I once painted a room such a bright shade of yellow that my daughter, who was just an infant at the time, burst into tears as soon as we carried her in. My wife and I thought it was just a coincidence and had a good laugh. We tried to live with that yellow room, but eventually we admitted our mistake and repainted. Now, years later I am reading an article about the psychology of colors and learned that yellow often makes babies cry! Aha!
You’ve probably heard about color psychology—the science that tells us that colors can evoke different emotions. According to neuroscientist Bevil Conway, who has focused his research on the neural pathways connected to color, “Knowing that humans might be hardwired for certain hues could be a gateway into understanding the neural properties of emotion.” This is fancy scientist talk for saying that colors can affect a person’s feelings and opinions.
Research conducted by WebPageFX supports this contention. They determined that people form subconscious views about a product in less than 90 seconds, and get this, nearly 85% of consumers cite color as the primary reason they buy a product! In addition, 80% of people believe color increases brand recognition. (For a great infographic detailing color psychology and branding, check out WebPageFX.)
For marketers, the implications are clear: put some serious thought into the colors you use when designing or updating your logo because it could boost brand recognition and improve the feelings associated with your product. Let’s take a quick look at some color connections:
A powerful color that evokes strong emotions, such as power, energy, passion, love, aggression, and danger. Because it encourages appetite, it’s often used in restaurants. It also creates a sense of urgency—who can resist those bright red clearance tags?—and increases heart rate. Think Coca Cola and Netflix.
This warm color is often associated with the sun and feelings of optimism, youthfulness, and hope, but also cowardice. And, don’t forget, it can make some babies cry. Yellow is used to get attention. How many people thought of McDonald’s iconic yellow arches just now?
Ahh, the color of the sea and sky, which can calm frayed nerves and lower blood pressure. It’s typically associated with trust, security, order, and cleanliness, which is why many corporations use it to convey dependability. The blue Ford oval and American Express come to mind.
The color of energy, warmth, and balance, but also caution. Marketers have long used orange to create a call to action. It can also represent a friendly, confident brand. Examples include Amazon’s orange swish or the Discover card.
Kermit says it’s not easy being green, but most people associate it with nature, wellness, and good luck. Of course, it can also symbolize jealousy. Green is often used in stores to promote a calm environment. In logos, it’s used to represent healthfulness (Whole Foods) or wealth (Land Rover).
Mystery, spirituality, royalty, or arrogance are the feelings stimulated by the color purple. It can also be soothing and is often associated with creative brands, such as Hallmark and Yahoo! Many anti-aging and beauty products rely on purple, too.
What is your logo’s color saying about your company/brand? If it’s not sending the right message, why not consider an update and give me a call. I’ve learned a lot since I painted that room!
Kevin Anger, Creative Director