The information shared is based on Joe Hallock’s survey on colour psychology which was done in 2003. The result is concluded from 232 participants, with majority living in the United States. I find that this is still relevant in recent times and not limited to United States clients, but internationally. This also serves as a guide when experimenting with colours in my content and website designs. The result is presented in two main categories as below:
This is a common association and it’s the easiest way to ‘group’ colours. It’s almost second nature when we think of colours to represent cool or warm. “Cool” spectrum such as blue or grey will immediately come to our mind when we describe cool or wet sensations and red-orange spectrum is best in describing warmth or hot. It’s inherent that we’d associate these with earthly matters (much like Captain Planet!) that are sun, fire, sky, wind, water and earth. I am already visualising the colours as I type these elements even though my font colour is black.
One of the easiest examples that I can think of is the association of the colour green with nature and earth. This colour is commonly used by environmental-friendly, organic or whole foods companies on their logos.
What colour do you use to represent trust ? How about security ? I’d say these two words are closely related; you need to trust a person or a company to have the sense of security. It would have to be something calm or cool and it’s evident in the result of this survey.
The colour blue holds the highest percentage followed by white and green for ‘trust’ and it is quite similar to the colour representation on ‘security’, with the exception of the colour black which represents security but not so much on trust.
Needless to say, red holds the highest percentage for the representation of ‘speed’. Passion, energy and rage brings the same effect with colours that are associated with fire such as red and yellow.
I’ll let these logos speak for themselves. It is a myth that red goes faster but it is a fact that red is perceived to go faster!
When you design a product or a brand, think of how you’d like to project the quality of your subject. It certainly has to be high quality and you can see that the colour black dominates the result, followed by blue then white and grey. What constitutes ‘cheap’ or ‘ inexpensive’ then? Orange or yellow! You will also find that these colours are the top two least favourite colours!
The colour black, blue and grey are highly associated with high technology and interesting enough, is similar to the colour representations for reliability or dependability. This is especially useful in creating taglines or content for companies in the technology industry and their products.
Being brave or bold is often associated by the colour red, followed by the colour purple and blue. It is possible that the participants correlate purple with the Purple Heart bravery award. The combination of these colours are often observed in royal proceedings, robes and thrones. Do take note though that fear is mostly represented by the colour red too, followed by black.
Although the colour yellow and orange is perceived as cheap or inexpensive, it is also perceived as fun, together with the colour purple and red. Fun is also associated with youth, exciting, cheerful and jovial. This can be observed on the latest social media platforms targeting the younger demographic such as TikTok , Instagram and Snapchat.
When in doubt, choose the colour blue and abandon the colour brown or orange. Almost half of the participants identified blue as their favourite colour and it is preferred by either gender. Some studies have suggested that the cooler colour hues have a calming and relaxed effect. The survey has also found the colour orange and brown as the least desired colours followed by purple, yellow and grey.
See below for the distribution of favourite and least favourite colours from the survey. I have also included the chart filtered by gender although I think it’s not exactly relevant in this day and age.
Here’s a little tidbit on incorporating colours to sell your products on your website. Assuming that you have Google Analytics and Google Search Console integrated on your website, you’ll be able to find out the age group and gender (or the identified gender) of your visitors. You can incorporate the desired colours on your website or even on your product to make them attractive to your target audience. Or you can change your website colour scheme to instil confidence and reliability on your brand. It works.