Independent Study in Graphic Design

Jo Ninham

Colour theory


Colour plays a major part in the way in which a brand is perceived by the public. Not just visually but also the message that is being put across. According to the way our natural senses function colour is the most influential, closely followed by shapes, symbols and then finally words.
Some studies have shown that a products colour influences around 60% of a customers purchasing decision. Colour is the first thing a consumer will notice about a logo or piece of design.

“Colour is one of the most powerful methods of graphic design” Astrid Varga 03/06/2013

Colour can be culturally sensitive and mean many different things, for example, Red is very lucky in China but in the West is can be used to highlight danger and negative emotions.
Colour can also be divided into two different categories: warm and cold. Warm colours are associated with energy and cold colours are more calm and security.

The meaning of colour.
Colour meanings can vary from culture to culture.

A list of a few meanings on how colours are interpreted by brands:

This is the primary value of a colour and how the colour (red, green, blue, purple etc) is perceived through the eye.

This is the overall intensity or brightness of the colour.

This is the lightness or darkness of overall colour schemes.

Security, Trustworthy, Stability, Loyalty, Wisdom, Confidence, Trust, Friendliness, Preservation, Courage, Science.
Blue is the most popular choice of brand colour. It is thought to put people at ease. The colour is often chosen for professional businesses. It is also a cooling colour and can slow the heart rate.

Wealth, Money, Calm, Trees, Ambition, Endurance, Healing, Generosity, Natural, Protection.
Is often associated with calm and freshness and therefore used in health companies. Deeper greens are synonymous with affluence, lighter greens with serenity.

Energy, Power, Leadership, Passion, Activity, Joy.
Can evoke a passionate response. It can increase your heart rate. It is a popular colour for food, for example, McDonalds, KFC etc.

Optimism, Childish, Education, Arrogance, Mutual.
The colour yellow is reminiscent of the sun. It communicates hope and optimism. Yellow can help to stimulate creativity and energy. Its brightness is helpful when catching the consumers eye.

Romantic, Feminine, Love, Beauty.

Cheerful, Passion, Pleasure, Enthusiasm, Creativity, Fun.
Orange combines the brightness of yellow and the energy and boldness of red to make a colour that is full of life and excitement. It is fun and flamboyant and radiates warmth and energy. It encourages activity and socialisation.

Powerful, Mysterious, Elegance, Sophistication, Functionality.
Often used by companies that wish to boast a classic sophistication. Works especially well for expensive products.

Sophisticated yet mysterious. The richness of the colour links to royalty and elegance. It is creative and imaginative.

Seen as sleek or refined. Dignified, conservative and also carries authority.

Represents purity and cleanliness. A popular choice for health care and child related businesses.

Speaks of earthy simplicity as well as strength and durability.

This web page looks further into colours and how they are used and what companies use them:


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This entry was posted on November 19, 2014 by in Research, Uncategorized.
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