The Magic of Color Psychology: Why it’s Important for Branding and Graphic Design

Color is one of the most powerful tools in graphic design. It can colorfully brand a company, make an advertisement more appealing, or create a dialogue with its audience. But color psychology goes far beyond aesthetics and branding! Let’s explore how color affects emotion and mood, which has huge implications for graphic designers and marketers.

Color Psychology in History

The color psychology in graphic design is a practice that goes back to the beginning of time, when color symbolism was used by early man. As an example the ancient Greeks believed that red represents love and passion while yellow stands for happiness and joy. This significance carries on to today’s color choices. Yellow is still used to promote joy, excitement, and happiness while red can be seen as aggressive or passionate. This example is known as Single Color Meaning. Keeping these age-old practices in mind can allow a color-conscious graphic designer to better communicate with their audience, and evoke the right emotions.

As we know color psychology has been around for centuries – we might think of color as related only to our vision but it actually affects all senses: smell, hearing, taste and touch. Have you ever picked a piece of candy because of the color? It is important to understand how color affects us, and research has shown that colors also affect how we physically feel! Think about the color of the room you’re in right now and how you feel walking into the room.  You might feel calm, happy or even sad. Colors can evoke different feelings and moods in people depending on the color itself as well as color associations (also known as color symbolism). For example blue is often associated with trustworthiness while yellow is seen to be more optimistic, which gives us an idea of what emotions these colors bring out.

Color Psychology in Marketing

Marketers know how important color psychology is for branding their companies!  Since color has the power to affect moods, emotions, and even physiology it’s an essential tool when marketing a company. In graphic design and logos, color psychology is essential since the majority of purchasing decisions are made on the basis of visual impressions.  That’s why color is such a powerful tool – it can prime the viewer to feel one way or another about your company, product, or advertisement. Imagine how you would feel if the fast food classic golden arches were green or if the blue social media bird was black. These color changes would  have a significant impact on how you feel about the product upon seeing them.

Color Theory

Not only do the colors themselves have an impact, but how many colors and their ratios as well! How many colors are ideal for a design? This is where color theory comes into play. Using two or more colors can have a greater impact, and color theory can be used to determine the best color combinations for graphic design. Using a single color can be known as monochromatic and can be seen as simple and clean. Either of these could be what you’re looking for depending on the result you’re trying to achieve.

The Color Wheel

The color wheel is an important tool when designing with color – it shows relationships between colors that can work well together based on their location in relationship to one another (complementary, analogous) or how they sit across from each other (analogous). An example of analogous colors is  blue and blue-green; colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Blue-Green color is a great color combination because it is color-wise harmonious and easy on the eyes. An example of complementary colors is red and green. Red evokes strong emotions of excitement or passion, while green represents nature and the environment. Using these colors together makes for another color-wise harmonious color palette.

Color Combinations and Associations

Studies have shown that color combinations can affect how we feel. The right color combination will help your brand stand out amongst competitors while creating an emotional connection with customers. For example, the color green is associated with nature and life which makes it a popular color for organic products. However since it’s also seen as calming or serene, some companies may want to avoid using too much green in their branding materials due to its association with passivity! Using green in combination with other colors such as red can make it more dynamic and lively, which will create a different feeling in the viewer.

There are certain color schemes that will be more effective than others based on the message you want to communicate and the color scheme you choose. For example you can convey happiness with color schemes such as green and yellow, blue and white or red and orange. There are color schemes that can be used to convey love as well! Keep in mind the emotion or mood you are trying to convey and color theory can really add to your design.

Break Some Rules

Working with a design team that has experience with these things is just one key to success. Relying on designers that have color psychology down can make the difference between a successful design or one that falls flat. If you want an advertisement, logo, or brand image to be successful it’s best to work with designers that keep color psychology in mind.

Now you know a bit more color psychology! Your branding, graphic design, and marketing will thank you. It’s not just color for color’s sake. It’s using color to create an emotional connection with your audience that sets you apart from the rest of the competition!