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COLOURS AND FEELINGS, EMOTIONS

AND ATMOSPHERE

V. Ryan 2004 - 2021

 

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Designers have a large range of colours at their disposal and most are well aware that colours are associated with feelings and emotions. Designers, companies and manufacturers use colours cleverly, to promote a certain feeling about their products.
 
    RED
  FEAR
WARNING
BLOOD
ANGER
DEBT - IN THE RED
PASSIONATE
AGGRESSIVE
IMPORTANT - THE RED CARPET
     
Red is a bold, striking colour, often used to ‘grab’ attention. It has a variety of contrasting meanings, such as ‘be cautious’. At the same time, it is regarded as a lucky colour in some cultures.
Red must be used carefully, especially in advertising, as over use reduces its impact and ability to attract the attention of potential customers. Designers often use softer shades of red.
     
    GREEN
  CALM
SERENE
ENVIRONMENT
PLANTS
NATURAL
GREEN WITH ENVY
EVERLASTING
NATURAL
STABLE
PROSPEROUS
     
In recent years, the colour green has come to represent the environment and environmental issues. It is associated prominently with politics, for instance the Green Party. Green is also associated with outdoor activities and nature. It is regarded as one of the most ‘restful’, or even neutral colours. Green is a colour associated with money and finance, probably because of the US dollar (once called the ‘greenback’).
     
 
     
    YELLOW
  HAPPY
BRIGHT
LIGHT
FRIENDLY
WARNING
ENERGETIC
     
Yellow is a common colour, linked to happiness because of its brightness. It is often used in conjunction with red and orange. Yellow is regularly used as a background to warning signs and high visibility signs. Traditionally, yellow implies cowardice, which is the only negative connotation.
     
    PURPLE
  DREAMS
PURPLE STRETCH (THINGS GOING WELL)
LENT - RELIGIOUS REPENTANCE
LUXURIOUS
MYSTERIOUS
ROMANTIC
     
Purple has been associated with wealth, success, luxury and even royalty for centuries. Often used as the colour on expensive / quality products. However, it is also associated with mystery and sometimes sadness. The Forty Days of Lent, which comes before Easter, in the Christian calendar, is a time when statues in churches are covered in purple cloth, as this colour is associated with mourning. In contrast, lighter shades of purple, are associated with romance.
     
    ORANGE
  WARMTH
ENERGY
HAPPY
PLAYFUL
SUNSET
CHEAPNESS
HEALTH
VIBRANCE
     
Orange is associated with energy and being energetic. A number of energy drinks, have orange as their colour. Orange is often used on packaging in place of red, as it is regarded as a safer colour. Impulsiveness and youthfulness, are also associated with orange.
     
 
     
    WHITE
  PURE
HONESTY
HYGIENIC
HEALTH
CLEAN
GOODNESS
EMPTY
VIRTUOUS
     
The direct opposite to black and a primary colour. It is often use alongside other colours, helping to enhance them and as a contrast. A popular colour during winter, due to the emotional attachment many have to snow and Christmas time. White is associated with righteousness and honesty.
     
    BLUE
  THE SKY
OPENNESS
COLD
COOL
ICE
CHILLED
SERENE
TRUSTWORTHY
INVITING
     
A very popular colour, as it is associated with trust, security and safety. It is claimed that this colour, has a calming influence on people. Therefore, it is often used in schools and classrooms. Government organisations and websites incorporate blue, due to its associated meanings. Blue is associated with the sky and water, which in turn are associated with calmness and relaxation. Darker blues often have more series or sombre associations, whilst lighter blues are associated with fun and relaxation.
     
    BROWN
  EARTH / SOIL
TREES / FORESTS
NATURAL WOOD
THE OUTDOORS
RUSTIC
ENVIRONMENT
STURDY
RELIABLE
     
A less popular colour than most. This colour is often applied in conjunction with green, linking it to the environment. Utilised by companies associated with DIY, Building and Construction. This is a strong colour, that is often softened with degrees of white, providing lighter shades, especially when texturing the surface of drawings representing wood or leather.
     
    GREY
  GLOOM
FORMAL OCCASIONS
NEUTRAL
BORING
SUBDUED
RAINY DAYS
     
Grey is often seen as a background colour, upon which brighter colours are overlaid. Regarded as a neutral colour or neutrality. Dark grey is sometimes a replacement for black (which in certain circumstances, is too bold / strong / dominating). Grey is sometimes associated with the meaning of boring, as is not an ‘exciting or energetic’ colour. Associated with dull, rainy days. A subdued colour, lacking impact.
     
    BLACK
  BOLD
STRONG
SOPHISTICATED
POWERFUL
MYSTERIOUS
ELEGANCE
     
The strongest of colours, commonly used for text / printouts. Associated with sophistication, elegance and mystery. Has impact, especially when used on posters or banners. Sometime associated with fear, such as the ‘dark of night’.
     
 

QUESTIONS:

1. Describe three products and explain how colour schemes have been used on each to promote feelings / emotions / atmosphere surrounding the products.

 
 
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