Something that most people don’t think about is how colors affect people’s emotions. But the fact is, 20% of your optic nerves go directly to your pituitary gland which creates emotions in response to color. That means your body is reacting to color on a subconcious level apart from what you’re conciously perceiving, and nobody is able to control that response–unless you’re aware of it.
A better understanding of color would benefit everyone, not just designers. If you have a blog, you should understand color. If you create Powerpoints, you should understand color. If you’re a software developer or Web designer, you should understand color. If you dress yourself, you should understand color. If nothing else it will make you more aware of the techniques that advertisers use to influence your emotions.
Carlton Wagner did an interesting study on this topic called the Wagner System which is one of the most interesting things I’ve ever read. Here are some highlights:
- Bank boards don’t respond positively to green suits
- Pink inhibits your body’s ability to remain angry
- Gray in business dress is creates an impression of success
- White work environments stimulate precision
- Black is accepted by nearly all socio-economic groups as a symbol of power and sophistication
- Red excites your brain
- Orange indicates affordability
The one caveat is that these responses to color are often learned and vary with geographic and socio-economic status, but these are generally accurate in the developed world. Keep an eye out towards color, you’ll gain a new appreciation for colors in advertising in particular.
Part of the 60 Ideas in 60 Days series