The psychology behind colour

Posted by Steve


So what’s your favourite colour?

Relevant at age 5 just as much as age 50, colour choice has been a timeless topic of discussion. From what we wear on our shirts to what we hang on our walls, we identify with colour both outwardly and psychologically.

But is there a subconscious allure that draws us in? Why do we associate with different colours and how do we decide what colour is right for what brand? While personal preference and subjectivity all play their part, there is also a deeper psychology behind colour association and what it represents.

When designing for our clients, this is certainly something that we take into consideration. When creating an identity system for example, identifying what colour best represents a brands essence and mission will ultimately effect how the world will resonate with it. Colour, because of its subjective nature, should (for the most part) not be arbitrary in design, rather intentional, and communicative.

So in typical Limey fashion, we thought it would be fun to create a infographic to see whose wearing what and what it means. To see more about colour breakdowns see below!

psych-large

To understand more about colour psychology, here is a more in-depth breakdown.

PINK
[+]
Hope, Empathy, Compassion
[–]
Powerless, Immature, Needy

Pink is seen as a nurturing colour, representing unconditional love and care. Being a softer version of red, pink also often exudes hope and survival, and should be used in scarce amounts as to not diminish its integrity.

BLUE
[+]
Trusting, Reliable, Calming
[–]
Cold, Distant, Unfriendly

Blue is solution oriented and is one of the worlds most favourite. Being a colour of the mind, blue has a calming factor that often relates to clarity, trust and calmness. Adversely, blue is also the coldest of colours and can represent distance and hardness.

GREEN
[+]
Peace, Life, Health
[–]
Envy, Materialism, Greed

A symbol of growth, green reflects positivity and nourishment in nature, health and wealth. Green has a soothing and calming aesthetic representing peace, life and virtue, however, in a different light, green can also represent envy, vanity and materialism.

BROWN
[+]
Natural, Structure, Earthly
[–]
Boring, Reserved, Mundane

The colour of earth, brown represents structure and support and is often regarded as a very safe colour although visually is not among the favourites. Brown is very serious in its demeanour and therefor can have a boring and reserved personality.

BLACK
[+]
Confidence, Finesse, Control
[–]
Evil, Mystery, Death

Black is the closest colour to invisible, representing our universe and the mystery behind it. Given its stark reservation, it is absent of any other colours and thus has the strongest contrast and legibility of any colours. Adversely, black often identifies with sadness and negativity.

ORANGE
[+]
Enthusiasm, Ease, Youth
[–]
Superficial, Indulgent, Brazen

Orange is a powerfully fun and energetic colour. Associated with summertime, warmth and motivation, orange contains an enthusiastic character that creates fun, freedom and comfort. Interestingly, orange encourages ones appetite and conversation.

RED
[+]
Love, Power, Strength
[–]
Anger, Demeaning, Extreme

A colour of power and presence. Red is used most to represent emotion and human need and because of its strong presence should be used sparingly. Red is an energising colour often associated with love and affection as well as anger and aggression.

PURPLE
[+]
Spirit, Luxury, Mystery
[–]
Powerless, Immature, Needy

Purple is a colour of imagination and mystery representing both the spiritual and the physical worlds. Purple is dynamic in that while it represents luxury and loyalty, it also embodies mystery and magic. Creativity is often associated with purple, as it is a combination of reds presence and blues stability.

YELLOW
[+]
Fun, Joy, Compassion
[-]
Anxiety, Timid, Fearful

Yellow is our warmest and most vibrant colour epitomising all that is fun, happy and joyful. While mostly regarded with optimism and positivity, yellow can also bring about fear and anxiety when used excessively.

WHITE
[+]
Pure, Clean, Angelic
[-]
Isolation, Hollow, Empty

Seen as a colour of perfection, white represents purity, innocence and wholeness. Angelic in its nature, white protects, grows and offers encouragement. However, white is a sterile and fragile colour, and when used too much causes isolation.