Color psychology is a study of how color influences decisions. Color influences your perceptions in a subtle way. You wont notice it happening but colors can influence what you buy, the taste of food, and how you feel about certain things.
The influence of color can differ between individuals. Age, gender and culture can influence how a person perceives colors. It is not a one size fits all situation because too much of a particular color can draw out the wrong emotions.
Designers, artists and marketers are increasingly becoming aware of how they can use colors to influence your buying decisions.
How Color Influences Decisions
In this publication, we will cover the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and purple. The goal is to understand how color influences decisions. Depending on the person and culture, colors can have positive or negative effects on the mind.
Before we dive into the colors of the rainbow, let us look at some real world experiments that were conducted to see how colors influence us.
The scientific studies that science has are mostly applied studies, meaning that they have researched the effects of color on specific topics. However, none of these studies are theoretical because no study has been conducted that tells us why the effect happens.
As seen on study.com, all credits go to them for gathering these experiments. To expand the screenshot below, click the image to expand and read up on 3 awesome experiments.
As you can see, colors have a huge impact on how we perceive things and the actions that we take. After reading the rest of this resource, you will understand why certain businesses operate with certain colors.
The 7 Colors of The Rainbow & How Color Influences Decisions
Color Psychology: The Color Red
The color red comes with many meanings. You must have seen red used in many places and businesses. Like other colors, red can draw out negative and positive emotions.
Red is a warm and positive color associated with our most physical needs, including our will to survive. Red can trigger our fight or flight response. Red is energizing, promotes ambition, determination and action.
Red is strong willed and can inspire confidence to those lacking this. Red is often associated with love, desire, and sex. Although red is often used to represent love, love is best represented by pink.
There is often a misconception that red represents anger. However, anger is only one emotion that red can trigger within you.
The paler the color red becomes, the more feminine it is. When you add black or grey to red, you create a warm red shade and tone, the resulting reddish brown is very earthy and masculine.
All Positive Meanings of Red: Action, energy, speed, attention-getting, assertive, confident, energizing, stimulating, exciting, powerful, passionate, stimulating, driven, courageous, strong, spontaneous and determined.
All the Negative Meanings of Red: Aggressive, domineering, over-bearing, tiring, angry, quick-tempered, ruthless, fearful, intolerant, rebellious, obstinate, resentful, violent and brutal.
The Color Orange
The color orange combines the cheerfulness of yellow and the physical energy of red. Orange radiates warmth and happiness.
Yellow relates to mental reactions and red relates to physical reactions. Orange relates to your gut reactions or gut feeling. Orange is enthusiastic, adventurous, risk-taking, radiates confidence, and independence.
The color psychology of orange is rejuvenating, optimistic, and uplifting. Orange can help us bounce back from despair and life disappointments, assisting us with recovery from grief.
The optimistic nature of orange makes it the ideal color to use during tough economic times because it promotes motivation and a better outlook on life.
Orange promotes social communication and stimulates two-way conversations. Orange can increase your appetite for food. Many restaurants use décor with orange because much like red, it stimulates appetite but in a very subtle way.
All the Positive Meanings of Orange: sociable, optimistic, enthusiastic, cheerful, self-confident, independent, flamboyant, extroverted, uninhibited, adventurous, risk-taker, creative flair, warm-hearted, agreeable and informal.
All the Negative Meanings of Orange: superficial, insincere, dependent, over-bearing, self-indulgent, the exhibitionist, pessimistic, inexpensive, unsociable and overly proud.
The Color Yellow
The color yellow relates to acquired knowledge. Yellow stimulates our mental faculties by resonating with the left or logic side of our brain. Yellow promotes mental agility and perception.
Yellow is uplifting and illuminating with hope, happiness, cheerfulness and fun. Yellow is the color of creativity and new ideas.
Yellow is the most visible of all the colors. We use yellow in crosswalks and pedestrian crossings because of how highly noticeable it is.
Yellow can produce anxiety in us because it is fast moving. In design, sometimes too much yellow can cause us to be agitated. It is always better to use yellow wisely or sparingly.
All the Positive Meaning of Yellow: optimism, cheerfulness, enthusiasm, fun, good-humored, confidence, originality, creativity, challenging, academic, analytical, wisdom and logic.
All the Negative Meanings of Yellow: Being critical, judgmental, being overly analytical, being impatient, impulsive, being egotistical, pessimistic, an inferiority complex, spiteful, cowardly, deceitful, non-emotional and lacking compassion.
