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The Hidden Meaning Behind the Colors

Post by
Rose Wells

Although there is much disagreement today about what the true meaning or significance of colors is, all experts in the field agree on one thing:

different colors evoke different emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

Each color can unlock a set of emotions in us. Warm colors, for example, are usually associated with a sense of happiness, but research shows that excessive use can lead us to the opposite side of the scale, namely, to unlock a sense of danger. That is why it is so important to know the true nature of colors and how to combine them to provoke a positive attitude in the user to the brand or website.

The meaning of colors, their use and connection with our emotions

When we talk about branding or using them on websites, the properties of colors are rather subjective. Take black as an example, it is often associated with strength, luxury, elegance, professionalism and even simplicity (you can easily imagine the image of an elegant black limousine), but at the same time it can cause a feeling of something unpleasant (death , hopelessness, evil, sadness). In this line of thinking, you understand that the same color can evoke completely opposite emotions in different people. However, below you can see the most common relationship between color and emotion:

Black: mystery, elegance, death, evil, strength, sorrow.

Blue: sadness, calm, loyalty.

Green: nature, freshness, abundance.

Yellow: happiness, concentration, hope.

Red: passion, anger, danger, love.

Pink: romance, sensitivity, tenderness.

White: purity, innocence.

Purple: royalty, luxury, wealth, sophistication.

Beige: elegance, purity

Gray: conservatism, formality.

We must not forget, however, that due to the cultural differences of peoples, there are some specific interpretations of colors that must be taken into account when entering these markets:

- In China, black corresponds to high quality and trust.

- In Iran, the color blue is associated with immortality.

- The color green in Japan is synonymous with high-tech, luck in the Middle East and death in South America.

- Yellow is the color of grief in Mexico, in Saudi Arabia it is a symbol of strength, and in Japan it is an expression of courage.

- The color red in China is associated with luck, in Europe with danger, grief in Côte d’Ivoire and death in Turkey.

- In Japan, white is the color of grief.

The key is to combine them properly

When we want to make an impression that stays in the minds of consumers, we can't use just one color, whether it's a website, logo, business cards or a complete brand building. It's nice to be a combination of two, three or more colors to be really effective and achieve your goals.

In the following lines, we will try to give some tips on how colors and their messages can be used when creating a website or overall branding.

Red color

One of the best ways to get a user's attention to an item is to use red, but 

be careful. Use it sparingly as an accent, as excessive use can be confusing.

Red itself is a warm color and can be associated with emotions such as warmth, energy and attention. Think about the feelings that your hearts evoke for St. Valentine's Day, Red Cross or even Santa's costume. On the other hand, this color can evoke the exact opposite of these emotions, such as attention, danger, or strong commands that cannot be objected to.

In general, the use of red in branding and design can successfully influence your marketing efforts when done wisely. Just think of Netflix, CNN, Pinterest, YouTube, LEGO. One of the most significant and powerful uses of color is in areas of the website where action is required, such as call to action buttons.

Orange color

Another warm color, but not as demanding as red is orange. This is the color of enthusiasm and extroversion and is eye-catching, making it great for a call to action when you want to direct the user to buy or subscribe to a product or service.Some extremely successful and recognizable brands use it in their brand such as Orange and Harley Davidson.

Yellow color

If you want to attract the user's attention in a cheerful and at the same time soothing way, it is best to use yellow. Yellow is often considered one of the most energetic colors (it is not difficult to imagine, given that it is the color we associate with the sun) and most often causes a feeling of happiness and light. At the end of the spectrum, however, it can cause a sense of cowardice and deception. For example, in English-speaking countries, calling someone "yellow" means that you call him a coward.

When applied in web design or branded, yellow is most often associated with happiness and cheerfulness, and its combination with black is one of the most easily recognizable and readable over long distances. You can see for yourself the contrast that is created with our partners from Nexim Ropes.

Studies show that it helps activate memory, promotes communication, enhances vision, builds confidence and stimulates the nervous system. Dark yellow and golden yellow can look antique and are extremely suitable when it is intended to convey a sense of permanence to the user. There are many companies that rely on this color in their brand logo. Just some of the most famous are NIkon, McDonalds, National Geographic, Shell, Warner Bros. Pictures.

At the same time, care must be taken with its use. Used excessively, it can have a disturbing effect. Using too much yellow can cause you to lose focus and make it difficult to complete a task, or encourage people to become critical and demanding.

Green color

 It is a good idea to bet on green if the message to be conveyed to the user of the brand or website is growth, security or to inspire opportunities. Due to the fact that this color is associated with nature, the associations it evokes are compassion, mercy, nourishment, growth. The light shades of color bring a sense of freshness and growth, while the dark ones are associated with prestige and wealth. Some of the biggest brands, such as Acer, Starbucks, Carsberg and Land Rover, use it to associate trust.

Others such as Animal planet (their previous logo), Whole foods and John Deere are looking for an association with nature.

Blue color

 The color blue is a symbol of honesty and loyalty, it is also one of the main colors. For example, 60% of Swedish companies rely on this color in their logo. Dark shades are ideal when creating a corporate identity, as it creates a sense of professionalism. This is exactly what the Bulgarian Hydrogen Institute is betting on.

Here again, care must be taken and used wisely, as excessive use can cause a feeling of coldness and disunity. Light shades bring friendly feelings and a sense of calm. A good example of this are social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Purple color 

Purple, the color of kings. The inclusion of dark purple in the corporate look gives a feeling of luxury and wealth, and when you rely on lighter shades, it creates a feeling of romance and mystery. One of the main reasons to consider the color of the royal majesty is the fact that it was the most difficult and expensive to reproduce colors.Nowadays, this connotation is often transferred to premium products or services. An example of this is the English company Asprey, which supplied the royal family with crowns and scepters.

Its association with wisdom makes it extremely suitable for academic institutions or search engines, such as Yahoo or The New York University.

Another advantage when using the color purple is that due to its less frequent use, the brands that still rely on it stand out among the rest.

Pink color

And when we talk about colors, we can not miss a much underestimated color in web design and branding - pink. Considered by many to be too girly, it most often evokes associations with babies, flamingos and chewing gum, but for some it is a symbol of strength. It is because of this polarity of the effect it causes that it is good to consider how it would work best in web design, branding or marketing.

Pink, like the nearest red, is a warm color and, depending on the shade used, can evoke a wide range of emotions. Combined with white or the use of bright pink with a bold effect radiates youth, fun, energy, confidence, for example, look at the logo of designer Betsey Johnson. With a more moderate shade, combined with black and traditional font, it has a seductive, refined and soothing effect, as evidenced by the Victoria’s Secret logo.

Brown color

Although brown is not common in marketing and branding, when it is available, it is done quite purposefully with the idea of telling the story of the product, service or the whole brand. Examples are Nesspresso, M&M and Louis Vuitton.

When we talk about the psychology of colors, it is believed that the color brown helps to create a healthy feeling, connection with the earth and a sense of order and conventionality. Brown is a stable and grounded color that is believed to help you feel like you fit in and belong. 

This color is most often used in branding a company in the food industry, as it emphasizes the fact that the product is natural, earthy and environmentally friendly. A great example of this is


 Colors and knowledge of how to use them are one of the most powerful tools in branding. They allow you to send the right message to your target audience in an elegant way.

 Do you want your brand to tell the story of your company? Our team at Outstand Online has extensive experience in branding, logo and website design. Contact us today for your free consultation!

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