The psychology of colour when designing for print

Colour can play a huge role in the world of print and can often have an impact on how customers will react to your promotional material. Certain colours are synonymous with certain feelings and it is this emotional connection that you need to consider when using colour in print. The role of colour in posters, flyers and brochures can be particularly impactful with strong vibrant colours often standing out. These colours may not always help get your message across so it is important to understand the psychology of colour when you are designing for print.

How do people respond to different colours?

Every colour carries with it a different response with psychologists carrying out regular studies to investigate the impact various colours have on consumers and their buying habits. Colours tend to be categorised as either warm or cool with different colours falling into these categories and evoking a response from consumers. Warm colours are often associated with energy while cooler colours are often associated with a calm and secure state. Below we take a look at the role of different colours when designing for print for your business.

Warm Colours:

Red: The colour red is associated with an increased heart rate and can often be associated with a number of emotions including danger, passion, energy and aggression. This colour really does cover many spectrums but it can often dominate a page or poster so it is important to be cautious when using it. Red is an extremely popular colour to promote special offers or sales as it grabs our attention. Red is a popular colour in the automotive, food and technology industries but tends to be unpopular for clothing, energy and finance.

Colour Red in Print - Digital Printing

 

 

 

Orange: Like red, orange is another colour that creates a sense of energy and when we think of orange we often think of heat and warmth. Just think of the sun or a roaring fire. Orange combines characteristics of two colours; red and yellow. It has the brightness of yellow and energy of red making orange a fun and exciting colour to use. Orange tends to be popular in technology and health industries but unpopular with clothing, energy, transport and finance.

Colour Orange in Print - Digital Printing

 

 

 

Yellow: When it comes to print, yellow is one colour that can be hard to work with especially when used with white. It does however create a sense of optimism as we can often think of the sun. Yellow can work really well when used with red, especially when promoting sales and offers as it catches the customers eye. It is popular in food, energy and household industries but doesn’t tend to be used as much in the travel and technology sectors.

Colour Yellow in Print - Digital Printing

 

 

 

Pink: The colour pink has a strong feminine association and is often used to market to women and young girls. It is also a very calming colour that evokes a sense of romance. Just think of hearts and roses the colour pink comes to mind. When it comes to designing for print, pink is a very powerful tool in the beauty and clothing industries, particularly among young women. More recently it has been popular in the travel and automotive industry.

Colour Pink in Print - Digital Printing

 

 

 

Black: The final warm colour on our list is black. While this may seem like a bit of a surprise, black is a very sophisticated colour when it comes to designing your print material for your customers. It is often associated with wealth and power and is used to promote luxury products. You will often find the colour black used as the primary colour in posters for goods like luxury cars, clothing and jewellery. Black is less popular when it comes to promoting areas like health care and energy.

Colour Black in Print - Digital Printing

 

 

 

Cool Colours:

Blue: Blue is one of the most popular colours among brands, particularly in print. If you think of some of the biggest global brands, IBM, Facebook, Intel, Samsung, HP and Nivea, they all use blue throughout their print material. Blue is a very calming colour that we often associate with the sky and the sea. It also evokes a sense of trust and security and is very popular in the financial and corporate industry along with the technology sector.

Colour Blue in Print - Digital Printing

 

 

 

Purple: The colour purple is often associated with elegance but like blue it has soothing and calming influences. It also creates a sense of nostalgia but is a very powerful colour and one that can add real elegance to your printing needs. Purple is popular in the health and beauty industry but tends to be unpopular with energy and agricultural organisations.

Colour Purple in Print - Digital Printing

 

 

 

Brown: It may not be the most popular or glamorous of colours when it comes to meeting your print requirements but one thing brown does really well is to create a natural connection. Brown evokes a connection with earth and is seen as an extremely durable colour often used in the clothing and agricultural sectors. You need to be cautious when using brown though as it is often associated with dirt and lack of cleanliness.

Colour Brown in Print - Digital Printing

 

 

 

Green: The colour green is often seen as a fresh and healthy colour that also carries wealthy associations. It is also a colour that is really easy for the human eye and mind to process and can be very relaxing to look at. Green is extremely popular in the health industry and pharmacies in particular. It tends to be less popular in the airline industry although Aer Lingus who are the national carrier of Ireland are one airline company that are synonymous with the colour green.

Colour Green in Print - Digital Printing

 

 

 

White: The final colour on our list is the colour white, perhaps one of the most popular colours to work with in print. White works with almost every colour although it’s best to avoid using light shades of yellow and orange with white. The colour represents purity and cleanliness and can be a very clinical colour to use. Think of the fashion industry and wedding gowns or the health industry and lab jackets and you instantly think of white. More recently white has become a popular colour in the automotive and technology industries.

Colour White in Print - Digital Printing

 

 

 

We hope that this gives you an insight into the psychology of some colours and how they are perceived by customers. You must also take into consideration your own corporate colours and the message you are looking to portray when you are deciding on what colours to use in print.

Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and let us know your favourite colours when it comes to creating your print requirements. What colour grabs your attention and which brands do you think use colour well?

2 Responses to “The psychology of colour when designing for print”

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>