How Does Color Improve Your Mood?
Just like warm weather and sunshine makes you feel good, certain colors can just make you feel better. This is a proven fact and using the right colors in your work can change the way your readers feel about you as well. For example, yellow and orange have always been associated with happiness and blue or green has been known to promote peacefulness. Using certain colors on your website can set the mood for your readers to improve your readability and increase sales. However, you do have to know a little bit about the psychology of color to use it properly.
Believe it or not, color psychology has been around since the late 17th century when Sir Isaac Newton found that each color has its own wavelength. Others went on to discover that you could blend light to make other colors and that some have a sort of warm aura while others are cool colors. For example, the red spectrum of colors such as orange and yellow, are known to be cool colors and the blue spectrum is made up of warmer colors like green and purple. Let’s look at some of the basic colors and what they mean.
Photo courtesy of tes.com
As we all know, red is associated with love and intensity. It is a strong and vibrant hue that usually brings very strong emotions in people. It can be an energetic and powerful color that evokes confidence, self-assuredness, and control. It can also be a fun and passionate color that sets off emotions of romance in some people. Hence, the reason for red roses and hearts on Valentine’s Day.
The color orange can also be an energetic hue that inspires happiness and makes you feel uplifted. While there are some people who say orange is energetic and happy because it is a blend of red and yellow colors, which makes sense because red is energetic and yellow is a happy color. Bright orange can be an attention getter dark orange may cause a calmer feeling.
Sunshine is referred to as yellow and it invokes a brightness to anything it appears in. If you want to create a happy and warm website that grabs attention and does not let go, try using the colors yellow, orange, and red. All three of these colors and the various hues in between can increase the intensity and energy of any page.
Blue is the color of the sky and has been known as a primarily male color all over the world. It is a color that promotes peace and serenity as well as reliability. It is one of the most often used color in marketing and advertising because it exudes a professional sincerity that gives people a sense of security.
For many, the color green is a symbol of good luck, healthiness, and nature. It is also known as a tranquil shade that promotes a calming effect similar to blue. Because green is a blend of blue (a warm color) and yellow (a cool color), it has the ability to create an atmosphere of both happiness and serenity. It has been used to relieve stress and is a common color for doctor’s offices.
Since the 15th century, the color purple has been associated with royalty and wealth because it cost more for manufacturers to make the color. However, it is not just known for its high society use. It is also a symbolic color that is used for awards such as the Purple Heart, which is one of the most honorable awards for bravery in the American military.
No matter what colors you choose for your website, make sure they are pleasing to the eye and blend well together. Some colors just do not look good together. Have others take a look at your color palette before you publish your final product.
Love is most often associated with the color red. Be that by conditioning of incessant advertising or that we are drawn to it by nature. Secondary to red is of course pink, in almost any level of saturation.
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Red is one of those colors that possesses the strongest Ying and Yang of its theoretical definitions. Between love and hate, rebirth and death, the human relationship in any combination, could literally be summed up in the meaning of the color Red. Pink has what I would describe as a temperamental scale, more based on softness versus loudness than the extreme left or right end of the spectrum.
"Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love." - paper-leaf.com // COLOR THEORY poster freebie
As we know, colors can generate a wide variety of emotions. Red might be the most diverse and along with pink, a tag-along little sister, many other colors in tow can lend a visual message of love a great big pop!
Falling in Love by Etsy artist, DJEMBE & CANVAS
"Cranes represent longevity and grace. The flocks ascend our champagne symphony, where love is blessed upon those who simply believe." - posted by artist at the listing
The artist gave us a wonderfully light feeling with this palette and the birds adding further motion. I also like how the painting balances the realities of "love" with a little bit of darkness in the bottom right corner. What do you think of this palette and representation of falling in love?
We have come to the nail biting finale of the Full Color Training Scholarship Contest where two winners will get to spend four days saturated in color with Leatrice Eiseman (colorexpert.com) in Burbank, California. COLOURlovers were asked to submit a palette they connected to their life, how color impacts their life as well as how they would like to use color more, to impact the lives of others.
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We asked each finalist what they would expect to bring back from the class to apply to both their life personally and if applicable, professionally. Lastly, if they had any questions for Leatrice Eiseman. I have included these responses below. So without further adieu, because I know many of you stayed up waiting to hear...
First Place - Full Scholarship: Linda Holt
Occupation: Designer / Photographer
What she does: Owner of New Light Redesign (newlightredesign.com).
