Why Does Colour Matter?

Appetite, 5 months ago

All colours carry an emotional resonance - when we see a colour, we have an emotional response. Blue can be sad, calm, and confident while yellow is happy, light, and cautionary. We naturally associate colours with emotions because it is hard to put words to what we are feeling.

Colours connect to our feelings in a unique and memorable way, which makes them a powerful marketing tool to keep in mind for design projects. The colours in your design need to be purposeful and have meaning in their use. You want to discern what message you want to share about your upcoming event, business, or product and make sure your colour choices reflect that. It’s also important to keep in mind the print medium and size and how it will be perceived by the passing audience and what can draw their attention.

Colour is helpful in communicating your message because it draws attention, sets the tone of the message, and guides the eye where it needs to go. It presents a sense of direction and recognition that people can identify and relate to.

It is easy to fall back on your personal colour preferences when creating your marketing design, but the most important thing to remember is that your design needs to speak to your prospective audience. Which colours will draw their eye? Which colours best represent the message you’re trying to share? Which colours consistently represent your business brand?

Here in this article, we would like to analyze some of the colours and explain the advantages and limitations of each one of them.


Positive: Physical courage, strength, warmth, energy, basic survival, 'fight or flight', stimulation, masculinity, excitement, passion.

Negative: Defiance, aggression, strain.

Red has the longest wavelength of all visible light on the electromagnetic spectrum, and it kind of gives off the impression that it knows it. longest wavelength, red is a powerful colour. Although not technically the most visible, it has the property of appearing to be nearer than it is and therefore it grabs our attention first. Hence its effectiveness in traffic lights the world over.



Positive: Intelligence, communication, trust, efficiency, serenity, duty, logic, coolness, reflection, calm.

Negative: Coldness, aloofness, lack of emotion, unfriendliness.

Blue is the colour of the mind, strong blues will stimulate clear thought and lighter, softer blues will calm the mind and aid concentration, because it is seen as serene and mentally calming. It is the colour of clear communication. Blue objects do not appear to be as close to us as red ones. Time and again in research, blue is the world's favourite colour. However, it can be perceived as cold, unemotional and unfriendly.



Positive: Optimism, confidence, self-esteem, extraversion, emotional strength, friendliness, creativity. 

Negative: Irrationality, fear, emotional fragility, depression, anxiety.

Yellow is often touted as being emotional, therefore yellow is the strongest colour, psychologically. The right yellow will lift our spirits and our self-esteem; it is the colour of confidence and optimism. Too much of it, or the wrong tone in relation to the other tones in a colour scheme, can cause self-esteem to plummet, giving rise to fear and anxiety.


Positive: Harmony, balance, refreshment, restoration, reassurance, environmental awareness, equilibrium, peace. 

Negative: Boredom, stagnation, blandness, enervation.

Green strikes the eye in such a way as to require no adjustment whatever and is, therefore, restful. Being in the centre of the spectrum, it is the colour of balance - a more important concept than many people realise. When the world about us contains plenty of green, this indicates the presence of water, and little danger of famine, so we are reassured by green, on a primitive level.


Positive: Vision, luxury, authenticity, truth, quality. 

Negative: Decadence, suppression, inferiority.

Violet has the shortest wavelength of all, poor little thing. It takes awareness to a higher level of thought, even into the realms of spiritual values. It has associations with royalty and usually communicates the finest possible quality. Being the last visible wavelength before the ultra-violet ray, it has associations with time and space and the cosmos. Excessive use of it communicates something cheap and nasty, faster than any other colour.


Positive: Physical comfort, food, warmth, security, abundance, fun. 

Negative: Deprivation, frustration, frivolity, immaturity.

Since it is a combination of red and yellow, orange is stimulating and reactions to it have been suggested to be a combination of the physical and the emotional. It focuses our minds on issues of physical comfort - food, warmth, shelter etc. - and sensuality. It is a 'fun' colour. Negatively, it might focus on the exact opposite - deprivation. This is particularly likely when warm orange is used with black. Equally, too much orange suggests frivolity and a lack of serious thought


Positive: Physical tranquillity, nurture,  warmth, femininity, love, sexuality, survival of the species.

Negative: Inhibition, emotional claustrophobia, emasculation, physical weakness.

Pink is a powerful colour, psychologically. It represents the feminine principle and survival of the species; it is nurturing and physically soothing. Too much pink is physically draining and can be seen as an emasculating.


Positive: Psychological neutrality. 

Negative: Lack of confidence, dampness, depression, hibernation, lack of energy.

Pure grey is the only colour that has no direct psychological properties. It is, however, quite suppressive. A virtual absence of colour can be depressing. Unless the precise tone is right, grey has a dampening effect on other colours used with it.


Positive: Sophistication, glamour, security, efficiency, substance. 

Negative: Oppression, coldness, menace, heaviness.

We see black when all colours are absorbed by an object and none of them is allowed back out to reach our eyes. The psychological implications of that are considerable. It creates protective barriers, as it absorbs all the energy coming towards you, and it enshrouds the personality. Black is essentially an absence of light since no wavelengths are reflected and it can, therefore, be menacing; many people are afraid of the dark. Positively, it communicates absolute clarity and sophistication.


Positive: Hygiene, sterility, clarity, purity, cleanness, simplicity, sophistication, efficiency. 

Negative: Sterility, coldness, barriers, elitism.

Whereas black objects absorb all colours and don’t let any out for us to see, white objects throw them all, every single one, back at us, white objects are just too good for any colour. White is purity and, like black, uncompromising; it is clean, hygienic, and sterile. The concept of sterility can also be negative. Visually, white gives a heightened perception of space. The negative effect of white on warm colours is to make them look and feel garish.


Positive: Seriousness, warmth, Nature, earthiness, reliability, support. 

Negative: Lack of humour, heaviness, lack of sophistication.

Brown usually consists of red and yellow, with a large percentage of black. Consequently, it has much of the same seriousness as black but is warmer and softer. It has elements of the red and yellow. Brown has associations with the earth and the natural world. It is a solid, reliable colour and most people find it quietly supportive - more positively than the ever-popular black, which can be suppressive.

But don't worry this is just a small insight, you don't need to memorize all this. We are here to help for any design or branding work give us a shout!

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