Dye Another Day
Let me begin this one with a question – What does everything in this world have in common? Now if you managed to crack my ‘extremely subtle’ pun in the title, you know that the answer is colour! All that we see around us is bursting with colour, yet it’s surprising how little attention we pay to it. Could it be that its ability to intrigue the subconscious is what reduces it to a mere afterthought?
The inspiration for this post came from a casual experiment that occurred recently. While working on a branding idea for chocolates, I decided to get an outsider’s opinion on the colour palette. Among the shortlisted ones, a lavender-brown combination emerged the winner. It’s natural to want brown in a logo for chocolates, but why lavender? I don’t know, it just feels right, they said. What they didn’t realize was that they were associating chocolate with the world-renowned Cadbury, a brand that only occurs in purple. They chose the lavender, which is basically just a light purple, because Cadbury’s signature shade has conditioned their minds to think that purple is the ideal colour to represent confectionery.
Similarly, if I were to show you a combination of colours with no other visual cue, I bet you’d have no trouble assigning it to the correct brand, thus proving that colours are the backbone of any branding success.
Can you guess the brand just by looking at this color palette?
Each year, Pantone Inc. (the authority on colour systems in the world) releases a Colour of the Year. This hue is not decided at random, but is a symbolic colour selection; a snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture. For designers, it is an instant insight into the prevailing mood or attitude of our audience. One of the most relevant examples of this can be traced back to the 2008 recession, a period of growing public resentment. In such troubling times, people needed reassurance more than anything. Thus, Mimosa, a warm, engaging yellow was chosen to be the colour of 2009. Why? Because Mimosa perfectly represented hope, an emotion often associated with the colour yellow. Humans are naturally drawn to this particular hue because of its nurturing characteristics. Using this to their advantage, brands dished out as much Mimosa as possible to reinstate the public’s faith. And what better way to encourage people than to flood their lives with a vibrant, perky hue that instantly washed their worries away.
Thus, the psychology of colour as it relates to persuasion is one of the most crucial aspects of design. While it serves as an important tool in branding, one cannot discount the functional aspects of colour.
Your order has been placed.
Your order has been placed.
Of the two, the red inculcates a slight tinge of panic, while the green, undoubtedly, has positive connotations.
Thus, colours find significance in a variety of design strategies. Whether it’s a red that induces a feeling of hunger, or a pastel blue that calms the mind, be it a gold that represents wealth or a pink overflowing with romance, designers milk the influence of colour in more ways than one. Fortunately for us, the world of colour opens up a rainbow of possibilities.
Hue would’ve thought?