Location: Massachusetts, USA
"My intention should I win would be to apply my new color knowledge in my business. I have been doing interior color consulting for the past year but I want to take it to the next level. Like I mentioned in my application, I feel like the more I learn about color the more I realize there is to learn. Since my eye was trained for so many years as a photographer to see color as "light", the switch over to seeing color as pigment has been profound for me. I never knew until I bought Leatrice's books that color affects our moods. I guess I knew it intuitively but I am just fascinated by the whole psychology of color. Please please please pick me...I REALLY want to come. I promise I will work hard and be a good student!"
Linda's Questions for Leatrice:
1. Has Leatrice had a life long love of color and what was her path to becoming the "guru" she is today?
2. What inspires her when it comes to choosing color pallets?
3. What is the process for Pantone in choosing the much anticipated "color of the year"?
Linda has had this class on her calendar every year for at least the past two years. It is a lifetime dream for her to attend. Congratulations Linda!
First place will receive a fully paid scholarship for tuition to the Color + Design Training Program, plus a copy of the book, PANTONE® The 20th Century in Color, by Leatrice (co-authored with Keith Recker).
Understanding color can be a daunting task with many dead ends. Have you ever taken a color theory class only to be left feeling like it didn’t teach you anything to do with applying color in the real world?
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Maybe you have an awesome natural instinct for putting together cohesive palettes or colorizing fabulous patterns perfectly, but why are you so good at it? Validating the why, where and when of color will change your entire outlook on color and what it can do to your personal or professional life.
Color opportunities exist in many industries. Companies need color design expertise to guide them through the many choices they have to make as a successful business. Choices they must make involving color range from advertising, product design, branding and many more. You need credible, verifiable information to back up your decisions as a consultant or designer and you need more than a simple love for color to get you there.
If you’re a big film, tv, or theatre buff, you’ve probably witnessed a fair amount of subtext. This principle can be applied to more than just those mediums though! Today, we explore how you use the lens of subtext to look at your website and improve your digital presence by uniting your color scheme with your actual text.
First though, what is subtext? Think about it as the underlying theme or message in a conversation. In film, it can be seen with lighting choices, costumes, a character’s body language and really anything that isn’t apart of the actual dialog. I’ll use the movie Jurassic Park as an example.
There are some colors, when paired together, that just look good. They make sense, they match. There are also those colors which, put side by side, make your eyes burn. Ok, maybe not actually burn, but you know what I mean.
The question is: why? Why do certain color combinations look serene or exciting and others garish or completely boring? I want to explore the why of color combinations, some of the science and some of the psychology and how you, as a business person, can put those colors to work for you.
Covering Some Color Basics - Intro to Color Theory 101
Before we dive into the “why” of certain color schemes and how to use them to speak to your potential clients, let’s cover some color basics to make sure we’re all on the same page. COLOURlover pros and veterans, feel free to jump to the next section.
For the purpose of this post, I’ll be using the Red/Yellow/Blue color model as the primary colors on our subtractive color wheel (this subtractive wheel is what painters and artists use). For a look at the use of the Cyan/Magenta/Yellow color model used by printers, feel free to take a look at our recents posts discussing RGB versus CMYK conversions.
The Red/Yellow/Blue color model is what most of us grew up learning. Arranged in correspondence with the wavelengths of light, the original color wheel was invented by Isaac Newton. We wrote a complete history of the various color wheels recently, if you are curious and want to know more.
The color wheel that most are familiar with usually looks like this:
Secondary colors on this wheel are made by combining 2 primary colors. Likewise, tertiary colors are formed by mixing a primary and a secondary hue.
Source: Eva Williams
We’ve all seen it. We go for a visit to the doctor and the walls are a lovely, quintessential pale mint green. We go to grab a burger and milkshake somewhere and the decor boasts the archetypal red, black, white, and chrome (I’m looking at you, Five Guys, Checkers, McDonald's, Steak ‘n Shake, and In-N-Out Burger!). We sit down with a banker, lawyer, or sales representative and are surrounded by dark wood and conventional creams.
(right column: medical-logos.com & logodesignteam)
It seems that every industry has its color cliches, its norms. The question for up-and-coming businesses is whether to conform to these colorful essentials or break tradition and stand out from the crowd. Both options have their positives and negatives.
Branching Into a New Color Palette
There are certainly benefits to thinking outside the corporate color box. Not least of which would be that a new business would be easy to distinguish from others in its niche.
If every other beachside hotel in Florida makes use of pale sea-foam greens, muted oranges, and faded pinks, an upstart oceanfront bed and breakfast might do well to opt for fully saturated sunrise hues. And if every dentist office in the tri-state area chooses iconic mint green for its soothing effects, perhaps the new dentist in town could stake its claim through calming lavender tones. As we’ve established, most businesses fall neatly in either a red or blue pile. So, going for anything outside those two hues instantly lends itself to differentiation and notice.
