Thursday, January 7, 2010

Design Day - The science of colour in advertising

We go through our every day routines not really focusing on whether something is a cool colour or a warm colour; and we certainly don't think about how the colours we see make us feel. But designers are definitely aware. The human brain/eye can see over 200 shades of white. Multiply that by all the variations of red, blue, yellow and you see how powerful the right colour choice can be.

Whether you know it or not, colours speak very loudly to our psyche and have a direct influence on purchase decisions.


BLACK suggests authority, power, boldness, seriousness, is
distinguishing and classic. Business wise it's great for
creating drama and is good for a background colour (except on
websites, it is very hard on the eyes). It is ideal for text
on a light background. Black also implies submission and is
associated with evil.

BLUE suggests security, authority, faithfulness and dignity.
For business it suggests sanctuary and fiscal
responsibility. It is the most popular and the second most
powerful colour. Blue can also be cold and depressing. People
are more productive in blue rooms.

BROWN suggests richness, politeness, helpfulness and
effectiveness. In business it suggests less important items.
Solid, reliable brown is the colour of earth and is abundant
in nature. Light brown implies genuineness while dark brown
is similar to wood or leather.

GRAY suggests authority, practicality, earnestness and
creativity. Business wise it is traditional and
conservative.

GREEN suggests health, fertility, freedom, freshness,
healing, tranquility and jealousy. Businesses use it to
communicate status and wealth. It is the easiest color on
the eye and can improve vision. It is a calming, refreshing
colour.

ORANGE suggests pleasure, cool, excitement, cheer,
endurance, strength and ambition. For business it is good
for highlighting information on charts and graphs.

PINK suggests femininity, gentleness, well being and
innocence. For business you must be aware of it's feminine
links and implications.

PURPLE suggests spirituality, royalty, luxury, wealth,
sophistication, authority and mournfulness. In business it
is upscale and works with artistic types. It is also
feminine and romantic. However, because it is rare in
nature, purple can appear artificial.

RED suggests excitement, strength, sex, passion, vitality,
aggressiveness and commands attention. Business wise it
associated with debt, is great for boldness and accents. The
most emotionally intense colour, red stimulates a faster
heartbeat and breathing.

WHITE suggests refined, purity, devotion, contemporary and
truthfulness. For business it can be sterile and refreshing.
The best colour on the web for a background color. Doctors
and nurses wear white to imply sterility.

YELLOW suggests warmth, sunshine, cheer, happiness, jealousy
deceit and cowardice. Business wise it appeals to the
intellectual types and is a good accent. Yellow enhances
concentration, hence its use for legal pads. It also speeds
metabolism. It is the most difficult colour for the eye to
take in, so it can be overpowering if overused.

Green, brown, and red are the most popular food colors. Red
is often used in restaurant decorating schemes because it is
an appetite stimulant.

Choose your colours wisely and ensure your design house supplies you with all the CMYK, RGB and pantone information so you can be precise from medium to medium.

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