4 MIN READ | Cognitive Psychology

Dennis Relojo-Howell

The Psychology of Colours and How to Take Advantage of Them

Cite This
Dennis Relojo-Howell, (2021, July 7). The Psychology of Colours and How to Take Advantage of Them. Psychreg on Cognitive Psychology. https://www.psychreg.org/psychology-colours/
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Do you know what’s the most important element when it comes to advertising design? Some would say the headline, while others will say it’s the images used. Others would even say that the written information is the most crucial. Whatever the case may be, almost everyone agrees that the colours used in the layout are highly critical to the success of the design.

For example, have you ever tried to make a good flyer design? It’s all about the copy, clarity, and yes — color. True, that a good online flyer maker will solve this easily (Venngage has hundreds of professional templates, icons, photos, and elements to choose from) but learning about colour is still crucial knowledge for designers.

Why? Because color is one of the first things that people will immediately see when you give them a flyer. This goes beyond flyer design but any advertising in general. Without engaging colours to pique curiosities, even a well-meaning flyer can find itself chucked down the bin. 

No doubt about it, color designs are, in essence, a very important element to be wary of when it comes to advertising. 

Let us discuss something called color psychology.

Colouring our minds

Everywhere you look, the world is a canvas of color. Because we are so ingrained with color, it also has the ability to trigger ’emotional cues’ within us. What this means is that certain colours can get us emotionally invested and make us feel a certain way.

Advertisers and designers have been using this ‘trick’ for years. They are using colours to get us not only attracted but see what they want us to see or feel however they intended. How color affects our minds and feelings is something that is carefully studied for a long time now.

While colour psychology is not an exact science, its effectiveness is pretty much undeniable.

Want to learn more about how colours are perceived in general? Let’s go deeper into the specifics. 

How about brown?

Brown tends to be associated with earth or material things. Just like the earth itself, putting brown in your layout will give your design a feeling of stability and strength. A good flyer will probably be dominated by brown if the ad wants to convey a feeling of solidness and strong build. 

Grey is here to stay

The color grey tends to give off feelings of sadness, alienation, and detachment. Did you notice how this color tends to dominate PSA ads with charities and victims of crimes? 

Gray tends to pull on the heartstrings of the viewer. By the way, grey’s emptiness can also be used to draw attention to other parts of your layout. The parts you want to emphasize to your viewers.

Not all is morose when it comes to the color grey, though. Sometimes people will also associate this color with maturity, dependability, and security. Sometimes colours can have two sides to them.

Red is rad

Red is something you have probably seen a lot in advertising, and there is a good reason why. It is the color of fire, which connotes intensity. Red is also the colour that exudes exuberant energy. Notice how every ad that wants you to know about their price slashes and sales is plastered in red. It also gives off the feeling of urgency; that is why emergency buttons are almost always red.

Red is also the colour of war and power. Nearly all war propaganda and ads are going to have some red in them. It also gives off a feeling of courage, action, and confidence.

Interestingly, red is also the color of love. This is most likely due to the depiction of the heart’s color. So there is a good reason why the world turns red every time Valentine’s day rolls around.

On another note, this color also represents hunger – one reason why fast-food chains adorn themselves with this colour.

Why so blue?

Blue is something that we associate with the sky and the sea. Blue exudes in us feelings of calm, slowness, and serenity. This is a big reason why spas and resorts love using the color blue when they make their flyer design or other ads.

Blue is also a colour that we tend to view as trustworthy, smart, and dependable. This is why banks, financial institutions, and schools love making us see blue when it comes to their branding. 

We are all yellow

Quick, what do you think of when you see the color yellow? Chances are, your answer will be that big hot ball in the sky. Yellow is often associated with energy and happiness. Talk about a sunny disposition.

If you want to look a bit more aggressive but want to exude the joys of the color yellow, go for orange. 

Go green

This one is a no-brainer. Green is basically a color we associate with nature. Ergo, we associate the color green with cleanliness, growth, and freshness. Wellness companies love employing this colour because it makes us feel safe with what we are buying from them.

Green is also the color of money. That is why this color is great for brands that want to exude wealth and prosperity.

Purple power

The color purple combines the best of blue and red. It retains some of the aggressiveness and confidence of red while retaining the calm and serenity of blue. Purple also has a strong feminine feel to it.

Purple also gives off the feeling of regency, luxury, and royalty. You can also use purple if you want your brand or ad to feel magical and mysterious.

Time to colour up

Whether you want to make a good flyer, amazing collaterals, paint your office walls, use an online flyer maker, etc., learning about the effects of colours on our minds is always a good idea. 


Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg.

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