Colour is one of the most powerful visual elements we have. In art or in business, you can use colour to influence people, create moods, communicate ideas and make an impression on the reader or viewer.
All colours can be sorted into warm or cool tones. Their influence on us is mostly emotional. Warmer colours tend to be more vivid, energetic and comforting. Our eyes are usually drawn to these colours first. Cool colours typically evoke a more calming effect and are soothing to the eye. Let’s take a look at how you can use colour to create a psychological effect that drives your message forward.
Largely labeled a “girly colour”, we use pink usually to communicate sensitivity, romance, innocence and a female touch. It’s a great accent colour that adds a pop of fun.
The colour red immediately draws attention as it’s one of the most vibrant colours on the spectrum. We associate red with danger (think blood and stop signs) but also vitality, romance and half of the Christmas colour scheme.
Closely related to the fruit of the same name and colour, orange represents health, nutrition, energy and life. We associate it with fire and the sun. You can use orange to grab attention in a more fun and less striking way than with red.
Yellow is widely related to cheerfulness and hopefulness. Also associated with the sun, we connect yellow with warm, freshness and youth over everything else.
Most commonly green is used to evoke thoughts of nature, feelings that are fresh, clean, organic and full of life. It’s a cheerful and bright colour, or you can use a darker shade to communicate maturity and stability.
If you’re looking for depth, serenity and calm, think blue. We think of the sky and the ocean, two of the largest natural elements we see regularly. Blue also communicates cleanliness and purity, used on a lot of cleaning products in the form of fresh, clean water.
Depending on the shade, purple can also be a warm colour, but more often it’s cool. Deeper purples are typically associated with maturity, sophistication, royalty or regality. Lighter purples are more closely connected to youth, creativity, fun and femininity.
It’s hard sometimes to use black properly because it’s so powerful it can overpower your design. But used right, it can communicate elegance and power. A design that is meant to be sleek and sophisticated can benefit from sharp and clean black shapes or lettering.
These colours tend to work best as accents or backgrounds, especially tinted shades of grey. It’s becoming more and more popular to use grey as a colour for text as opposed to black. These colours can help to make the above colours pop. For design, white is falling out of popularity as a background and light shaded colours are taking it’s place. But it can still be a powerful element for communicating purity, minimalism, cleanliness and simplicity. Browns can sometimes communicate the opposite - dirt and decay - but can also communicate earthiness and humility.
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