colours for communication

How Colours Affect Communication

Colours have unique feelings and meanings to each of us. From an early age, we recognise colours in different formats e.g. green means go, and we are drawn to our favourite. This may alter as we get older but the affect their have on our minds still remain the same. The psychology of colours has long been researched and these methods can now be applied to business situations. This article covers how each colour can be used to communicate messages within your company. This can potentially bring your presentations more targeted towards the audience.

Red:

We all connect to red as meaning love, passion or anger and when it comes to business you have to tread carefully with its use. If used in text with block capitals the message you are sending is that you are angrily shouting at the recipient. However, if you have a call for action on something urgent, red would be the appropriate colour used here, for example, highlighting an exclamation mark will show that an email or document needs instant attention. It is also cleverly used within sale POS to draw the customer’s eye to the offers. Just the right amount used for business purposes will work in a positive way for you.

Positive Meanings in Business:

  • action
  • power
  • energy
  • speed
  • passion and desire
  • lust
  • strength
  • courage
  • attention-getting
  • motivating
  • driven and determined
  • exciting
  • assertive and confident

Negative Meanings in Business:

  • aggression and anger
  • domineering
  • quick-tempered
  • ruthless
  • fearful
  • rebellious
  • resentful
  • violent

Orange

This isn’t an overly favoured colour and although it can work well in food businesses, in others it can be off-putting due to personal opinions. It can bring warmth and be calming in small doses and works well when creating promotional material in the Autumn. In a soft enough tone, orange can also be a classy colour for up-market salons or hotels. A more brash shade can cheapen a look, though, so be mindful when picking this out for your company.

Positive Meanings in Business:

  • adventurous and risk-taking
  • vibrant
  • flamboyant
  • stimulating to the senses
  • affordable
  • warm,
  • sociable
  • optimistic
  • self-confident
  • independent
  • creative
  • warm-hearted
  • agreeable

Negative Meanings in Business:

  • superficial
  • dependent
  • self-indulgent
  • exhibitionist
  • pessimistic
  • cheap

Green

Green is a very positive colour. It indicates when we are able to go at traffic lights, when somebody is doing well in sales and can also represent money making – the colour of money.

It is seen as a calming colour, the shade of the earth and can bring nurturing feelings upon a person. Bright greens will bring excitement, expectations and fun. Softer greens will bring a sense of well-being, health, compassion and life. Darker greens can often represent envy, money and greed. Depending on your message, pick your shade of green wisely.

Positive Meanings in Business:

  • growth and vitality
  • renewal and restoration
  • reliability and dependability
  • emotionally balanced and calm
  • nature lover
  • practical and down to earth
  • sympathetic
  • compassionate
  • nurturing
  • generous
  • kind and loyal
  • adaptable and flexible

Negative Meanings in Business:

  • possessive and materialistic
  • over-cautious
  • envious
  • selfish
  • greedy
  • devious with money
  • inconsiderate
  • do-gooder

Yellow

Yellow can represent new beginnings, fun and positive outlooks if used with the correct balance in your work. It is a strong colour and too much can feel overpowering and cause anxiety. This colour is best used to make certain words appear fun, ones to draw children in and to highlight a new venture. Again, be careful with your shade. Mustards are a mucky sort of colour and most people will be put off by them. Off-setting yellow with red can work well in drawing a customer in… think of a very popular fast-food outlet.

Positive Meanings in Business:

  • cheerful
  • happy
  • playful and fun
  • optimistic and uplifting
  • illuminating
  • logical
  • aids decision-making
  • confidence
  • creativity
  •  academic and analytical
  • wisdom and logic
  • communication of new ideas

Negative Meanings in Business:

  • analytical
  • impatient and impulsive
  • spiteful
  • cowardly
  • deceitful
  • non-emotional and lacking compassion

Blue

Blue is one the most popular colours you can use. It is calming in certain shades, it can look professional in navy and catch your attention in a brighter tone. It works very well in conservative places and for job roles such as accountants, politicians, banks and insurance. Blue can be used easily on any technology websites- think about social media and email sites, even the standard colour for links within articles. People relate to it as a trustworthy colour.

Positive Meanings in Business:

  • loyalty
  • trust
  • tactful
  • caring
  • reliability and responsibility
  • conservatism and perseverance
  • idealistic
  • authority
  • devoted
  • peace and calm

Negative Meanings in Business:

  • rigid
  • deceitful and spiteful
  • self-righteous
  • too conservative
  • predictable

Purple

This is a creative colour and can usually impose feelings of fantasy, relaxation and fun onto a person. It is a popular choice amongst the under 25’s so if this is your target audience it would probably be worth investing some time in adding purple to your sites. Purple mixed with golds can bring the sense of wealth to a product or your packaging and will easily catch your customer’s eye.

