Have you ever noticed that clear blue skies put you in a good mood? Or that meetings held in plain white rooms make you sleepy? If so, you have experienced firsthand how color influences emotions. Color psychology is the study of this phenomenon, and is becoming increasingly recognized as an important factor in consumer purchasing behavior.
A recent color psychology study exposed 98 college students to a wide range of colors and evaluated their emotional responses to individual colors. The study found the color green to most consistently evoke positive emotions such as relaxation and comfort in the students because it reminded them of nature. Walking through a green forest in the summertime is a peaceful experience for many people, and so the color green often triggers similar emotions in people who have had such experiences. Yellow-green elicited the lowest number of positive responses. The researchers attributed this to the fact that many students associated this color with vomit, and it therefore produced feelings of sickness and disgust.
Here is a list of colors and the emotional and physiological responses commonly associated with them. As you read this list, I encourage you to ask yourself what emotions you hope to produce in the target market for the products you sell, and what colors are associated with these emotions. Are you currently incorporating these colors into your packaging and marketing materials? I’d love to hear what colors you are currently using in your designs, why you chose them, and in what ways (if any) you believe they are influencing your sales.
- WHITE – Relaxation, security, and complacency. Feelings of lightness.
- PINK – Tranquility, relaxation, and in some cases, fatigue.
- GREEN – Peacefulness, happiness, and relaxation. Has been known to reduce blood pressure.
- LIGHT BLUE – Comfort, spirituality, and relaxation.
- BLUE – Creativity and happiness. Safety.
- DARK BLUE & GREY-BLUE – Sadness OR security.
- RED – Everything from energy, warmth, and sensuality to danger, mistakes, and failure. This color can actually increase one’s heart rate.
- LIGHT YELLOW – Cheerfulness, optimism, spontaneity, and hunger.
- BRIGHT YELLOW – Irritability. Danger.
- YELLOW-GREEN – Nausea.
- PURPLE – Introspection, sensitivity, and security.
- ORANGE – Clarity, vitality, and hunger.
- BROWN – Relaxation, passivity, security, vitality, and in some cases, depression.
- BLACK – Virility, rationality, and stability; as well as hopelessness and sorrow.