The Color of Emotions

Color seems like the most unnecessary factor in any product design, and for some products, it really is extraneous.  That’s why some products can come in a whole range of colors, and nothing is affected.  However, there are some products where color plays a huge role.  There’s a reason for this.  Because of cultural, social,…

Color seems like the most unnecessary factor in any product design, and for some products, it really is extraneous.  That’s why some products can come in a whole range of colors, and nothing is affected.  However, there are some products where color plays a huge role.  There’s a reason for this.  Because of cultural, social, and historical factors, certain colors have become strongly associated with particular emotions.  In some instances, colors can even help stir particular emotions in a person.  With that in mind, choose the colors of your products carefully.

  • Red: Because it’s the color of blood and fire, red is typically a high-energy color associated with aggression, anger, war, and power. It can also be a color of passion, love, and desire.  The strongest emotions are usually associated with red.
  • Orange: Its association with happiness and joy can probably be tied to associations with the sun. Orange often shows a lack of seriousness but an abundance of joviality.  It’s great for leisure products but not so great for products that should demonstrate high professionalism.
  • Yellow: Very closely associated with orange, yellow is also a sunny color. It can be extremely vibrant in a product’s design, so use it carefully.
  • Green: Most frequently associated with nature, green symbolizes growth and fertility. Gardening products and products designed to promote environmental causes usually use a lot of green.
  • Blue: Because it’s associated with depth and stability, blue creates calm feelings of trust, confidence, and loyalty. Blue is very common in technology and medical fields.
  • Purple: As a result of its historical connection to royalty, purple usually symbolizes power, nobility, and luxury. Great for a luxury item but not effective for an “everyman” marketing campaign.
  • White: Representing purity and light, it creates a feeling of cleanliness and sterility. This is ideal for cleaning products and medical supplies.
  • Black: On the plus side, black can demonstrate elegance and power, but it also symbolizes death and evil.  Use it carefully in your design process.
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