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Why you can’t trust colour psychology, according to psychology.

Colour psychology is a subjective yet intriguing area of psychology. There are guidelines in the marketing industry that are thought of as common knowledge, such as the colour red portraying a sense of urgency, which is why “sale” signs are always adorned in this colour. However, the amount of research in this area that contradicts one another creates uncertainty as to what each colour actually represents. For example, red has also been identified as representing danger, romance, and aggression, so which one is it? What about other colours then? Naz and Epping, in 2004, recorded blue as eliciting feelings of calmness and relaxation, whereas Valdez and Mehrabian recorded blue hues as the most mentally arousing colour. Regardless of this confusion, there is a very effective way to use colours in advertising.


You can use colours in any way you like; they can feed your creativity. However, an underused/ineffectively used technique is using colours suggestively. Lipstick brands often use this to a significant effect, highlighting the vibrant colour of the product on a dark background. Givenchy is a great example; we all know that hands are required to apply lipstick, and Givenchy has strengthened this connection by applying the same deep red to the hands, the product, and the lips. It’s almost as if they are bridging the gap for using the product.


Using suggestive colours is a great way to engage a potential customer subconsciously. It can elicit their senses, which is an effective way of attracting new customers. Our design team often attend workshops that allow them to apply the latest research in their work.