How Color Can Influence Emotions

As a service that primarily focuses on visuals, we’re naturally a little obsessed with color! Whether we realize it or not, color plays a role in the decisions that we make every day by subtly changing how we feel. From increasing appetite to making people uncomfortable (on purpose!) color has the power to influence your audience’s emotions – for better or for worse. While we’re not going to get too deep into color theory here, we are going to provide you with a starting point as you decide which shades and hues will represent your business best.

RED

Red is a classic choice for logos, utilized by some of the biggest brands in the world. It’s also a great option for CTAs (call to action) and anything you want to stand out. Be careful how you use it, though, as red is known as the most anxiety-inducing color.

Positive Emotions: passion, love, excitement, strength, power, courage, boldness
Negative Emotions: anger, danger, fear, evil, anxiety, aggression

 


ORANGE

Orange can stimulate appetite, increase energy and promote all kinds of positive feelings. It packs a punch similar to red, but comes off as less aggressive. Try experimenting with different hues and shades to see which one feels best for your business.

Positive Emotions: enthusiasm, energy, warmth, uplifting, stimulating, shelter, rejuvenation, vitality
Negative Emotions: warning, exhaustion, overpowering

 


YELLOW

The happiest color of them all! Yellow is said to promote feelings of happiness and positivity, bringing warmth and light to everything it touches. Yellow can be difficult to see in certain hues, so we recommend saving those bright lemon yellows for supporting colors and graphics.

Positive Emotions: sympathy, happiness, warmth, positivity, sunshine, optimism, cheerful
Negative Emotions: cowardly, anxiety, illness

 


GREEN

Green is one of the most calming colors, partly because it can be found so abundantly in nature. Green is said to stimulate creativity, stress-relief and overall mind-body balance. Green pairs nicely with most colors, including itself!

Positive Emotions: Growth, progress, nature, health, renewal, progress, vitality, youthfulness, balance
Negative Emotions: envy, jealousy, greed, illness

 


BLUE

Ah blue, hands down the most common favorite color of all. Could this be because it’s the color of some of the best things? (sky, water, blueberries, Elsa’s dress in Frozen) or because it has literally been shown to reduce blood pressure, heart rates and enhance our memory? Either way, its notoriety and power are unmatched on the color wheel.

Positive Emotions: Relaxing, peaceful, tranquil, loyal, brave, insightful, spiritual, wisdom, serenity
Negative Emotions: sad, cold, unfriendly, stormy

 


PURPLE

While purple is often associated with eccentricity, in the right shade and context it can also be used in more serious environments. Purple is said to stimulate creativity, which is useful in most businesses and organizations.

Positive Emotions: Royal, creative, wealthy, harmony, mystery, magic, whimsy, playful, spiritual
Negative Emotions: Arrogant, unsettled, uncomfortable

 


PINK

Gone are the days when pink solely represented little girls and princesses. These days, pink is used as a way to both demand attention and inspire softness, depending on the hue. Jail cells have been known to be painted in pale pinks due to it’s ability to neutralize aggression. Pink power!

Positive Emotions: Calming, innocence, femininity, romance, sweetness, playfulness, excitement
Negative Emotions: Inexperienced, weak, immature, emotional

 


BLACK

You can’t get any more classic than a black logo. In fact, we make sure all of our logo designs look great in black since it’s not as forgiving as other colors. If your logo looks great in black, there’s a good chance it will look great in color! And as a primary brand color, black can make a statement like no other color can.

Positive Emotions: assertive, mature, authoritative, bold, dramatic, elegant, sophisticated
Negative Emotions: depressing, low-energy, evil, despair, mourning

 


BROWN

While we find that we use brown most often as a supporting color, for the right brand it can really steal the show! Brown brings us back to nature, helping us feel grounded and wholesome. Try pairing brown with more energetic colors to bring balance, or let it shine all by itself as a strong statement. 

Positive Emotions: sensible, grounded, earthy, warmth, homey, reliable, authentic, historical
Negative Emotions: impersonal, dirty, death

 


GRAY

Gray tends to fade and blend where other colors pop so it’s not one that you see used as the backbone of a brand very often, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done! We often use gray as a secondary or tertiary brand color as it’s an excellent neutral that lets the main colors shine.

Positive Emotions: authoritative, refined, mature, calming, elegant, wise
Negative Emotions: depressing, dampening, cloudy, solemn, disconnected

 


WHITE

White plays an extremely important role in design. There’s a reason white is the default base color for almost everything – paintings, writing, websites, those mugs with the sayings on them. It’s because it’s a high-energy neutral that allows all of the other colors to shine. While white can be challenging to use as a primary color in branding, look to some of the global brands who’ve done it right and note the things that make it work. 

Positive Emotions: purity, clarity, illumination, goodness, empowerment, heavenly
Negative Emotions: distant, impersonal, artificial, sterile

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