The psychology of color and graphic design are closely linked since it is not possible to design without communicating, nor to design without choosing the perfect colors that project what we want to convey about a brand or a particular graphic piece.
The use of color and the psychology of color in graphic design is as important as fonts, shapes, and the message since it is precisely through color that we first reach viewers. Before seeing anything, humans first distinguish color, and with respect to that color, we get an idea of what we are seeing, and we establish a lot of relationships and sensations.
Perhaps, as a graphic designer, you already intuit this relevance and implement the psychology of color empirically in your daily work without being 100% aware of it, but can you imagine what you could achieve to communicate and the impact of your work if you start to use color psychology to your advantage consciously?
For this reason, and because we want your graphic pieces to shine even more, we have decided to make this post with the curiosities of color and what they achieve in the human mind so that you can use that power and give emotion to your projects.
Why do colors influence us?
There are two ways of understanding how colors influence us. One is Newton's physical version, in which we understand the incidence of light on objects and how this light enters our eyes to be perceived as color; and the second is the version of psychology of color, which is the one that interests us the most since it is the one that allows us to understand the influence of color on an emotional level and our behavior.
But why do colors influence us so much? The answer is quite simple but profound. Human beings understand the world through our eyes. What we can see around us shapes our reality and determines the way we live and interact.
The psychology of color, which studies precisely the relationship between color and emotions, explains how color was fundamental for the adaptation and survival of human beings in different environments. Through the perception of color, we understood the dangers of our environment, the edible fruits, and we learned to relate colors to our way of life.
Today, although we no longer live like thousands of years ago, those emotional and psychological relationships with color endure and, just as they did long ago, they continue to help us understand our surroundings and allow us to relate to things. That is why the color choices for the designs, logos, spaces, and even the clothes we wear are fundamental and communicate much more than we imagine.
What is the psychology of color?
The psychology of color in the field of study focuses on colors and how they affect human beings' levels of perception, feelings, and behaviors.
Thanks to these studies of the psychology of color, which are not only a matter of psychology but also of graphic design; art, architecture, fashion, among others, we have been able to understand that the perception of color and its meanings vary from culture to culture and are transmitted through generations.
So old is the transmission of perception and meaning of the psychology of color that, today, we have specific behaviors or ideas about certain colors, which we do not understand where they come from, but which replicate behaviors or ideas from thousands of years ago.
For example, our perception of the color purple has always been that of a color representing sophistication and elegance. This comes from thousands of years ago when finding this color with natural pigments was extremely expensive and complicated and, therefore, only families with great purchasing power and the church could afford it.
The psychology of color in graphic design
The psychology of color plays a fundamental role in graphic design since, through it, we can understand the persuasive power that colors have on people. However, we must be very careful in their use and not generalize the meanings of the colors.
Although we currently live in a globalized world and the market has standardized many aspects of consumer culture and perception, we cannot ignore some traditions and aspects of change in different parts of the world. For example, the color orange in Latin America will not be the same as in Thailand or the use of white in China and Europe.
I mean that since we are in the field of perception and subjectivity, these agreements that the psychology of color raises about what color can come to mean changes from culture to culture and, also, can change with the passing of time and the arrival of new generations. Therefore, before diving headlong into the use of color, it is better to analyze the relationships that our target audience can create with respect to the colors we want to use.
Interpretation of color according to color psychology
We will talk about colors in a western context, and we will see their positive and negative meanings in this part of the world. As we said before, these descriptions may not apply exactly to a specific target group, and that is why your ability to analyze and understand the audience to which you are going to direct the visual communication is essential in this process.
However, I am sure that this guide will help add much more excitement to your work!