The Meaning of Colors

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What’s in a color?

I’m about to launch a new company and we’re designing the logo. I’m here to tell you, don’t underestimate this part of the process.

Colors carry specific meaning. Colors push this meaning to you automatically, meaning you don’t need to calculate this upon seeing a color, your brain does this for you. So a color is very important to get right for your company, and a palette of colors is important too. The context of those colors holds meaning as well.

Colors are culture specific, they hold meaning based on what a person has learned or on a biological basis as well, the way all things mean something, or affect us. The company Glasglow researched and found that blue street lights were found to have a calming effect and installed them in certain neighborhoods to reduce crime.

Carl Jung is most prominently associated with the pioneering stages of color psychology. Jung was most interested in colors’ properties and meanings, as well as in art’s potential as a tool for psychotherapy. His studies in and writings on color symbolism cover a broad range of topics, from mandalas to the works of Picasso to the near-universal sovereignty of the color gold.

Colors also have an association with what we think food will taste like. They can enhance the effectiveness of placebos, for example, red and orange pills are generally used as stimulants for this reason.

In marketing, the effects of color on buying or product preference are proven and you must watch how different audience might assign color differently based on culture, age, religion, or gender, not to mention just one’s own personal experiences. For some reason I’m not fond of orange right now.

1. RED – anger, passion, rage, desire, excitement, energy, speed, strength, power, heat, love, aggression, danger, fire, blood, war, violence

2. PINK – love, innocence, healthy, happy, content, romantic, charming, playfulness, soft, delicate, feminine

3. YELLOW – wisdom, knowledge, relaxation, joy, happiness, optimism, idealism, imagination, hope, sunshine, summer, dishonesty, cowardice, betrayal, jealousy, covetousness, deceit, illness, hazard

4. ORANGE – humor, energy, balance, warmth, enthusiasm, vibrant, expansive, flamboyant

5. GREEN – healing, soothing, perseverance, tenacity, self-awareness, proud, unchanging nature, environment, healthy, good luck, renewal, youth, vigour, spring, generosity, fertility, jealousy, inexperience, envy

6. BLUE – faith, spirituality, contentment, loyalty, fulfillment peace, tranquility, calm, stability, harmony, unity, trust, truth, confidence, conservatism, security, cleanliness, order, sky, water, cold, technology, depression

7. PURPLE/VIOLET – erotic, royalty, nobility, spirituality, ceremony, mysterious, transformation, wisdom, enlightenment, cruelty, arrogance, mourning, power, sensitive, intimacy

8. BROWN – materialistic, sensation, earth, home, outdoors, reliability, comfort, endurance, stability, simplicity

9. BLACK – No, power, sexuality, sophistication, formality, elegance, wealth, mystery, fear, anonymity, unhappiness, depth, style, evil, sadness, remorse, anger

10. WHITE – Yes, protection, love, reverence, purity, simplicity, cleanliness, peace, humility, precision, innocence, youth, birth, winter, snow, good, sterility, marriage (Western cultures), death (Eastern cultures), cold, clinical, sterile

11. SILVER – riches, glamorous, distinguished, earthy, natural, sleek, elegant, high-tech

12. GOLD – precious, riches, extravagance. warm, wealth, prosperity, grandeur

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