• Color Communication-A Brief Primer in Color Psychology and Theory

    A vibration of light, detected most easily by our vision. It is so visually stimulating, that many of us are not aware of the impact it has on our emotions, our subconscious, our intellect and our physiology.

    There is a language of color that transcends time and culture. It is a collective and universal communication that is understood by our subconscious mind. It is understood by our cellular memory. Encoded in our DNA.

    Then, there are our personal penchants for color. These are color associations that are individual, they are unique. Created by experiences, these personal preferences influence our relationship to that color. It is what that color means to us. It is a gateway to the memories in our current life experience.

    If we have strong color preferences, we have a bias towards the colors that we surround ourselves with. We are attracted to colors that we like. We want to live in them and wear them. If we do not like a color, it is because we associate it with an unpleasant experience or situation. If the experience was so unpleasant the color we associate with it becomes a replacement of the memory itself and we avoid living with or wearing that color.

    This is a very strong and powerful force in our lives. Color can show us where we need healing in our life. How a particular color makes us feel can tell us a great deal about unfinished business.

    In marketing, the universal or collective communication is stronger. Even though we may have a personal preference for a color, the core communication of its vibration is understood by our subconscious. Warm colors will have us stimulated, increased and expanded, while cool colors calm, decrease, contract.

    Color temperature is important in a basic communication of space, brand and/or product. The particular hue, has an impact on the intensity of the stimulus or tranquility of the subconscious message.

    Cool-tranquil vibrant-warm

     

    The saturation of the hue is also a key element. Pure, vibrant colors convey vitality and intensity. Hues that have become diluted and complex by mixing other hues or values have a different vibration than the Pure color.

    The value or light to darkness of the color also affects the strength of the message. Pastels are not as in your face. The color message is soft and non-threatening. The addition of black to a particular hue, creates a sense of mystery and exclusivity to the core message of the hue.

    Cool-tranquil-pastel vibrant-warm-pastel-

    vibrant-warm-deep Cool-tranquil-deep

    Color combinations are like creating sentences with color. Each hue, makes its own statement. However the pairing sends a different message than if the two colors are mixed to create a new color. When two colors are used together, they keep their original meaning and vibration. It is like saying Passionate communication.. and the colors would be rich, vibrant red and pure, bright blue. (examples of this.. coming in a future post)

    So the next time you are looking at a logo or a product, ask yourself what the color is SAYING to you, reflect on what you are reminded of by the color … is it a personal memory? An emotion? or a feeling? The feeling is the bigger context. If it is an emotion or a memory, that association is unique to you. When you realize how you are being influenced by color, you are more empowered to act responsively, rather than reactionary.

    When designing for an individual, personal preferences are the driving force. When developing a brand or a product, the collective communication is the effective method of broadcasting your message.

    Extraordinary color or ordinary color? You decide how you want your brand to be perceived. Know your product, know you market, know who you are serving. Speak to their soul, not their mind. Their personal preference will miss your message, their subconscious will understand what you are saying, without missing a beat.

2 Responsesso far.

  1. stpiquet says:

    A very interesting topic. It made me think of a full leafed tree. One may look at a tree and be asked to describe it. They might say ” well the leaves are green and the trunk is brown”. But if one looks very closely at a tree the leaves are not all the same shade or hue of ‘Green’. The leaves, in fact have many shades and hues of green and, more interesting to note, it gives depth to the image of the tree. A tree is not just “Brown” or “Green” it all depends overall on the light reflecting back to our eye. A fascinating topic, thanks Shelly.

    • Shelly says:

      Glad you enjoyed the post. There is so much complexity in color, light, sunlight to stage, two dimensional applications, like a quilt, or three dimensional applications, like painting a room or a car. To some it may seem like complete chaos… but there is so much connectedness, relatedness and clarity, I see the pathways.

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