The Psychology of Colour

17.06.2019

Have you ever noticed how colours can affect your mood, the way you feel? Or that, when it comes to products or services, you expect them to follow some established colour code?

What lies behind it is the fascinating psychology of colour – there’s a great literature and plenty of research available on the subject, but we thought we would break it down and explain why colours are important for your brand and why you should put more thought into them whether you’re thinking of your brand design, product and packaging or even website development.

First things first, let’s go back to the very basics:

Since pre-history, sight has been our most important means of survival. In our current state of evolution, vision is the primary source for all of our experiences. (Current marketing research has reported that approximately 80% of what we assimilate through the senses, is visual). (Jill Morton, 2019).

As Jill Morton points out, our nervous system requires input and stimulation. We become bored in the absence colours and shapes. Consequently, colour addresses one of our basic neurological needs for stimulation.

Colours have a subconscious impact on our brain and therefore are in consequence an important factor influencing the consumer buying decision process. They have the power to set a mood, convey an emotion, create a physiological reaction or inspire people to take action.

Thus, put together, colours are a powerful conveyor to tell a client’s story.

According to research conducted by Hemphill (1996) we know that 85% of customers declare that colour is the primary reason why they decided to purchase a product. Other research reveals people make a sub-conscious judgement about an environment or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing. Between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone. (Source: CCICOLOR – Institute for Color Research)

There’s no universal use of colours. Each culture has a different approach and meanings behind colours.  For example, when in most occidental countries white is the sacred colour of the bride or is heavily associated with the celebration of happy moments, it is the colour of death and mourning in most of oriental countries.

This is why it is essential to put your attention to those choices very early in the process and will need to be thoroughly thought through so it speaks effectively to the right audiences.

This also highlights the importance of defining precisely who is your target audience and adapt accordingly.

To sum up, colours have a big role in maximising success: differentiate from your competitors, increase sales, increase brand recognition and consumer loyalty.

Time to get your colouring pencils out!

Colour
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