Positive Meanings in Business:

  • unusual and individual
  • creative and inventive
  • psychic and/or intuitive
  • humanitarian
  • selfless and unlimited
  • mystery
  • fantasy

Negative Meanings in Business:

  • immaturity
  • impractical
  • cynical
  • arrogant
  • fraudulent

Gold

Gold, of course, resonates with us as the colour or wealth. If used within a business we assume we will receive quality service and may link it to being a costly one, which means that you would need to use it wisely; you don’t want to put a customer off before they have had a chance to look into services and prices. It can look elegant and expensive on your packaging or as a logo but bear in mind that it doesn’t always translate well on a screen and may look a little dull or mustard in tone on a website.

Positive Meanings in Business:

  • wealth and prosperity
  • value
  • quality
  • luxury
  • expensive
  • victory
  • achievement
  • importance
  • happiness
  • beauty
  • excellence
  • prestige
  • attraction
  • wisdom

Negative Meanings in Business:

  • pretentiousness
  • intense

Silver

Silver brings the feeling of elegance and class to a product but it is similar to gold and does not work well on websites. It will, however, work very well for technology businesses, scientific companies and even jewellery companies. You need to be sure that you can get the tone spot-on when choosing silver because you don’t want it to be mistaken for grey which can be perceived as a dull or negative colour.

Positive Meanings in Business:

  • modern
  • sleek
  • high-tech and scientific
  • distinguished
  • elegant
  • prestigious
  • calming
  • illusion and imagination
  • feminine power
  • sophistication
  • wealth
  • illumination

Negative Meanings in Business:

  • cold
  • impersonal
  • emotional
  • introspective

Black

This can represent power, strength, luxury, elegance and expense when used in business situations. Black text is seen as clear, concise, easy to read and reliable. Black packaging can feel like you have a quality product in your hand. It is versatile as you can mix any of these other colours very easily with it and if you get the right combination you can truly achieve an expensive look. Too much black can be intimidating so do make sure you get the right balance in your branding.

Positive Meanings in Business:

  • authority
  • power
  • strong
  • formal
  • sophisticated
  • seductive, mysterious
  • endings & beginnings

Negative Meanings in Business:

  • depressing and/or pessimistic
  • secretive
  • conservative
  • serious
  • power & control
  • negativity

White

White is often connected to wiping the slate clean, new beginnings, fresh starts and so on. It can bring a sense of freshness to a workplace but always make sure you add the right touch of colour for fear of feeling too clinical. White is best used as the background colour for a website. It is easy to read from, feels professional and you can use a variety of other colours to highlight any points within your site.

Positive Meanings in Business:

  • innocence
  • purity
  • clean
  • simplicity
  • immaculate and neat
  • pristine
  • new beginnings

Negative Meanings in Business:

  • sterile
  • clinical
  • empty
  • boring
  • cautious

Brown

When we think of the colour brown we are often met with thoughts of the outside, wood, quality craftsmanship etc. It is more of a masculine colour and men will be drawn to it much more than women. It is the perfect colour for representing wood work companies, woodland parks, country parks, landscaping services and farming. Too much brown will make your company feel boring and dull but just the right shade of a light brown can bring a touch of quality.

Positive Meanings in Business:

  • practical
  • earthy
  • down-to-earth
  • comfort
  • reassurance
  • strength
  • reliable and durable
  • friendly and approachable
  • stable
  • wholesome
  • natural

Negative Meanings in Business:

  • lack of humour or too serious
  • lack of sophistication
  • dull
  • dirty

Pink

Pink is associated with softness, feminine traits, compassion, nurturing and romance. The colour, therefore, translates very well into companies and products used for women. It can bring a calming feel to a salon, softness to packaging and warmth to titles. Brighter and more vibrant pinks work well in teenage products because they are drawn to the colour. Soft pinks are often used in baby products, deodorants and feminine care products. A dusty pink is often used for products aimed at the over 50’s and can add more class to the message being received. It is also a great colour to use within the confectionary business.

Positive Meanings in Business:

  • unconditional and romantic love
  • compassion
  • understanding
  • nurturing
  • warmth
  • hope
  • calming
  • sweetness
  • innocence
  • feminine
  • elegance

Negative Meanings in Business:

  • over-emotional
  • emotional neediness
  • unrealistic expectations
  • being immature
  • lack of will power

 

How Colours Affect Communication

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