The Connotations of Colour

Table of Contents

Everyone loves to see a rainbow with its beautiful array of colour decorating a sun-eclipsed sky. This spectacle has many ancient stories attached to it and symbolises promise, hope, new beginnings and pots of gold.

In reality however, it is a scientific phenomenon resulting from sunlight shining through raindrops as stormy clouds are interspersed with solar rays. It is a perfect example of clinical science creating emotional response – and that can teach us a lot about buying behaviour.

There is a real sense of magic surrounding a rainbow. No matter how many times you have seen one before, whatever age you are, and whether it is a faded or a glorious one… You will always stop and look or point one out to your friends. Rainbows are a colourful, powerful force and one which never fails to get a reaction.

Perhaps it is the mix of hues and the circular curve which entices our senses, but did you know that individual colours can also affect the way in which people think and act?

Studies have shown that people are prone to respond or react to different colours in different ways. Some will engender trust, others spell danger, and some simply make you feel warm and fuzzy. It is not an exact science, because there are exceptions to most rules, but it is still worth getting an understanding on how various colours can make people think and act. If you work in marketing, sales or in any customer facing role then this will be particularly important for you. And because it is applicable to the things your audience reads, watches, and picks up (your collateral) and the things that you wear (your clothes), it can be a powerful tool throughout your business.

Here’s a quick overview of some of my favourite connotations of colour:

Red: the colour of impulse, passion and possibly even danger, red is used to grab attention and highlight ‘must read’ sections of your marketing. It is also known as the colour of love and is supposed to make the wearer more attractive, or at the very least announce their presence.

Blue: is the colour of trust and dependability. It represents the corporate side of a business and suggests strength in a safe pair of hands. If you want your marketing to reassure its reader then blue would be a good place to start. And if you are going for an interview in the City it wouldn’t be a bad choice either.

Yellow: will be recognised as an extravagant, ‘I’ve got something to say’ voice in your marketing but will also be one that is difficult to take in or concentrate on. It is certainly a friendly colour and shouts happiness, optimism and good news (but it could easily be overdone). Bright yellow wearers are often ‘out there’ too.

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Green: creates the feeling of health and wellbeing. It is the colour of the earth and doing the right thing in the right way. Reassuringly peaceful and blessed with such a rich range of shades, green should be a great addition to your marketing if you want to promote goodness.

Purple: with its royal connections and reflecting all things luxurious, purple can make a very powerful, ‘stand out’ statement in your marketing. It also suggests a touch of creative flair and the willingness to try something different. Purple garments are often kept for big nights out or those people that have an obsession for rich tones.

So next time you pick up the mouse to throw some colour combinations together.

Think about how your colour choices could be conceived.

Thanks, Matt

PS. I’d love to hear your stories.. Just pop a comment in below and tell us how changing a colour in your marketing saw a positive response in your results.

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