Close
 

The Power of Colour

We are surrounded with colour. Every day our lives are enhanced by the colours of nature around us. We have imitated and can now produce colour like never before, in fashion, on the printed page, online and so much more.

This ubiquity can, though, lead to us not thinking about how colour makes us feel and react.

As a designer I know colour is a powerful tool, and the understanding of how we use this tool is getting richer all the time. From the slightly hit-and-miss “science’ of colour psychology to new research on the neuroscience of colour, our understanding is becoming deeper and that’s deeply useful to designers and marketeers.

From the earth tones of ochre and it’s importance in aboriginal art and culture, the stunning depth of lapiz lazuli mined in Afganistan, and amazing tones such as Indian yellow, we’ve been driven to all corners of the earth to ensure we can reproduce bright, vivid, deep powerful colour in our arts—to communicate and drive an emotional reaction.

We know on a profoundly human level that colour moves us. Now we are beginning to understand how this occurs. In a new article on colour, neuroscientist Bevil Conway highlights how we can grasp this biological reaction to colour and perhaps use it to our advantage.

Colour and Language

Colour Wheel test with answer

Colour perception also appears to be tied in to the language we speak. You may have seen this before, but take a look at the ring of green squares at the beginning of this article, which one is different? All the same right?

Not quite… The Himba of northern Namibia categorise colour differently than those who speak English. They can spot the different colour square almost immediately. At the end of this article is the same image with the colour values added. Once you know which square is different, you begin to see it.

So how can the Himba see it and we struggle? Different languages have differing numbers of basic colour terms. English has 11 such terms and Himba has five, so each Himba term covers a broader range of colours. It just so happens that the Himba spot this particular ‘cross-over’ point between the colours in a different way to us due precisely to the fewer categories in their language.

In other examples, it seems the colour that for Himba speakers is categorised as "serandu" would be categorised in English as red, orange and pink. Also, the Himba come to use one word, "zoozu," to embrace a broad collection of darker colours that English speakers would refer to as dark green, dark blue, dark brown, dark red, dark purple, and black.

This ring of colour experiment was played out in reverse. English speaking people could spot the difference immediately (including me I'm relieved to add), but the Himba simply couldn't see it. It was amazing to see someone not see a colour that was just so obviously "there" to me.

Colour Wheel with answer and text

Let’s Think More About Colour

Colour is linked to our emotions, our language and our drives. With that in mind we’ll take a look at different colours over the next months in this blog—how they effect us and the decisions we make because of them. If you follow us on Twitter we’ll keep you up to date on new articles.

Who knows, it could help you make a positive difference to your next campaign.

Jeff

Our New Site

Typically, and this is probably true for many businesses, it took us ages to get our own new site launched. But launched it is...

Read More

Case Study: Forbes

We were approached to look at reinvigorating the brand as a whole, starting with the main element of the logo and then the supporting parts.

Read More

The Power of Colour

We are surrounded with colour. Every day our lives are enhanced by the colours of nature around us. 

Read More

Just My Type

I recently had the pleasure to come across a little gem of a book dedicated to the world of typefaces.

Read More

Delicate Paper Flowers

Pretty awesome paper flower creations.

Read More

VAT on Print Work

Did you know that VAT is zero on some print items, but not others?

Read More

The Designer Says

“I want to make beautiful things even if nobody cares.”

Read More

Information Is Beautiful

The Effectiveness of Infographics

Read More

Leica M Monochrome

Take a look at this thing of beauty and tell us you don't love the magic and romance of monochrome photography...

Read More

What Makes A Designer

What makes a designer a designer? And why can't anyone do it?...

Read More

Property Releases

Something to Watch Out for...

Read More

Social Media

So, you’ve decided to do it, or it’s been foisted upon you, or you feel you have to be involved with social media because everyone else is. Now what?

Read More

Details, Details, Details

It’s a painting right? Well it take’s a little while to accept it, but it’s actually a hyper-realistic painting by the artist Jason de Graaf.

Read More

Fab Free Font

Lovely retro font from Fontfabric

Read More

Elegant Ampersands

More a Graphic Than Type.

Read More

Why-Why-Why...?

Really? Why do designers think that I want to be seen in this?

Read More

Design vs Style

Design & Style. Is There a Difference?

Read More

Close

contact us

Contact Us & Let's Talk

We'd love to have the opportunity to work with you, so why not get in touch and see how we can bring something very special to your next project...

Contact Details
t: 029 2009 9550
The Lab
5 Stangate House
Stanwell Road
Penarth
CF64 2AA