Color plays a crucial role in visually communicating your message. It can instantly stimulate our senses and elicit different emotional responses.
So which colors evoke what emotional responses? And are you using the right colors to effectively communicate your contents message?
In order to make sure you're projecting the right mood, you need to understand the basics of color psychology. This guide will walk you through the basics of color communication to make sure your content is on point with the message you want to deliver.
DEFINE THE MOOD
First, you need to decide what mood or emotions you're trying to convey. Think about your audience first and your objectives second.
What will your audience want to feel when looking at your product, reading your content, or learning from your presentation?
Each color family has its own emotional meanings and psychological associations, so it’s useful to be aware of them—this way, you can pick a color that aligns with your message.
Warm colors are eye-catching colors like red, orange, and yellow. We associate them with energy, importance, liveliness, heat, and passion.
Red feels stimulating and overt, it might even feel aggressive; orange feels a bit more playful and peppy; yellow feels cheerful and optimistic. Together, warm colors evoke feelings of comfort, warmth, energy and happiness.
Cool colors have a refreshing, calming feel to them like blue and green. Why? Because we universally associate them with the sky, water, and nature.
Shades of blue tend to be calming and reinforce feelings of reliability and trustworthiness; think banks and financial institutions. Green tends to be associated with practicality, loyalty and consistency.
PURPLE & PINK
Purple and pink hues tend to feel more feminine and convey a romantic, soft, and tender emotional state.
Purple is the color of royalty (when deeper) and spirituality (when lighter). Pink is the color of love and tends to convey an even more sensitive state like that of a nurturer or caregiver.
Black embodies luxury, elegance, and prestige; think black tie events or the American Express Black Card. It can also feel authoritative and strong—even intimidating.
White is associated with purity, cleanliness, innocence, and simplicity. Off-white shades like cream or eggshell feel warm, soft, and rich. If you add slight red or yellow undertones (warm colors), white can feel friendlier.
TIPS FOR WORKING WITH COLORS
Dark vs. Light Shades
- Adjusting the value of a color - how dark or light the color is- allows you to control how powerfully it is perceived. Lighter values will make a color feel less powerfully while darker values will make it feel the opposite.
- To make a color feel more exciting, try adjusting the saturation (the intensity of a color). Fully saturated colors are vivid and rich (and therefore more exciting) because they have no gray in them. Less saturated colors have gray undertones, so they are muted and soft.
It’s important to remember that there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to color. Don’t second guess yourself - any designer knows what this is like. It’s good to be intelligent about your color choice, but don’t make yourself so crazy about what your instinct and good eye told you to begin with.
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