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Psychology of Colour

Colour psychology wheel

Consider the psychology of colour when choosing colours for your website design, graphics, logos and other business marketing materials.

Blue

+ Trust, loyalty, dependability, logic, serenity, security
– Coldness, emotionlessness, unfriendliness, unappetizing

Note: Men tend to prefer this colour over women. It’s a popular logo colour.

  • shades – loyal
  • tints – respectful
  • tones – social

Purple

+ Wisdom, wealth, spirituality, imagination, sophistication, royalty, superiority
– Reflection, decadence, suppression, excess, moodiness

  • shades – sensitive
  • tints – dignified
  • tones – understanding

Note: A more feminine colour

Orange

+ Courage, confidence, warmth, creativity, friendliness, energy
– Deprivation, frustration, immaturity, ignorance, sluggishness

  • Shades – adventurous
  • Tints – competitive
  • Tones – disaffected

Note: Commonly used for non corporate brands

Red

+ Power, passion, energy, fearlessness, excitement
– Anger, danger, warning, defiance, aggression, pain

  • Shades – bold
  • Tints – adventurous
  • Tones – energetic

Note: Best for Calls to Action (CTAs) and physical impact

Green

+ Health, hope, freshness, life, nature, growth, prosperity
– Boredom, stagnation, envy, blandness, debilitation

  • Shades – adventurous
  • Tints – competitive
  • Tones – disaffected

Yellow

+ Optimism, warmth, happiness, innovation, intellect, extroversion
– Irrationality, fear, caution, anxiety, frustration, cowardice

  • Shades – independent
  • Tints – strategic
  • Tones – impulsive

Note: Often an indication of youthfulness and happiness

Black

+ Sophistication, security, power, elegance, authority, substance
– Oppression, coldness, menace, heaviness, evil, mourning

  • Shades – decisive
  • Tints – confidence
  • Gradient – Serious

Note: Can be sleek and refined. Not used in the health industry.

White

+ Innocence, purity, cleanliness, simplicity, pristineness
– Sterile, empty, plain, cautious, distant

  • Shades – decisive
  • Tints – confident
  • Gradient – serious

Pink

+ Imaginative, passionate, caring, creative, innovative, quirky, playful
– Reflection, decadence, suppression, excess, moodiness

  • Shades – spirituality
  • Tints – innovative
  • Tones – practical

Note: Usually represents femininity

Gray

Professionalism, formality, conventionality, maturity, responsibility

Metallics (gold, silver, bronze)

Expensive, rare, sophistication, elegance

How to Use Colour

Choose a maximum of 3 colours: base, accent and neutral

  • Base: most dominant trait
  • Accent: used most after base
  • Neutral: background (gray, beige, white, off white)

Colour Wheel

  • Monochromatic: hues of one colour
  • Analagous: colours next to each other on the wheel (orange & gold)
  • Complementary: opposite on the wheel (yellow & purple)
  • Triadic: 3 different sections of the wheel (green, orange, purple)

Resources

Learn more about choosing the right colours for your brand from Canva (a free design creation platform).

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