GLAD WORKS Gets Color Happy!

One often-overlooked element of design is color. Color has the power to influence a viewer’s perceptions in some amazing ways. Sure, a certain color might look nice, but what about the psychological impact it has on the viewer? Does a certain color make the brain happy as well as the eyes?

“Bah!”  You say. “I don’t care. Yellow is my favorite color and we’re gonna use it!  Yellow everything!”

But we assure you that color plays an important role in our visual perceptions. Creating the right palette that makes people react the way you want them to is part of the whole thing we do when we design stuff.

We know exactly how to trick people into liking you!

No, not really.

But…kind of.

If we could truly control people with our Superior Color Choosing Skills, we’d try for world domination. Sadly, mind control isn’t our forte, but matching the corresponding color to the corresponding message helps tremendously to reinforce what our clients are trying to communicate.

Even in literature, authors use color to communicate things about their characters. In The Scarlet Letter, poor Hester Prynne was pinned with a big red A to communicate her harlotry. In The Yellow Wallpaper, the color yellow was used to portray the sickness and decay of the main character’s mental state. What about the use of the color green in Great Expectations?  This literary tool works because readers have had prior experience with certain colors, so they make strong associations. These associations are somewhat subjective and culturally influenced, but in general, certain colors bring about certain associations for many of us.

So, here’s a fun little list of colors, complete with a description of what they communicate to the viewer. This is based on real psychological research (and also a certain copywriter’s background in literary theory), so pay attention.

Have you ever wondered why things like fast food restaurants and sports team logos are usually red?  It’s because red is a dynamic color. It communicates speed, passion, drive, hunger, and power. We actually have a little bit of red incorporated in our branding. We think it adds a little pop of sassiness.

Orange isn’t as overwhelming as red, but it’s still vibrant and energetic. It’s friendly and warm. We like to use it when we’re designing something that depicts energy without being so “in your face” as red.

Earlier, we mentioned the color yellow as portraying sickness and decay, but lighter shades of yellow can be warm, expansive and exuberant. It’s used frequently in materials that are meant for or have to do with children. Darker shades are more for giving a sense of antiquity.

The word “green” has become synonymous with earth friendly, sustainable practices and it’s no wonder why. The color green represents balance, stability, and fertility. We use it when we want to represent harmony, calmness, health and well-being.

Blue is a popular favorite color. It communicates dependability, trust, friendliness and order. Many businesses choose to use blue in their design projects for that reason. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have also adopted blue for all the positive, friendly associations people have with it.

We love purple for its associations with regality. It speaks of abundance and power, but it can also be romantic, dreamy, and whimsical. We love using purple, probably because we don’t get to use it as often as we’d like. Anybody got a whimsical/regal/romantic design project?  Hit us up!  We’ll purple the heck out of it!

And now we come to our personal favorite: black. Our logo happens to be black and we love it. It’s elegant, powerful and modern. While it won’t work for every project, it’s great when you can get away with something sleek and sophisticated.

Color psychology is a complicated field of study and there’s a ton of information out there about it.  We’ve just given you the basics as food for thought on your next design project.  So remember, when our designers try to steer you toward a certain color, it’s not because it’s their personal favorite.  It’s just because there’s psychology involved.

And mind control…


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