How to Use Colors and Emotions to Create Powerful Designs

21 January 2020

Do you have a favorite color? And if you do, have you ever thought what is it about it you like it? When you explain it to yourself or your friend, you quickly realize that it all comes down to colors and emotions.


Often, we like not only the color. We like how it makes us feel. Some of those feelings are evolutionary, some culture, and others are personal. That’s why saying something definitive about the influence of colors isn’t easy — it is difficult to account for all the differences. But people have tried and are styling trying to connect colors and emotions, and interesting things have come out of it.


In this article, we will talk about colors and their general implications, origins, and how you can use them to evoke the right emotions.




Blue color paint spread over white background


Look at the icons of your different applications on your phone. Do you see a pattern? We bet you will find at least a couple of blue symbols. And it’s not a mere coincidence.


Many modern companies in IT so love the color because of its implications. Blue is the color of safety and professionalism. It’s the color of relaxation, peace, and calm. It’s modern without being extreme and professional without being stiff.


Use when: You want to evoke feelings of trust, friendliness, and calmness. It’s the color that can help you target the largest demographic since many people find it appropriate.




Bright red color paint spread over white background


The color that can make you instantly feel more energized and alert. The one we consider the color of life, and continuously attribute to love — red, has many cultural and psychological meanings. Like no other color, red shows how deeply colors and emotions are connected.


Red is often associated with passion, just as much as it is with danger. It triggers contradictory emotions, making you feel both alerted and warm. It is bright and dynamic, can make you feel excited and overwhelmed. It’s a powerful color that has become an integral part of our culture.


Use when: The color is great as an accent color, as when used as the main one, it can feel too much. But that there are many exceptions to the rule — McDonald’s and Coca-Cola being the obvious ones.




Rich yellow paint over white background


Happiness, sun, energy, positivity, smile… When do you see these words, which color comes to mind? We bet that for most of you yellow will be somewhere in the top.


Yellow is one of the most vibrant colors, often used to represent exactly there positive words. It’s associated with cheerfulness, youth, and childhood and is full of positive energy. It’s the ultimate feel-good color.


Use when: Because there is so much going on ‘inside’ of the color itself and all energy, bright yellow colors can irritate and seem inappropriate when used excessively. So, it’s better to keep them attention-grabbers and accent colors. They are great at easily doing that.




Green color over white background


Life has a color, and it’s green.


Since it is one of the most common colors in nature, green is often associated with health, life, and novelty. The color fills you with optimism and makes you feel refreshed. People also often link it to wealth and prosperity. Being one of the easiest on the eye colors, it often has a soothing effect and can make you feel more relaxed and inspired.


Use when: It’s a great color to use in the industries that want to take on themselves the positive properties of the color. If you’re interested in green marketing or want to communicate wealth, health, and livelihood — a beautiful choice for creating relaxing environments.




Purple paint on a white board


The color of gracefulness and luxury, purple, is full of mysteries. Just as red, it’s full of academies, that makes it such an interesting choice for so many occasions.


For colors and emotions, people often connect it with royalty and creativity. Since the color was expensive before the industrial revolution, only kings could afford them. That historical connection made the association stick. It also a modern color, often used in cyberpunk and futuristic environments.


Use when: Purple is frequently used in modern design because of all the associations with modernity, elites, and creativity. It communicates a powerful message without being boring or redundant.




Sprinkled pink paint over white background


The color of love, romance, femininity, and playfulness pink color can instantly evoke these emotions. Like no other, it proves that colors and emotions exist in symbiosis.


Pink is the color of softness. It has an inherent appeal to it; it is charming and attractive. The color is soothing and innocent. The beautiful color often represents beauty in and off itself.


Use when: Beautiful choice of color to communicate calmness, beauty, and sweetness. There is something about pink that makes it eye-catching and pleasant. So, go ahead and use it to create stunning product photos you have been meaning to.




Orange paint on a white board


Orange has an inherent positive vibe to it. It’s the color of encouragement and power.


The combination of yellow and red according to color theory, orange, takes the best of the best colors without the uncomfortable sharpness the two might have. It’s an exciting, warm, and enthusiastic color that can convey action just and it does static excitement. It’s joyful, motivating.


Use when: Orange is a great color for a variety of situations and occasions. Often used in entertainment because it communicates energy, it can also be used in the foods, sports, and many others, especially if the target is youth.




Grey cloud-looking paint on white board


For colors and emotions, grey is often though to be boring. But its most interesting properties and qualities rely on its emotional detachment.


The color doesn’t drive attention to itself and almost makes it seem like it doesn’t want you to see it. However, it can also help communicate elegance, stability, power, and practicality. It lacks energy and has something perfectionistic to itself.


Use when: Used in almost any industry, often as a complementary color, grey is one 0f the colors that the biggest use. It can help you communicate more formal and quiet energy and trustworthiness. But be careful — too much grey might also come as depressing and sad.




Brown color paint on a white desk


Closest to the color of earth, brown is equally grounded. It represents stability and strong foundations.


The color evokes the feeling of trustworthiness, strong principles, honesty, and comfort. It also is often associated with maturity and gives off the classic vibe. It also communicates safety, conditions, and tastefulness.


Use when: A great choice for serious firms that want to want to build trust. The color is perfect for targeting elder demographics and can help create warmth while still installing safety and confidence.




A splash of black color


The mystery is covered in black. Being a lack of color, black inherently communicates nothingness.


It’s the color of power, dominance, authority, elegance, grace, and secrets. Black has powerful cultural associations, often representing loss as much as it does sophistication. Installing fear and attractiveness are all in the power of black.


Use when: Use the color to communicate strong emotions, present something as luxurious, authoritative, and fearless. On its own, it can seem a bit too intense, but when combined with other colors, it can communicate a strong message.




White smoke=looking paint over a black background


Like a sheet of paper, white represents a fresh start. It’s a color of new beginnings.


In different countries, white has different meanings and lore written into it, but in most of them, it represents purity, cleanness, and innocence. It is a minimalistic color that also communicates neutrality and impartiality. It’s also calming and not disturbing.


Use when: If you are looking to convey elegance, purity, and simplicity, white is the color of choice. Despite being so clean, it’s one of those colors and emotions that can communicate a lot. Often used a background color, thanks to its simpleness, white is a great choice for almost any industry and occasion.


Colors and emotions deserve more attention.


Colors and emotions coming together in an expressive dance


While people who work in the design industry appreciate the power colors have, the same can’t be said about regular people. We often underestimate the role color can have on a psychic, and it’s a fundamental mistake.


If you want to communicate strong messages and create deeper connections with your customers and audiences, understanding the cultural implications of colors and the psychological ones are essential.


So, go ahead, use those associations to say exactly what you want to say without uttering a word.

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