Colour Psychology

19/10/2013 § Leave a comment

Colour is crucial to advertising as it draws attention and can alter peoples emotions. It wasn’t until the 1950s that colour studies was looked upon as a science – they managed to decipher your mental state from your favourite colour (if your favourite colour was red or black you were considered as mentally unstable). It is also commonly known that colours on a computer screen differ dramatically to when printed out – if you intensely saturate the colour yellow it gets brighter!

Did you know… the human eye can see 7 million colours?

Black & White

These are the main colours for in-style, cool products for example: the LBD, Apple products, any type of car looks better in black etc. The major associations with these colours (especially black) are evil, death, night, ghost and witches.


This is the oldest colour in all cultures around the world. It was the first colour to come after black and white. It is the most popular colour amongst children when they are colouring, it is the most popular colour on flags, it is the international colour for STOP, it represents good luck in Asia, they wear red saris for weddings as it brings happiness and good luck and it used to be as rare as the colour purple. Associations with red are love, passion, blood, rage, murder and lust.

This iconic clip is from the film Schindler’s List. I chose to add this as the clever use of the colour red really makes it hit home the terror of the ordeal. On a brighter note, we were all lead to believe that Coca-Cola invented the vibrant red Santa we all know. However, they didn’t invent him they just made him brighter!


The colour orange doesn’t have a real strong identity although we do have some associations: cheerful, extroverted, warm, exotic, halloween and autumn. The people of Guantanamo Bay wear orange scrubs to make sure they stand out.


Yellow has a higher association than orange, our eyes are much more sensitive to it and don’t need to focus on it as much as it is so powerful. Warning signs are often in yellow as it’s highly reflective. Common associations: joy, cheerful, enlightenment, happy, sunshine, wasps, illness and warnings.


Green hits the back of the retina so it is naturally consumed. In China it symbolises infidelity, it is the symbol for Go and within the racing industry cars are never green as it is considered bad luck. Associations with this colour are never ending but here are some examples: envy, decay, life, stability, nature, poison, camouflage, eco and lucky.


Blue is the sign for homosexuality in Russia, it means you’re drunk in Germany and it is the symbol for girls in Belgium instead of the typical Pink. Sci-Fi, sailors, corporate companies, banks, the ocean and the sky. The video below is a great example of the use of bold colours such as Blue and it creates emotion extremely well. This is just a short clip.


Purple is and always has been the colour of luxury and wealth. Decadence, sensuality, technicality, high quality and expensive are just some things I link to purple. Hopefully one day we can use purple light as a source of energy.


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