Brain Facts
How colors activate your emotions

How colors manipulate your emotions

  • SumoMe

People react very emotional to the wide range of different colors. By looking at one we connect it with our memories to associate the color with personal experiences. Especially for marketing activities colors are perfect to arouse emotions. Interesting: Colors can have three different effects.

Three color effects

Psychological effect
This effect is based on your personal experiences. For example the connection between yellow and “holiday”, “heat” and “freshness”.

Symbolical effect
“Sky-blue” is a good example for the symbolical effect. Such colors can be associated with a specific object.

Cultural effect
Some colors have different meanings in cultures. The color white, for example, is usually associated with pureness and innocence in the western culture. In eastern culture it is the color for the death and sadness.

The meaning of colors

The meaning of yellow

In general associated with: joy, happiness, intellect, energy, comfort, liveliness, cowardice, hunger, optimism, overwhelm, Summer, conflict

Yellow is the color of sunshine. It has a warm effect to the viewer, arouses cheerfulness and stimulates the mental activities. It is a good attention-grabber, so that’s why the color of taxicabs is often yellow. Use it to mark the most important things on your product or your next greeting card. But be careful: Too much yellow has a disturbing effect.

Light yellow stands for: intellect, freshness, joy

Dull yellow stands for: caution, decay, sickness, jealousy

Most suitable for the following business areas: childcare, food & drink, entertainment, new technologies, automotive, e-commerce

The meaning of red

In general associated with: energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination passion, desire, love, warmth, anger, boldness, excitement, speed, strength, courage, socialism

Red is the color of fire and blood. It has a very emotionally intention and a high visibility. That’s why important street signs, stoplights and fire equipment are usually contain elements of the red color. The high visibility can also help to highlight important things in a text or an image. So, use it for business projects to stimulate people to make quick decisions. In the world of advertisement, red is often used to evoke erotic feelings or for promoting something with a lot of energy.

Light red stands for: joy, sexuality, passion, sensitivity, love

Dark red stands for: vigor, willpower, rage, anger, leadership, courage, longing, malice, wrath

Pink stands for: romance, love, friendship

Most suitable for the following business areas: food, clothing, fashion, cosmetic, sport, properties, entertainment, healthcare, emergency services, marketing, public relations

The meaning of blue

In general associated with: depth, stability, trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, heaven, peace, professionalism, reliability, honor, melancholia, boredom, coldness, Winter, conservatism

Blue is the color of the sea and the sky. It has a calming effect and helps people to relax. Use it to integrate cleanliness into your ad, design or bathroom. Because blue is linked to consciousness and intellect, you can also use it to suggest precision (for example for high-tech products). Furthermore blue is a very masculine color.

Light blue stands for: health, healing, tranquility, understanding, softness

Dark blue stands for: knowledge, power, integrity, seriousness

Most suitable for the following business areas: medicine, sciences, energy, government, healthcare, high-tech, human resource management/recruiting, commerce, consulting, law, information science

The meaning of green

In general associated with: growth, harmony, freshness, fertility, safety, money, durability, reliability, environmental, luxurious, optimism, well-being, nature, calm, relaxation, Spring, honesty, optimism

Green is the color of nature and has a healing power. It can help to improve your vision skills, stands for freedom and helps to spread safety and positive messages. Use a darker version of color for products and messages in the financial world.

Dark green stands for: ambition, greed, jealousy

Yellow-green stands for: sickness, cowardice, discord, jealousy

Olive green stands for: peace

Most suitable for the following business areas: medicine, sciences, government, human resource management/recruiting, bionomics, tourism

The meaning of orange

In general associated with: joy, sunshine, enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, stimulation, cheerfulness, low cost, affordability, aggression, food, halloween, liberal (politics)

Orange is a combination between the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It can increase oxygen supply to the brain to produce an invigorating effect. It is often connected with healthy food and is able to stimulate the appetite. Like red, orange has a high visibility, so you can use it to catch attention and highlight important elements.

Dark orange stands for: deceit and distrust

Red-orange stands for: desire, sexual passion, pleasure, domination, aggression, thirst for action

Gold stands for: illumination, wisdom, wealth, high quality

Most suitable for the following business areas: human resource management/recruiting, catering, entertainment, sport, childcare, education

The meaning of purple

In general associated with: royalty, power, nobility, luxury, ambition, wealth, extravagance, wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, magic, elegance, sophistication, artificial

Purple is a combination between the stability of blue and the energy of red. The results of a survey show that almost 75 percent of young children prefer purple to all other colors. A light version of purple is good for a feminine design.

Light purple stands for: romantic, nostalgic feelings

Dark purple stands for: gloom, sad feelings, frustration

Most suitable for the following business areas: body, spirit, soul, astrology, tarot, aromatherapy, massages, yoga, healing, spirituality

The meaning of brown

In general associated with: relaxing, confident, casual, reassuring, nature, earthy, solid, reliable, genuine, Autumn, endurance

Brown symbolizes stability, structure and support. In combination with wood and leather it has a warm and comfortable effect.

Light brown stands for: friendliness, honesty

Dark brown stands for: sadness, depression

Beige stands for: reliability, loyalty, regularity

Most suitable for the following business areas: roadwork, animal, finance, properties, mining, ecology

The meaning of black

In general associated with: power, elegance, formality, death, evil, mystery, sophistication, strength, illegality, depression, morbidity, night

We often associate black with fear and death. Be careful when you use it for your design to avoid too much negative elements. But black can also be very elegant and formal (black ties, suits). In combination with bright colors black is able to create a very aggressive color scheme.

Most suitable for the following business areas: roadwork, finance, mining, oil, fashion, cosmetic, marketing, consulting, production, commerce

The meaning of white

In general associated with: light, goodness, innocence, purity, virginity, perfection, cleanliness, newness, peace, innocence, simplicity, sterility, snow, ice, cold

As opposed to black, the white color is often associated with positive messages. White is very effective to communicate the simplicity in high-tech products and its purity can be find in the visual style of charitable organizations. Because of the fact that white is often connected with health services, you can use this color to suggest safety when you want to promote medical products.

Most suitable for the following business areas: medicine, science, high-tech


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