Imagine the Coca-Cola logo in brown instead of its familiar red. Or picture the Harley-Davidson logo in a bright, pastel yellow rather than black and orange. Your emotional reaction to this exercise may range from discomfort to revulsion. That’s the power of color.
While there are endless theories on why colors evoke associations and emotional states, everyone agrees that hues do affect us. Savvy marketers never underestimate the importance of color psychology. There’s more to color selection than what “looks best.” When designing your site, pay attention to the perception you want to give users.
Reviewing the Rainbow
Color association is hardly a science, but formal market research and personal experience can confirm some basic ideas about colors, perception and the emotions they create.
Red: Strength, power, passion, energy, determination. Mood: Excited, intense, angry.
Blue: Dependability, trust, confidence. Mood: Calm, soothed.
Green: Harmony, growth, health, renewal. Mood: Calm, refreshed.
Purple: Wealth, royalty, wisdom. Mood: Calm, reassured.
Yellow: Warmth, attention, energy. Mood: Joyful, agitated.
Orange: Success, heat, creativity. Mood: Excited.
Black: Elegance, evil, mourning, death. Mood: Calm, consistent, mysterious.
White: Light, innocence, peace. Mood: Cool, emotionless.
Can you relate to the above list? Probably not completely. Many things can alter color psychology: personal experience, regional biases, environmental surroundings, etc. For example, white represents death instead of black.
Experts also believe that our emotional response to color is a function not only of its inherent properties, but also of how well it reflects the intent of the message. For example, a yellow sun-shaped graphic is a perfect pairing of color and image. A purple sun? Not so much.
So, although the use of color must be viewed as an art rather than a science, take the time to understand the implications of the hues you choose. The correct selection will help you build a memorable brand and deliver messaging that affects your audience on multiple levels.
Now, go enjoy a Coca-Cola.