It is said, in the psychology of colour, that different colours can signify different emotions. Pure white is seen as clean, contemporary and sterile. Blue, a favourite colour of the corporate world, is said to signify reliability, conservatism and trustworthiness while purple has luxury and even regal associations, born of its origins – being the most expensive of dyes to create. Lilac, a lighter derivative of purple is said to have a similar calming and soothing affect to green and blue but with warmth and a subtle femininity which sees it used successfully in healthcare environments.
That said, different colours can have different associations across different cultures. In Russia, red represents beauty, in East Asian countries, red is associated with Sundays, while in Japan, red is the colour used to denote a heroic figure. In terms of colour psychology red tends to generate polarised reactions, being seen as all about strength, warmth, vigour and excitement or the colour of aggression. ‘Seeing red’ is a term that transcends many languages to suggest warning and defiance. Interestingly, although red is not technically the most visible colour, it is also ubiquitous as an attention grabber, being used for sale banners and warning signs.
In branding terms, colour can also be more memorable than shape or name and can increase brand recognition by up to 80%.
Yellow’s brightness and clarity has led to its association with confidence and creativity and is often used in association with food or with generating attention. One of the primary colours, yellow can also evoke emotions from the viewer such as speed and may be the reason why it is selected for use in areas such as fast food as in the case of A-Cast for McDonalds (above).