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    Color Psychology and How It Applies to Your Business
    Featured image by Luca Florio via Flickr

    Businesses both large and small put a lot of thought into the colors they choose for their branding. As we discussed in a recent article, the decisions they make in creating a logo can extend as far as to the colors of their walls and the uniforms their employees wear. However, color psychology is such an important part of this process that, this week, we’d like to explore the topic further.

    What is Color Psychology?

    Movies edited to have a sepia tone evoke feelings of the past. Red signs tend to convey messages of warning. Some prisons, like one in Switzerland reported on by Konica Minolta, go so far as to paint their cells pink to calm their inmates. If we can sum up color psychology in one word, it’d be “evocation.” Colors conjure up feelings, associations, traits, and imagery in those who view them.

    Colors in Culture

    What each color represents depends largely on its cultural context. For example, Design 4 Users wrote an article about how different parts of the world feel about different colors. In their section about Western culture they say the following about the color red:

    “It symbolizes both good and bad feelings including love, confidence, passion and anger.

    Then, their section about Eastern and Asian cultures says this:

    “Red is thought to be the most positive color bringing happiness and prosperity.”

    Furthermore, they also wrote about red in Indian culture:

    “In the Southern India, the red color stands for violence and disruption.”

    It’s important to keep in mind how a culture views a color before creating materials that might be viewed there. If your company does business in other countries, neutral colors may be a wiser decision. However, if you work mostly in the U.S. there are other things to consider.

    Color Psychology in the US

    In America, there are many brands that use color psychology and their cultural implications to their advantage. Below, we’re going to run through some of the major colors, the traits they represent, and some major companies that use them to their advantage.

    Color psychology logos

    Here are some examples of logos mentioned below that help explain color psychology.

    Red can convey strength, ambition, energy, confidence, and excitement. Think of sturdier brands like brands like Coca Cola, Lego, Kellogg’s, and Virgin Mobile.

    Pink can convey sensitivity, intuition, love, care, respect, and calmness. Think of approachable brands like Barbie, T Mobile, Vineyard Vines, and Victoria’s Secret.

    Purple can convey fantasy, creativity, modesty, depth, and wealth. Think of inventive brands like Taco Bell, Cadbury, Hallmark, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

    Navy Blue:
    Navy blue can convey loyalty, trust, intelligence, responsibility, integrity, and authority. Think of strong brands like Ford, Dove, Oral B, and GE.

    Sky Blue:
    Sky blue can convey ambition, spirit, control, awareness, and openness. Think of newer brands like Skype, Dell, Twitter, and HP.

    Green can convey freshness, safety, growth, nature, restoration, and generosity. Think of more giving brands like John Deere, Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Spotify.

    Yellow can convey optimism, energy, fun, joyfulness, and attentiveness. Think of brighter brands like IMDB, Best Buy, Shell, and Nikon.

    Orange can convey freedom, warmth, a social nature, motivation, impulse, and extroversion. Think of more outgoing brands like Harley-Davidson, Soundcloud, Nickelodeon, and Fanta.

    Black and Gray:
    These colors can convey strength, power, accuracy, balance, timelessness, and practicality. Think of classic brands like Apple, Nike, and Nintendo.

    While colors can have different meanings on a cultural level, customers also have a personal reaction to them. While it’s not an exact science, color psychology can guide these reactions and inform how we create our logos, flyers, posters, banners, etc. so our customers associate us with the traits we strive to emulate in our brands.

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