Hi, I’m Franzi, and I’m currently working as an intern here at The Dairy! I am very interested in colours and the influences they have on the use of marketing. Over the next week, I’ll be sharing a series of 3 articles I’ve written about the psychology of colour, looking at what colour means to us, the use of colour in marketing, and a few interesting facts. Today I will be talking about the meaning that colours can have to us.
Imagine a world without colours – it would be a very grey and sad place.
When we think about it, animals and humans need colours to survive, and mother nature certainly had a plan when it came to colour.
For example, water is an essential part of life, and the colour of water (generally) is blue. Therefore for humans, blue symbolises life. Fire is a symbol for warmth and light, but animals and humans can also be alarmed by it because if we get too close, it will burn. Therefore fire and the colour red in particular take on instant meanings associated with heat, warmth, and danger.
Believe it or not, humans didn’t begin their existence finding the best lip-gloss or the nicest clothes through colour – colours originally took on more primeval meanings. But today, the way we live our lives through colour is significantly different to our stone-age counterparts. Colour gives us information that can control our thoughts, feelings and actions. Would we eat a grey strawberry? How would we know if it’s ripe? Suddenly we would become unsure of basic instinctive decisions that we take for granted.
There is no general formula to determine what colours mean to people, but we do have scientific conclusions. It all depends on a variety of factors such as experiences, personal preferences, upbringing, cultural differences, sex, age and context. We cannot change how we feel when we see colours. We grow up with all these colours around us and over time, there are plenty of influences in our lives which determine how we feel.
When we think about how age influences our choice of colours, the majority of older people tend to feel more comfortable surrounded by muted colours, while younger people prefer bright and striking colours. Black is widely known as a colour to symbolise mourning in our culture, but in India, the colour to symbolise mourning is white – demonstrating how heritage and cultural differences affect the impression that a colour can have on us.
Therefore, the psychology of colour is one of the most interesting and controversial aspects of marketing – and ensuring we tailor it to the audience we’re talking to is of significant importance.
In my next article, I’ll discuss in more depth what colour means to marketing – so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the next blog in my series in the coming days!