This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

May 6, 2015

Using the Psychology of Color (Part 2)

Last week, we talked about The Psychology of Color (Part 1); this week's Trend Alert is Part 2, covering the rest of this fascinating material. To read Part 1, please visit

Purple: Often associated with royalty, wisdom, and respect, the color purple stimulates problem solving, as well as creativity. Purple is also commonly used in packaging and promotion for beauty and anti-aging products.

Orange & Yellow: Orange and yellow are cheerful colors that encourage optimism. Interestingly, yellow---a color that is frequently used in babies' rooms---can make babies cry. Orange can make people feel cautious; it can also create a sense of anxiety that can attract impulsive buyers and window shoppers.

Black: Associated with authority, power, stability, and strength, black is considered a symbol of intelligence. If used too frequently, it can become overwhelming if over-used.

Grey: While too much grey can lead to feelings of emptiness and sadness, grey engenders feelings of practicality, old age, and solidarity.

White: Though white can be used to project an absence of color or neutrality, it is commonly associated with feelings of purity, cleanliness, and safety. White space helps reduce stress and spur creativity.

Properly Using Color Theory
Contrasts can be used to reduce eyestrain; they allow readers to focus their attention on specific items. Bright colors can inform the emotional response users have to your design; choosing more vibrant colors can lead users to feel more energetic about your product or service that can induce more positive responses and reactions. However, if a website is information-intensive, the use of darker colors will make it easier for readers to understand.

Major Brands use Colors in a Big Way
Perhaps McDonald's is the most obvious color-conscious marketer. The company chooses red and yellow, high-energy colors that appeal to children, trigger appetites, and create a sense of urgency. The colors facilitate faster customer turnover. Certainly, the use of red and yellow has been instrumental in McDonald's success. As a point of interest, the only major global brand using green as its principal color is Starbucks. With green, Starbucks hopes to promote a sense of relaxation in their cafes, highlighting its stores as places where customers can take breaks from their stressful days. The use of green also reflects Starbucks attitude of Corporate Social Responsibility, regarding the environment and supporting growers in developing countries.

Our forecast is that more companies will embrace color theory, when it comes to website design, packaging, and promotion. In the future, wise marketers will better understand how color creates or enhances experience; they will use that knowledge to create higher levels of engagement and be more profitable.

Special thanks to and to Innovation Weekly for picking up their valuable article. To see an infographic on the topic, visit

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