The Color Green
Green is the color of balance and harmony. It stimulates the balance of the mind and heart. Green is a relaxing color with a strong representation of growth, spring, renewal and rebirth. If you went to a place with many green trees or plants, you will often feel renewed or replenished. Green is an emotionally positive color that restores life energy, gives us the ability to love, nurture others and ourselves unconditionally.
As a combination of yellow and blue, green carries the mental clarity and optimism of yellow with the emotional calm and insight of blue. Green inspires hope and generosity of the spirit.
In a negative light, green can be judgmental and overly cautious. However green is best known to signify prosperity and abundance. In finance, green is used to represent safety.
All the Positive Meanings of Green: growth, vitality, renewal, restoration, self-reliance, reliability, dependability, being tactful, emotionally balanced, calm, nature lover, family oriented, practical, down to earth, sympathetic, compassionate, nurturing, generous, kind, loyal with a high moral sense, adaptable, encourages ‘social joining’ of clubs and other groups, a need to belong.
All the Negative Meanings of Green: Being possessive, materialistic, indifferent, over-cautious, envious, selfish, greedy, miserly and devious with money, inconsiderate, inexperienced, a hypochondriac and a do-gooder.
The Color Blue
Blue is the color of trust and responsibility. Blue is often used to represent trustworthiness, honesty and loyalty.
Blue promotes physical and mental relaxation, seeking peace and tranquility above everything else. The paler blue becomes, the more freedom we feel in our life. In the meaning of colors, blue is one-to-one communication, especially voice communication.
Blue is an awesome representation of self-expression, higher ideals, and the ability to communicate our needs and wants. Blue also represents strong trusting and lasting relationships.
On a negative perspective, blue can signify a conservative nature or resistant to change. Blue also relates everything from the present and future to experiences in the past.
All the Positive Meanings of Blue: Loyalty, trust, integrity, tactful, reliability, responsibility, conservatism, perseverance, caring, concern, idealistic, orderly, authority, devotion, contemplation, peaceful and calm.
All the Negative Meanings of Blue: Being rigid, deceitful, spiteful, depressed, sad, too passive, self-righteous, superstitious, emotionally unstable, too conservative, old-fashioned, predictable, weak, unforgiving, aloof, and frigid. It can also indicate manipulation, unfaithfulness and being untrustworthy.
The Color Indigo
Indigo is the color of intuition, perception and higher mind. Indigo represents integrity and deep sincerity, making service to humanity one of the strengths of indigo.
Indigo relies on the intuition, rather than gut feelings like the color orange. The color meaning of indigo conveys great devotion, wisdom, justice, fairness and impartiality. Indigo is a defender of people’s rights to the end.
Indigo stimulates your right brain, giving way to creative activities and helps with spatial skills. On a negative perspective, indigo relates to fanaticism and addiction.
All the Positive Meanings of Indigo: Integrity, sincerity, structure, regulations, highly responsible, idealism, obedience, highly intuitive, practical visionary, faithful, devotion to the truth and selflessness.
All the Negative Meanings of Indigo: Being fanatical, judgmental, impractical, intolerant, inconsiderate, depressed, fearful, self-righteous, a conformist, addict, bigoted and avoiding conflict.
The Color Violet & Purple
These colors relate to the imagination, spirituality, and royalty. They are introspective colors, allowing us to get in touch with our inner selves and deeper thoughts.
Purple is a mix of red and blue, while violet is part of the rainbow colors. This is the only difference between both colors. In color meaning, they both contain the energy and strength of red, as well as the spirituality and integrity of blue.
Keeping us grounded, these colors inspire spiritual enlightenment. Violet and purple support the practice of understanding one’s inner self and meditation. Violet promotes unconditional love and selflessness devoid of ego.
Violet encourages creative pursuits, inspiration and originality through real life creative experiences. Violet encourages positive thinking such as using your better judgment to help other people.
All the Positive Meanings of Violet and Purple: unusual, individual, creative, inventive, intuitive, humanitarian, selfless, unlimited, mystery, fantasy and futuristic.
All the Negative Meanings of Violet and Purple: immaturity, being impractical, cynical, aloof, pompous, arrogant, fraudulent, corrupt, delusions of grandeur and the social climber.
Good designers understand the influence of color. How people feel about the colors that you have chosen to represent your business or brand identity is extremely important. As an entrepreneur, designer or marketer, you should always think about colors and the emotions that you are trying to draw out. Everyone buys emotionally so it makes sense that colors can influence buying decisions.