Color Psychology – What Color Does to You! What it Can Do For You!

What an amazing process! Light, reflected off different surfaces, passes through the eye’s cornea and pupil, then forms an image on the retina at the back of the eye which the brain then translates and registers as a colored object. This in turn stimulates the optical nerve system.

Colors have varying wavelengths. Reds, oranges, yellows have long wavelengths. Green is neutral. Blues through to violets have short wavelengths. The long wavelengths stimulate and energize us, the short wavelengths calm and slow down.

As an illustration of color psychology in practice, walk into a predominantly red room and you will experience an increase in pulse and heart rate. Walk into a blue room and you begin to feel calm and at peace as your heart and pulse rate slow down.

Conclusion: Color does things to you – either negatively or positively depending on the circumstances you are in.

In view of this, how important that we at least gain a rudimentary understanding of color psychology and what colors do to us so we can employ them to work for us. When it comes to image building and business, color psychology can make a huge difference.

If you run a web site dealing with serious business matters, you don’t want a color scheme which evokes images of leisure and youth. On the other hand, if you are marketing entertainment or leisure products, you don’t want a site which produces a heavy corporate image. The color scheme should COMPLEMENT not CONTRADICT your image.

So what is the first step in making color psychology work for you?

First, decide on the image you want to project for yourself or your business. Do you want it to be:

  • Conservative?
  • Trendy?
  • Futuristic?
  • Modern?
  • Stable?
  • Natural?
  • Healthy?
  • Inviting?
  • Surprising?
  • Startling?

Once your image is decided seek out the colors that will enhance or project that ‘feel’. Here is a brief overview of the main color characteristics. You will notice they can include a wide range of emotions depending on the strength of the color and the particular hue it comes in.

RED

Strong Emotions / Warmth / Love / Anger / Danger / Boldness / Excitement

ORANGE

Spicy / Cheerful / Sunny / Low Cost / Affordability / Cheap

YELLOW

Attention grabbing / Comfortable / Upbeat / Lively / New / Unusual / Cowardly

GREEN

Durability / Reliability / Environmental / Luxurious / Renewal / Optimism / Well-being

BLUE

Calming / Constancy / Loyalty / Reliability / Honor / Melancholy / Boring

PURPLE

Power / Royalty / Elegance / Artificial / Overwhelming

GRAY

Conservative / Traditional / Intelligent / Expensive / Serious / Dull / Uninteresting

BROWN

Relaxing / Confident / Casual / Natural / Reassuring / Earthy

BLACK

Sophistication / Elegance / Sex / Formality / Strength / Illegality / Depression / Morbid

WHITE

Cleanliness / Purity / Innocence / Quality / Simplicity / Classic / Sterility / Disposable

In Conclusion:

Big business has been harnessing the power of color psychology for decades. Things have come a long way since Henry Ford’s remark that customers could have his Model T automobile in any color they wished “as long as it was black”!

Colors are now strongly identified with products and companies with a resultant band of loyal customers and supporters. Why not take a few moments to examine your web site or business logo or color theme and see if you are using color psychology as the powerful business tool it is.