The Power of Blue
Understanding the psychology of colours is vital for effective design
-Martin Christie of Logo Design London.
The human mind is highly responsive to visual stimuli, and colour is one of the major defining factors in that response. On both a conscious and subconscious level, colours convey meaning – not only in the natural world but also within our everyday culture. As a Graphic Designer, it is so important to harness the power of colour psychology to bring resonance to our designs.
Today, I want to focus on one colour in particular. Blue.
Studies have found that 42% of males and 30% of females say blue is their favourite colour, making it the most favoured colour in the world. I was surprised to learn this, because with so many colours to choose from, why does a majority of people favour blue? But the more I learned about blue, the more I began to see what the appeal was all about.
Blue is often associated with calm, comfort and peace, and low anxiety levels. Because of this, it is extensively used to represent calmness and responsibility.
What’s interesting about this though is that the meaning of blue is widely affected depending on the shade and hue. In design, the exact shade of blue you select will have a huge impact on how your designs are perceived.
For example, light blues are often relaxing, calming, refreshing and friendly, while bright blues are generally considered to be energizing and refreshing. In contrast, dark blues are excellent for designs where strength and reliability are important.
But what does this all mean? How can I, as a designer, use this knowledge to my power? Here are two examples of the power blue can have when used properly in design projects:
- In the fashion industry, logos and brands that incorporate blue are often associated with competency (confident, corporate and reliable).
- When looking at a website’s structure and colours, websites that use a blue hue and medium brightness or saturation received the highest level of aesthetic ratings versus those that didn’t. In addition, when considering the importance of colour for web design, the colour appeal is a significant determinant for both website trust and satisfaction among users.
Blue is only one of the many colours that invoke emotions from us. The use of colour can bring multiple layers of meaning, from responses based on human instinct to the complex associations we make based on learned assumptions. Here at Look, we use these responses to create the most powerful and successful designs possible!
- Colour Meanings
A very thorough guide from About.com on colour meanings.
- Colour Wheel Pro: Colour Meaning
Another excellent guide to colour meanings.
Wikipedia’s entry on colour.