Using Stereotypes to Your Advantage
Any small business owner will tell you that just getting their company doors open is a feat unto itself. And that doesn’t include branding, colors, or any of the things that us creatives consider fun. It’s just filing all the appropriate paperwork and jumping through the various hoops and red tape associated with opening a business. It makes sense then that so many businesses tend toward the colors already in use in their field. After all, those businesses have already gone through the branding gauntlet and come out successful on the other side.
Another aspect to the trend towards the familiar comes in catering to the needs of the consumer. If dark blue tends to be the color of financial institutions, customers come to expect it. When they enter a business exhibiting the colors common to a particular business, it reinforces for the customer that they’ve found exactly what they were looking for.
So, what do you think, lovers? Is it worth the risk to stand outside the substantial kingdoms of red and blue or is paying homage to the tried-and-true hues a better business decision? Are there any color cliches in the small business world that I didn’t talk about?
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Let me paint a picture for you. You’ve just started working with a new designer. You sat down with that person, explained all of your dreams for the design, and left the meeting feeling like you were really on the same page. Then the next time you meet with them, they present a design that is completely different than what you expected. It’s not necessarily a bad design, but it is definitely different than what you described.
This is what I like to call a “lost in translation” moment. And it’s exactly what inspired me to create this guide on translating “design talk.”
Why is there a disconnect?
Many designers received their formal education in traditional art. Yes, even the digital artists! For example, my lead designer, Frank Candamil, has degrees in Art and Digital Media. Because of his background, I know that when he says something like “hue” or “tint,” he’s talking about the classic definitions of the words. However, when a client says a term like that, it’s unclear if they are referring to the definition or a colloquialism.
Common design terms and meanings
After talking with our Brand Mangers and Designers at Rise, I compiled a list of terms that we hear our clients say all of the time and can be misinterpreted. Let’s explore the terms and what they mean to each party.
In branding for small businesses, the importance of color continuity across mediums cannot be overstated. Color is one of the first ways a person identifies a company’s brand. Making sure those colors are seen as often as possible in as many spaces as possible is one of the best ways for an organization to increase brand recognition, build trust, and encourage loyalty in the long-term.
One of the best examples of branding through color is from one of our clients at Rise, Hart & Huntington Orlando Tattoo Company. Rise is my Orlando web design company whose main focus is to engage our client's communities through the digital space.
Who is H&H?
Founded in 2007, Hart & Huntington Orlando Tattoo Company is a division of celebrity motocross and off-road truck racer Carey Hart’s Hart & Huntington Tattoo Company. If that sounds familiar to you, you may have seen Hart & Huntington Vegas featured on A&E’s television series Inked. H&H Orlando delivers a clean, professional tattoo shop staffed with the best artists in the world.
After our initial meetings with H&H Orlando owner Chris Turck, we set about the business of honing in on look and feel that he and his team wanted to project to the world.
One of the ways we work with clients to finalize their overall design, including color choice, is to mock up one or two mood boards. A mood board is a poster that represents what a website may look and feel like. It isn’t an actual homepage design but gives the impression, through color, text, and images, of how one might want their site to look and the emotions or moods they want it to evoke.
For H&H Orlando we created two very different mood boards.
One, a bright, playful take, reminiscent of some of the excellent artwork created by their talented staff.
The work of Daniera ter Haar & Christoph Brach, who have become better known by the name of one of their projects, Raw Color, is highly prismatic, covering the spectrum between art, design, photography and color research by mixing the powerful colors of vegetables, innovative color harvesting processes, with unique applications for print and textiles. Each project is created with an astute design sense and captured with stunningly composed photography.
The Eindhoven, Netherlands based team uses color as the 'connection between their different practices' posing questions like, 'what is the nature of a color and what is the connection to its physical state?' This post focuses on their use of photography. In a pervious post we covered their research on vegetable pigments, and we will cover their design work in an upcoming post.
This photo series is playing with the perception of stuffed birds. The written word is a reference to the former voice signature of each bird, the peeping. In Ornithology (the study of birds) this is specified by each bird species. These animals being exposed to the camera are now nothing more than an image of themselves, they are no longer flying or whistling. Via a mix of colours, letters and birds evolves an image from universal language. Our starting point was the historical collection stuffed animals from MEC in Eindhoven. 'Peep' is presented at the exhibition 'Stuffed' during the Dutch Design Week 2008, were all the participating designers are inspired from the stuffed animals, translated into their own designs. After this exhibition 'Stuffed' went on tour and was on show at Salone del Mobile, Milano 2009 and at the NAI, Maastricht 2009.