How Colors Can Influence Us

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The idea of a link between colors and emotions is nothing new. Over 200 years ago, the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published his treatise “Theory of Colors.” While by no means a rigorous scientific text, it influenced color research and his thoughts on colors and emotion are still relevant today. For example, he says red gives off a perception of importance and dignity, citing royalty in his description, while he sums up yellow as conveying an easygoing feeling.

Now, due to advancements in research, scientists are able to more accurately test the effects of different hues on moods.

In one study, 600 participants took visual tests that featured pictures and words over backdrops of red or blue. Researchers found that red can cause someone to concentrate harder and produce more accurate work while blue is effective at sparking creativity. This could be because red is stimulating while blue is more peaceful.

In a different test, scientists studied the effects that different colors had on monkeys’ brains. Red, green, and blue, in that order, saw the biggest amounts of mental activity. This confirms the idea that certain colors are more attention-grabbing than others, something designers or artists should consider when making a piece.

Another study involving monkeys discovered that associating red with “no” could be innate. Participants were dressed in red, green or blue. The results found that monkeys avoided those in red more than those wearing other colors.

Color research has benefited various industries, and now brands consider hues in packaging and logos to convey different messages. Blue is said to evoke benefits and the sense that the brand is reliable while green is for ruggedness and the environment. Yellow is supposed to be unique and amusing and red invokes a sense of proficiency. As more is discovered about color and psychology, companies can measure and weigh the potential pros and cons of using different colors when developing their market strategies.

Don’t let the importance of color fall out of sight. Konica Minolta Sensing produces a wide variety of color measuring devices and software. The Colibri Color Management Suite can help brands manage their logo colors and ensure they are using the right shade every time.

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