The Psychology of Color - And Why it Matters
You know that feeling when you walk into a room and you instantly feel something? Maybe it’s energized, or calm, or relaxed? How about when you see a brand or logo - and before even knowing what they do - you know within a few seconds if you would buy from them or not.
These unknown feelings and reactions are most likely happening because of the power of color! It's really amazing how color plays such an important role in our lives. And whether you like it or not, it’s important to know what people inherently associate certain colors with before deciding on one for decor or your business.
Today, you'll get a nice little overview of what people naturally associate each color on the color wheel with, the best places to use them in your home, and the best industries as well!
Who doesn't love an all white room!? Although this isn't very practical for most people with families, pets, or even people who like to eat pizza and drink red wine, they sure are nice to look at!
Most people associate white with purity, innocence, simplicity, delicacy, cleanliness, and safety. The cleanliness and safety of white make it a perfect "shade" for a guest bedroom or bathroom, and peoples' association with simplicity and delicacy makes this a great option for technology and medical brands.
Best use of White in Brands
Charities, Medicine, Hotels, & Technology
Best use of White in Homes
Bedroom, Guest Bedroom, Kitchen, & Bathroom
And then we have the opposite of white - black. Black is associated with mourning and gloom but also symbolizes strength, power, luxury and prestige. People inherently have a negative association with black, BUT, when used in the right context it can make a room look quite literally drop-dead gorgeous!
Since black is associated with darkness - both in a visual and non-visual sense - this color is great for high-end homes and luxury products. This truly really makes a bold statement.
Best use of Black in Homes
Library, Office, Bedroom, Hallway
Best use of Black in Brands
Technology, Limo Services, High-End Fashion Brands
Grey is one of the colors that I simply cannot get enough of! And you know why? It's an emotionally neutral color and timeless. Since the color grey has such a broad range - just a shade darker than white and a shade lighter than black - the same black and white color associations apply to grey depending on where your color falls on the spectrum. Light grey is perceived as feminine and dark grey can be perceived as masculine.
Grey is considered cool, sophisticated, and modern - and you can really get away with this color in ANY room and with ANY brand. However, if everything is grey it can start to look dull and boring, so make sure grey is just a base for a little bit of color. Use the 60-30-10 rule to decide how much grey is appropriate for your room.
Best use of Grey in Brands
Technology, Limo Services, Car Manufacturers, Fashion Brands
Best use of Grey in Homes
Hallway, Dining Room, Bedroom, Library, Office, Bedroom, Bathroom, Living Room - you get the idea, you can use it anywhere!
Red is one of the strongest and most powerful colors on the color wheel. It evokes warmth, excitement, anger, love, passion and extreme emotions. It symbolizes strength, danger, excitement, and lust so use extreme caution when painting a room red! It takes major bravery (and the right shade of red) to truly make your room a success!
Best use of red in Homes
Hallway, Dining Room, Library, Office
Best use of Red in Brands
Food or Soft Drink Brands, Beauty or Sexy Brands, Action or Video Game Brands
Orange is similar to red in that it has the same strength, but the yellow mixed in makes it a more friendly, cheerful color. Orange is a very approachable color and is associated with happiness, creativity, humor, determination, success, stimulation and encouragement.
Best use of Orange in Brands
Playful Fashion Brands, Comedy Clubs, Food Products, Children's Toys, Construction Companies
Best use of Orange in Homes
Childrens Room, Accent Wall, Bathroom, Playroom, Hallway
When you look at a bright yellow don't you get an overwhelming sense of happiness and lightness? Well that's because it reminds us of sunlight, happiness and spring/summertime. Along with elevating your mood, it can stimulate mental activity and muscle energy. Since this color has such a strong effect on your emotional and mental state, it is best to not use yellow in rooms meant for rest and relaxation. Use it in the kitchen, dining room, or any room that naturally has a lot of energy flowing through it. Also, don't mix shades of yellow, as this dulls the effect and can look muddy. Pick one shade and stick to it!
In branding and marketing, yellow is often used to promote cheerful happy feelings, however it is sometimes considered a childlike color, so be careful when using it in brands promoting stability and security.
Best use of Yellow in Homes
Kitchen, Dining Room, Playroom
Best use of Yellow in Brands
Vacation Companies, Hotels, Playful Fashion Brands, Comedy Clubs, Food Products, Toys
Ah, one of the most relaxing colors in the world, green. We automatically associate green with nature, being grounded, and healing. It's also associated with safety, endurance and growth.
Best use of Green in Homes
Bathroom, Office, Bedroom, Kitchen, Dining Room
Best use of Green in Brands
Drug Companies, Medical, All-Natural/Organic Products, Financial/Banking Services and Products
Blue, like the sky and ocean, remind us of tranquility, calmness and purity. It is a symbol of compassion and truth, and is also associated with knowledge and significance.
Blue can be used in any room in the home, but you might want to avoid light blue in kitchens and dining rooms as it has been shown to slow the metabolism and suppress the appetite
Best use of Blue in Homes
Bedroom, Guest Bedroom, Bathroom, Powder Room, Closet, Office, Library
Best use of Blue in Brands
Water Products, Ocean related or Sea Companies, Cruise Lines, Corporate Companies (dark blue)
Purple is not a very common color but when used correctly it can have a beautiful, unexpected impact. Purple is associated with royalty, power, luxury and wisdom. It also reminds us a sense of mystery, magic and creativity. Purple can also have a strong religious significance.
Best use of Purple in Homes
Hallway, Office, Library, Bathroom, Powder Room, Closet, Office
Best use of Purple in Brands
Fashion Brands, Children's Products, Cosmetic Brands, High-End Liqour
So there you have it! A quick and easy guide to the way color influences your psychology and energy, and some tips about how to implement the basics into your home and/or business. As an interior and graphic designer, I can't POSSIBLY stress how important it is to not just select your favorite colors for your environment, but the colors that work in the space, work in the moment, and help bring people to the desired mental state before they even sit down!
What colors have a special impact on you? Are there any rooms or logos you are having trouble picking a color for? Let me know in the comments below!