Is Color Psychology Really That Important?
By CreativB Studios – 8 March 2022
The short answer is YES,
Color is everywhere and as human beings, we rely on sight in perceiving the world, so visual information such as light, color, and shadow is important as it influences emotions.
Color psychology may seem like a marketing gimmick to many, but this area of study has been around since ancient civilization but has been put into the spotlight by marketing and branding.
Have you ever thought of why fast-food restaurants tend to pair yellow with red? Or why do brides in western communities wear the color white on their wedding while in eastern communities they wear red?
What is color psychology?
According to Wikipedia, Color psychology is the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior. In other words, it is the study of how colors affect perceptions and behaviors,
For example, in marketing and branding, colors impact consumers’ impressions of a brand and whether they persuade consumers to consider specific brands or make a purchase.
Apart from consumer behavior, color can alter how a person feels. For example, Warm colors such as red, orange, or yellow are brighter which encourages stimulation but seeing too much of it can become irritating. So, that’s why food companies like McDonald’s and Pizza Hut use yellow in combination with red.
Whereas cool colors such as shades of blue, green, or purple have more of a calming effect that’s why hospitals or clinics tend to opt for cool colors for their interior decorations in order to calm their patients down.
Is color psychology universal?
If you’re a designer or in marketing, you must’ve seen a color guide exactly like this or somewhat similar
The problem with these color guides is that it only conveys half of the message causing people to put too much belief in color psychology which then contradicts a key branding principle: having brand collateral that is distinctive.
As mentioned, color affects how you feel and your feelings about color are often deeply personal and rooted in your own experience or culture.
Everyone perceives life differently and life experiences shape our perception of the world and everything in it. So, for a person brought up in a western society where brides wear white is based on what they saw and experienced growing up.
So, is color psychology universal? No, it’s not. Your creative decision shouldn’t solely depend on color guides, but it should also consider the product, the audience, and the brand message.
For example, Apple is a tech giant that uses neutral colors for its branding and marketing whereas a lot of tech companies use the color blue to convey a sense of trust.
Because color psychology is also influenced by personal preferences, experiences, upbringings, cultural differences, and context, there are no clear-cut guidelines for choosing colors for your brand.
But studying color psychology along with researching about the brand message and their audience would help pick the right colors for your brand.
So, in short, there is no cheat sheet for selecting colors. You will need practical reasoning (such as brand message, product, audience, and culture) coupled with color psychology to make your brand stand out from your competitors.