colour wheelRebecca Randall shared lots of fascinating facts and tips on colour at the April 2015 Women in Business West Kent meeting.

Some facts about colour

  • Did you know that colour is the first thing that our brains register, before shapes or anything else? Think of the red car that you remember, you probably can’t remember the make or model but you remember the colour.
  • Colour is handled by the limbic system which also controls emotion so colour = emotion.
  • Colour influences our mood and what we choose to wear.
  • Colour influences our behaviour and decisions.
  • We’re familiar with colour in everyday life, red for stop and green for go on traffic lights. We judge the ripeness of fruit through its colour or how dark your cup of tea is.

The meaning of colour

Colours have different meanings in different cultures.

  • Red is good luck in China
  • Green is good luck in Japan
  • White is mourning in India
  • Black is mourning in the western world
  • Orange is associated with Buddhism (Bhutan), Protestantism (N Ireland) and the Dutch royal family.

Did you know that pink is a tone of red and is actually considered a masculine colour? It’s only since the 1940s when an American department store set a new trend that boys are blue and girls are pink. Prior to this date boys used to be dressed in pink.

The psychology of colour

Your reactions to colour is largely unconscious – 80% of your reaction is unconscious but it affects your quality of life and wellbeing.

Up to 90% of purchasing decisions are made on colour alone so businesses need to form and emotional connection with visitors to convert them into customers. People buy from brands they feel an intuitive connection with so using colours in certain combinations can unconsciously influence people.

  • Blue is seen as intellectual and calms the mind
  • Red is physical
  • Yellow is emotional
  • Green is balance and harmony

The deeper end of the spectrum is stimulating and the lighter end is soothing.

Try this quiz to see if you can identify the brands from the colours that they use.

There’s an interesting article here about colour preferences – check out the logos and the emotions they evoke.

Colour and branding

Do you know the personality of your own brand? The colour of your brand sends messages to its viewers, ensure that they are what you want the viewer to associate with your business.

It is extremely important that your business colours are in alignment with your brand values. The words and the colours need to connect.

In general a business brand is separate from the personal brand of its owner. Victoria Beckham has built a brand around herself but it is a separate entity which could exist without her. However David Beckham is his own brand. Jimmy Choo started as a cobbler and Tamara Mellon grew the company, kept the name and it has been sold several times and Jimmy Choo is no longer involved in it.

Do you know what your personal and business values are? We’d love to know more so please share in the comments below.

Rebecca Randall is an interior designer who is in love with colour. Find out more about her here.


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