theory as a key step in creating successful marketing campaigns.
Now that you know what these different colors signify and what emotions they draw out of people, be strategic when selecting colors for your design and have fun with it!