Every colour tells a story. What’s yours?

Does the colour of your bedroom walls make you feel calm and relaxed? What about the colours used in hospital waiting rooms? Can the colour of a logo make you see that company as sustainable and trustworthy?

50 shades of colour

Colour has been linked to both brand recognition and buyer choices. Think of the colour red. What companies do you immediately associate with this colour? I’m not surprised if Ferrari and Coca Cola were some of the first answers you came up with. Yet, colour choice goes beyond just helping with brand recognition and making something more attractive or exciting – colour communicates something about the brand.

A lot has been written about how colour conveys emotions to buyers. Careful use of colour can also make our lives better. We should consider the impact of colour on our personal and social spaces because colour can affect our behaviour[1]. Good use of colour can help people cope better and can impact communities positively. For example, by using the right colours we can encourage people to stay calm or inspire creativity.

My favourite colour is blue

Colour can lighten a mood, inspire tranquillity or motivate you to get up and go, but the colours that do that might be very different from culture to culture, and even person to person.

Something important to consider is that colour is subjective. While one person might find red exciting and bold, another person might find it aggressive and noisy. It all depends on your target audience.

Just as in all marketing, the key is connecting and telling a story that resonates with your company and customers. Colours should not only evoke certain emotions in your customers but also convey a message about your company and what you are trying to say in that moment.

Be wary of ‘fake news’

So, you’re using market research and what you think colours say to make informed guesses. You must be on the right track?

Perhaps not. A lot of what people think and know about colours is common knowledge, but we need to be wary of basing our choices on shallow pop psychology. We invited colour expert Judith van Vliet of The Colour Authority on our ‘create connect communicate’ podcast to talk about the impact of colour choices. In this episode she warns us to beware of fake news when it comes to colour choices.

Colour might be something that works in the background for most of us, but not for Judith. For her colour is where a story starts and using colour effectively can mean the difference between telling a good story and a bad one.

Judith explains how colour is something that trends and changes. Colour is not something as simple as saying red expresses passion or blue inspires trust. It is all about context – what, to who and when you are saying it.

We shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that there are only good and bad colours. We should rather think of it like this: there are better colours for reflecting the story you want to tell.

Telling the right story, in colour

Colour is not always something we think about actively, but it’s everywhere. Whether we are aware of it or not, colour can have a huge impact on the way we perceive and feel about things.

The influence of colours is not a static, universal thing. The story colours tell change depending on the culture, audience and message. Colours are context sensitive; they trend and even exert an influence of their own.

Whether it’s the familiar black and yellow of warning signs, or the earthy green-brown hue used on so much packaging to reassure you of the sustainability credentials of what’s inside, colours are always telling a story.

Find out more about colour trends and how colour can improve our lives in our podcast with Judith van Vliet here.




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Posted by
Siria Nielsen 
on December 1, 2021

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