Using the Psychology of Color (Part 1)


Color has a profound effect upon the human psyche and even physical body. It can calm or excite us; it can give us reasons to buy or not to buy; it can even stimulate productivity.

Wise designers and marketers are now harnessing this knowledge to optimize their advantage with consumers. In fact, in a recent survey 93 percent of buyers reported focusing on visual appearance and almost 85 percent claimed color to be their "primary reason for purchase".

How colors have the power to influence

Red: There is a reason why stop signs are red. Red creates a sense of urgency and draws our attention. The fast food chains have long used red and yellow in their stores---along with fast-paced music---to encourage our appetites and move us along. Red stimulates our bodies, raising blood pressure and heart rate. It is also "associated with movement, excitement, and passion".

Blue: While blue is most men's favorite color, it is "associated with peace, water, tranquility, and reliability". The color blue gives us a sense of security, curbs our appetite, and stimulates us to be more productive. Interestingly, blue is most often used by conservative brands that want to promote trust in their products.

Green: We associate green, the predominant color of plants and nature, with health, tranquility, and power. Not surprisingly, it is often used in bricks and mortar and online stores to relax us; it is used in television commercials, billboards, and online for promoting environmental issues. More useful, green stimulates harmony in our brains and encourages balance of thought leading to decisiveness.

Color is very powerful

Enlightened marketers and designers will continue to use color to enhance external consumer/customer/client experiences. The tremendous opportunity is to use color to enhance communications, interactions, and experiences for other stakeholders as well, including (but not limited to) employees, investors, vendors, and families of employees. These other stakeholder relationships are at least equally important to the bottom line. As the importance of these interactions is better understood, expect to see more sophisticated connections with these critical additional stakeholder segments.

In this Trend Alert (Part 1), we have covered three of the primary colors and will cover the balance of this important topic next week.


 From "The Herman Trend Alert," by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist.


Joyce Gioia is a Strategic Business Futurist concentrating on workforce and workplace trends. Joyce is President and CEO of The Herman Group, a firm serving a wide range corporate, trade association and governmental clients on an international basis.

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