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Psychology and the Perception of Color

Article Written by: DeAnna Strong

When you look at an apple do you imagine the sweetness of the first bite? Does it make you think of autumn? These are questions we as designers ask ourselves and they are based in psychology. Perception of color, shape, and form are just some of the aspects we study, to create designs that make sense for your business or brand. Color, shape, and form are paramount for a well-versed design and brand.

Color and Food

When you look at restaurants, or for example, fast food places, you see that colors are in the red, blue, and yellow families. Why is that? These colors are perceived to make those who view them hungry or in the cases of the places with play structures for children, make children feel welcomed as well. These colors are primary colors which can make some people remember or think of primary school or what we call in the U.S.A elementary school. We have associated these colors with younger children and now certain shades of red and yellow are also associated with big chain restaurants and fast-food places. Burger King, Mcdonalds, Wendy’s and Arby’s all have one thing in common: the color red. Red has been known to make people feel hungry or have the feeling of desire for certain objects, in this case: food. The application of red to let's say a banking agency, could have some interesting results to the members or potential members of that bank.


Color and Money

Green we associate with money. When you think of banks like Huntington and Choice One those logos have green in them which evoke a certain emotion pertaining to them: growth. We also see green used in tax or investment companies like H&R Block. When you look at some other financial establishments like Gerber Federal Credit Union, they chose blue. Blue evokes trust or strength which are very important feelings when choosing where to keep your money. If you are curious about other colors and the way, they come across we have attached an infographic by the Huffington Post that explains these associations wonderfully.


Color and Seasons

Going back to the apple, what do you think of when you see it? If you answered autumn or the changing of seasons, then you would not be alone. Seasons have colors that occur naturally but we as people also learn to associate colors with seasons even from a young age. The white of snow, green and red for Christmas or wintertime. The pastel colors blue, green, and yellow for spring. Other color combinations like orange, red, and brown make us think of autumn or the time of harvest. Colors are all around us and they mean and invoke different emotions based on the context they are used in. The same green you use for Christmas time is different when in the application of it to a bank. The difference is how it is designed, branded, and applied.


What do I choose for my business or brand?

In other applications like children's TV shows, we see friendly colors like orange used for Nickelodeon. Orange is regarded as friendly and cheerful and when paired with their green slime the growth of cheerfulness can be observed. Application of color is absolutely important when choosing for your brand. If you are a roofer, would you want to come across as cheerful and friendly? Some might! Or would you want to come across truthful and hardworking? Some might want that as well! And some might want the best of both worlds or don’t know which one to pick at all. In any of these aspects, designers and brand experts come into play.

Photo Credit: HuffPost

What we help with

As a graphic designer and a person versed in psychology, my job is to make sure your brand, voice, and design communicate what you mean to your audience and consumers. Without this brand cohesion and thought process, brands can sometimes fall through the cracks with lackluster or bad communication through their branding or lack thereof. We are here to help with our team based in branding, psychology, and photography. We help you understand your brand’s voice and explain what certain things make your audience feel, think, or perceive. These helpful tactics help both you, and your audience perceive your business or brand the way you intended.


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