Have you ever noticed how different colors can affect your mood? Artists are probably among the first people to leverage the way colors can impact emotions, and Pablo Picasso even said, “Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.” If you think about it, we also use these terms in everyday speech to express emotions. Phrases such as “I’m green with envy” or “I’m seeing red” spring to mind.
Your response to the colors you see in your daily life can be deeply rooted in personal experiences, and specific colors can cause different feelings in people depending on those experiences.
In more recent times, interior designers have learned this and integrated it into their home designs. Marketers, of course, also need to understand how to leverage this psychological tendency as much as possible.
Color psychology isn’t a new topic of study in the scientific world, but it is becoming clear that if you want to really impact your potential customers, you need to start with these kinds of basics. This is especially true for signs, where the application of color can be seen by a lot of people.
Knowing Your Customer Base
It’s very important to consider your customer base when incorporating color psychology into the sign’s design. Using the improper hue for your ads could mislead your customers and convey a completely different message than the one you originally intended.
Perceptions of color often vary greatly between different regions and countries. If you have a global market, you need to consider the different cultural implications that colors can have. Most likely, you will have to create separate signs for different regions in order to appeal to the widest range of customers.
Different Effects of Sign Colors
It’s useful to know what kind of effects specific colors can have on your target audience. This list should give you a good idea on where to start designing your sign. (Note that this list is specific to the North American market.)
•White: This mostly symbolizes purity, cleanliness, and innocence. White is very common in hospitals because it can also represent sterility. It’s often the best color to use for website backgrounds, as well as for additive-free food products.
•Black: While black can sometimes be considered a depressing color in some cases, it is typically used to symbolize luxury, mystery, and seduction in advertising. It’s great to use for backgrounds, since most other colors go well with black. Use it for designer goods and other luxury items.
•Green: The two most common objects associated with green are money and nature. It can also represent freshness, tranquility, and freedom. This color has a very soothing effect on the people that see it, which is why it is often used in interior design. Green is commonly used in advertising for finance and health products.
•Purple: In ancient times, purple was considered a rarity because it is uncommon to in nature. As such, it was often used to symbolize royalty and spirituality. Now, purple can give off a sense of femininity and romanticism, which makes it ideal to use when targeting the female market. It is also used to make cheaper products seem a little classier.
•Brown: Where purple is best suited for the female market, brown works best for the male market. It gives a feeling of dependability, solidity, and efficiency. It works really well with tinges of orange, yellow, and red. Due to its trustworthy nature, brown is often used for hunting, lumber, and furniture products.
•Red: Red is a very active color. It represents speed, strength, and excitement. Red is considered one of the most powerful colors and is used to suggest a fast pace. You’ll usually see it in ads for video games, fast-food restaurants, and comic books.
•Blue: Blue is most often associated with productivity and clear thinking. It can also symbolize faithfulness, dignity, and authority. Blue is one of the most flexible colors to use in advertising and can be integrated into ads from electronics to educational materials.
Making Your Sign
As with any part of marketing, you will want to make sure your sign works before you officially put it to use. Try out some mock-ups on test markets before you actually produce the sign and show it to the world. See how different groups of people respond to the specific colors in your prototypes and record the results in order to see if you are reaching your target audience with the right message and the best feelings.