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

Online Advertising Privacy Regulation: In It To Spin It!

AdAge is talking about the release of the free privacy online icon to smaller companies, not just the license of them to large companies. The icon allows users to opt-out of behavioral targeting. Here’s what the icon looks like:

Free Privacy Online Icon

Open or Closed

It’s not black and white but if it were, there would be ‘open’ people, and there would be ‘closed’ people with regard to behavior online.

Open: Yes, pay attention to my behavior so I don’t receive irrelevant ads. Oooh, horseback riding just a couple of miles away!
Closed: I do not want you to track anything I do online. And, stop sending me stupid ads! (?)

Open: Remember me. I’m terrible at remembering passwords and I sign up for a lot of stuff because I love the Internet.
Closed: Do not save or cookie any information of mine. Hey why do I have to fill out this form again! (?)

Open: Online privacy controls are fine, but allow me to hand the keys over to the Digital Advertising Alliance or FTC. Innocent until proven guilty. I have little to hide.
Closed: I demand online privacy controls, um I have no idea how to use them exactly, what does this lever do? (?)

My point is, smart people are making legislation in 2012 to give you closed people options, for your protection. But, you are wearing swimming earplugs to the fire hydrant party, it’s underkill.

You know how when a police car rides up behind you arbitrarily, though you are doing nothing wrong, he’s like a yellow jacket flying around your picnic sandwich, your heart rate increases, and you wish he’d leave? On the other hand, when the neighbors are fighting in the middle of the night and it sounds like are going to kill each other, when you see those red and blue flashing lights you feel safe and happy they are there?

That’s my policy. The government has every right (and responsibility) to protect you. You, as well, should have every right to opt out of that. Me? My policy is be careful with my money, and separate my spam from my important email, but other than that, I fall hard into the ‘open’ category. Here is a Klout.com list you can follow of others I find ‘open’ on Twitter:

My “open” list on Klout.

(…and by the way, I’m open to suggestions to that list. Because I’m open. You get it.)

Either way, as usual, expect growth in online ad spending in the upcoming years:

Online Ad Spending Forecast

Because as web sites, blogs, magazines, promotions and more expand online, so does the advertising landscape:

Online Ad Channels

The biggest activity (behavior) we take part in online (beside perhaps the one-handed 30-second rewind ~ meow!) is search. Here is where you’ll see most of the digital advertising:

Market Share by Search Engine

I Hate Shopping

An estimated that 30% of online digital ads ($28.5 billion) in the U.S. use behavioral tracking, says AdAge. I want my advertisers to know me, what I like, and how I act. Maybe I’m lacking the old-fashioned gene that makes people drive to a store and walk around looking on the racks and shelves for supplies. It just feels a bit Little House on the Prairie to me.

Online recommendations (live or culled), stylists and catalogs with fun interactivity and social sharing sounds better. Webvan is gone but did you notice Safeway has taken it back up?