Colour is such a powerful attribute that has a direct impact on your mood and emotions. From the very start of the day, even looking into your wardrobe in the morning, how do you decide what to wear? Comfort, warmth and style are all big factors – but one of the biggest, conscious or not, is colour!
For decades, brands have been using colour in their advertising and marketing as a persuasion tool to influence the final buying decision. For example, Colour can often be the sole reason someone purchases a product, where 93% of buyers focus on visual appearance and almost 85% claim color to be their primary reason for purchase! Although this topic is seen to be one of the most interesting, it can be controversial. The main reason is the evidence!
Today, I am only going to look into the psychology behind specific colours and look at different campaigns that have used colour to evoke a specific reaction from their audience.
Colour Psychology 101
There is many resources online that explore the colour psychology in detail, one being Color Psychology Guide from CoSchedule.
Here is a quick summary of what each colours represent and the feelings it evokes:
- Black: Represents sophistication, balance, quality, seriousness; also fear, sadness, and mourning. Should be used in small doses.
- Orange: Represents physical comforts such as warmth, shelter, and food. Usually associated with positive motivation, confidence and enthusiasm.
- Purple: Associated with imagination, spirituality, and luxury. Since it’s a soothing yet also stimulating color, it’s also associated with creativity.
- Pink: Evokes feelings of hope, romanticism, and empathy.
- Brown: Represents structure, protection, security, and seriousness.
- Blue: Evokes trust, dependability, and calm. It’s visually harder to see, and is more cerebral than emotional.
- White: Represents innocence, cleanliness, peace, and ideation.
- Red: Evokes immediate needs and strong feelings such as love, anger, and warning. Can portray energy in a positive, friendly way or a negative, aggressive way.
- Yellow: Evokes happiness and optimism (see the hero image above) as well as confidence. Serves as a strong stimulus—in fact, it’s the first color we respond to.
- Green: Represents harmony, balance, nature, growth, and health.
Here are some brand campaigns that have used colour to engage and influence their target audience – they show you how you can use colour to drive very specific, predictable reactions.
Blue: American Express
As a finance company, American Express uses blue in their logo, their content, and their product line to drive home trustworthiness, calm and dependability. In 2016, the campaign ‘Improv Yoga with Tina Fey,’ blue was incorporated into the yoga mat and clothes, as well as the ending animation.
“Money can’t buy compassion along with Every sip is born out of fairness.” Starbucks’ fair trade campaign uses various shades of green to drive home their message of harmony, and sustainability. Further to the colour, the typography and hand drawings evoke a feeling peacefulness and being at one with nature.
Source: Carolyn Wagner
The Nike logo and advertising emphasises the need of create a strong, striking visual for their audience evokes emotions of power, quality and seriousness! The black backdrop allows the creative treatment of the shoe to shine through, drawing your eyes inward toward the paint splatters. It also creates an element of sophistication that isn’t usually seen in sportswear advertising.
The next time you’re considering visual content for your brand, consider how you can use your colour to further emphasise your message to your audience and your brand tone!