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The Concept of Color in Graphic Design



Understanding color and its different meanings is essential when establishing a company’s brand. Color has the power to psychologically and physiologically impact the moods of consumers and their purchasing decisions. With an understanding of color meanings in business, you will gain an invaluable tool to get the best response to marketing and promotional efforts that can lead to creating a successful business.

Additionally, color is the most influential element in a brand, followed by shapes, symbols, and lastly words. Here is a list of what colors mean on a basic level to help develop your brand.

Red: energy, power, strength, excitement, leadership, passion, activity, aggressiveness

Red is a very physical color which draws attention to itself and calls for action to be taken. Physiologically, it stimulates and energizes the body, including the nerves and the circulation of blood, raising blood pressure and heart rate. It is also stimulating to the appetite and therefore a great color to use for any product associated with food and its service industry. On the other hand, this color is a universal sign of danger and warning. It can show and create aggressiveness and anger, particularly if used to excess in the wrong applications.

Orange: energy, cheerful, pleasure, enthusiasm, fascination, creativity, fun

Orange is a warm and vibrant color. It is energy combined with fun, the color of the risk-taker, the extrovert, and the free-spirited. In color psychology it means adventure, optimism, self-confidence and sociability. Physiologically, orange vitalizes, inspires, and creates enthusiasm. It is stimulating to the appetite and social conversation. Because of this, it works well in restaurants and other food outlets.

Yellow: optimism, childish, freshness, law, mental clarity, education

Yellow is a happy color creating a sense of cheerfulness and playfulness. Psychologically, it is optimistic, uplifting and illuminating, brightening people’s spirits. This color also stimulates the logical side of the brain and mental clarity. It inspires original thinking and creative ideas. Hint: why legal pads have yellow paper!

Green: calming, ambition, endurance, healing, generosity, nature, wealth

Green is the color of growth and vitality, associated with new life and renewal. It has a physiological effect to balance and find harmony of the mind, the body, and emotions. Green is associated with nature, health and healing, and the environment, creating a sense of compassion and nurturing for all. It encourages generosity, kindness, and sympathy. Darker greens relate to money, wealth, and prestige, leading to potential feelings of greed and selfishness.

Blue: security, stability, loyalty, confidence, trust, friendliness, calming, courage

Blue is the most universally favored color of all and therefore the safest to use. It relates to trust, honesty, and dependability, therefore helping to build customer loyalty. Physiologically, blue is calming, reducing tension and fear. It slows the pulse rate and reduces appetite. Blue works well for the corporate world and is often used for more conservative and financial companies where trust and reliability are important.

 Pink: compassion, romantic, feminine, love, beauty

Pink is associated with nurturing, love, and romance. It is feminine and youthful in its softer shades, with more passion and energy in its deeper shades. This color is inspiring to be compassionate, warm, comforting and hopeful. Physiologically, pink calms and reassures our emotional energies, alleviating feelings of anger, aggression, resentment, abandonment and neglect.

 Purple: luxury, royalty, spirituality, individualism, mystery, intuition, idealism

Purple suggests wealth and extravagance, fantasy and the world of dreams. It enhances spiritual pursuits and enlightenment. Physiologically, purple heightens people’s sense of beauty and their reaction to more creative ideas. This color is most often used by businesses in creative fields such as designers, psychics, and cosmetic manufacturers.

 Black: Powerful, mysterious, formal, sophisticationcolor 

Black means authority, power, and control. From a physiological perspective, this color can be intimidating, unfriendly and unapproachable in many situations. Alternatively, its powerful essence can be seen as sophisticated, dignified, and serious to instill confidence within individuals. Black creates an air of mystery and secrecy.

Graphic by Allie Wilson

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