A Little Colour


There is no one colour for situations. Different advertisers and different products work well with different colours. Knowledge of this helps, but the matter gets complex quite quickly. A colour that works for one situation might be counterproductive in another. Even a variation on the same colour might give a very different result. In the end we have to go by out intuition. We have to look at how a potential target market will see our advert.

is often quoted as the happiest colour, but some people associate certain shades of yellow with cowardice; and the colour yellow is used for quarantine. Bright yellow seems a better bet than pale yellow. Used in the right way yellow is optimistic, confident and extraverted.

is seen as warm, secure, fun and a little sensual. It can also be seem as a little immature in some sense, which is not quite in contraction with the earlier, positive traits. Orange might be the warmth and security of a child’s nurtured dependence on a parent. This is appropriate for some products.

is seen as physically tranquil, feminine, loving and slightly sensual. Some connect it with the survival of the species. Other see it as slightly weak, un-masculine. Interestingly, before the mid-20th century pink was seen as the colour for boys, with light blue for girls. We don’t know why this has changed, it might all be the result of cultural conditioning.

is neutral, slightly depressing, unenergetic. It might work for a background, but not too much else. Engineers use grey a lot. Few other do.

is strong, warm and courageous. It is a stimulating colour, quite striking and sensual but in some cases it is associated with danger, aggression or anger. It does appear a lot in some advertising as it often seems to stand out.

is difficult to classify; our eyes can discern more shades of green than any other colour, possible because it is in the middle of the colour spectrum. It is connected with balance and harmony. It is also associated with environmental awareness, the military and St Patrick’s day. Use green on a case by case basis.

is another colour that comes with many shades and shades of meaning. It has associations with luxury, complexity, depth, spiritual awareness and truth. Purple pigment was once difficult to produce, so it was considered rare and only available to the rich. The only negative connections are introversion, indulgence and decadence.

is another popular colour. Dark blue is connected with intelligence, efficiency, logic, authority and calm reflection. It can be a little aloof. Light blue has a different effect to dark blue

The combination of colours is probably more important than any colour in isolation. Advertisers with have to use their intuition in their design choices.

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