Underneath the surface of every decision we make is one critically important factor: color. The colors we’re surrounded by may seem innocent enough, but they actually have a profound impact on everything we do.
By being aware of the presence of color and the psychological impact, you can make better decisions in the future.
The Role of Color in Our Everyday Lives
“Color works its effect on us to the extent that even our highest-level cognition and intelligence are biased by low-level impressions,” says psychologist Jerald Kralik, a renowned professor who spends time teaching psychology and brain sciences at Dartmouth University. In fact, it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say color impacts everything we do – for better or worse.
Specifically, we can see the direct influence of color psychology in the following aspects of our daily lives:
According to this infographic, 84.7 percent of consumers say color is a primary reason they buy a particular product. Furthermore, between 62 and 90 percent of people make subconscious purchase decisions based on color alone. Marketers understand this and take color selection very seriously.
For marketers, choosing the right color scheme is all about aligning the brand with the target demographic. For example, yellow is considered optimistic and youthful. That’s why you see it used by a lot of startups. Red is associated with energy and urgency, so it’s frequently placed in restaurants and retail stores. Blue is a color of security, making it a perfect choice for financial institutions. Colors are rarely chosen by accident when it comes to marketing and branding.
Since we’re in the middle of a presidential race, it seems appropriate to discuss the role color plays in campaigning. Red, white, and blue are by far the most common color choices because of how they conjure up feelings of patriotism, but this isn’t the only thing to think about.
In addition to choosing colors, campaign teams think about contrast. The more contrast campaign materials have, the more likely that the name on the material will stand out. This is especially true with yard signs, billboards, and bumper stickers, which are often viewed from afar.
As voters, we may not realize it, but the difference between a bright red sign with thin white letters and a bold blue sign with thick red letters can be significant.
“Color has the power to evoke emotion, stimulate appetite, and even make babies cry,” writes designer Samantha Olson. “The psychology of colors goes well beyond personal preference, upbringing, cultural influence, and associations with experiences.”
If the colors you use in the home can make a baby cry or dictate your eating habits, then it stands to reason that you should start giving them a little more thought and attention. Study color theory and then choose paint colors and design elements based on the purpose of the room.
When you combine all of these factors – and the dozens of others that exist – you begin to see how color impacts your daily mood. Different colors have the power to make you feel relaxed, stressed, anxious, powerful, ambitious, hungry, sad, happy, or anything in between. As such, researchers will continue to study the relationship between color theory and the human brain in the future.
Make Conscious Color Choices
There are certain aspects of color that we can’t change. For example, our brains are wired in such ways that when we see a particular color, our innate response is to feel a certain way. However, we can strategically manipulate different parts of our environments to ensure we are happy and productive – think about this as you approach your daily life.