I am fascinated by colors and what they make us think and feel. It amazes me that we can be influenced to think or feel a certain way about an object just because of the color that it is. I am going to outline a few of the things I have picked up about color and what they have to do with being an artist.
Using color allows an artist to manipulate the way you think about a drawing, painting, or sculpture. The color in a piece can change the story that is told. A street scene that is mostly blue will make a viewer think of being alone on a cold night , whereas a street scene in oranges and yellows will make the viewer thing about a warm evening probably with friends or enjoying happy thoughts. Color has a huge impact on how we think about things.
It is kind of hard to figure out the best way to present this information. I think I will go down a list of common colors. Feel free to comment if you have questions.
Red: Red is a “hot” or “warm” color. Psychologically it makes people feel like they are warm, standing next to a toasty fireplace. It is usually associated with passion, recklessness and urgency. Being “hot headed” is a red head trait. A person in a red room will get agitated and anger easily. Using red in an art piece usually denotes warmth, heat, and urgency. Red calls to our baser instincts do DO something.
Blue: Blue is a “cold” or “cool” color. Psychologically it make people feel cold, like they are standing outside in a snow storm. Blue is usually associate with calm, cold, sadness and trust. Put someone in a blue room and you will see that they get sad, cold and unmotivated. Using blue in an art piece usually denotes cold, emotional distance or detachment and calm. Blue calls to us to think, ponder, stare at they water and figure out the pattern in the ripples. Blue is also a color of loyalty.
Yellow: Yellow is a “warm” color. Psychologically it makes us happy. It is the color of sunshine and daisies. Blonde’s have more fun because they are always happy (so says their hair color.) Yellow is also a bit weird when it comes to being a wall color for a room. Many people that go into a yellow room will come out happy and ready for action. Others come out agitated and paranoid. Yellow is also an action color.
Purple: Purple is generally a “cool” color. Purple is the color of royalty, contained passions and wealth. People react in a variety of ways to purple. In most cases it is treated like a blue with the calm thoughts and coldness. In other aspects it is like a red with the need for action hidden under a layer of logic.
Green: Green is another “cool” color. It is the color of nature, money and caring. Put a person in a green room and they will come out content. Green is also a bit “flaky.” Unlike blue that is unfailing and trustworthy, green has a tenancy to over compensate and can miss the mark, but it is the thought that counts, right?!
Orange: Orange is a “warm” color. It is the color of caution, awareness and innovation. It is used as a call to action or attention (traffic cones.) An orange room will leave people energized and possibly a bit crazy. Mixing the passions of red with the happy of yellow can leave a person feeling unbalanced. Companies that use orange in their logos are said to be innovative.
Brown: There generally two kinds of brown. A warm red one and a cooler yellowish one. A nice red brown is reminiscent of red dirt in areas such as Oklahoma. Yellow brown is more reminiscent of tree bark like an oak tree. Browns are considered a neutral color in most of the art world, even fashion. Brown is a “down to earth” color, practical. Not as imposing or threatening as black, but can hold its own. Brown is steadfast and will never stray.
Black: Black is seen as nefarious and evil. Black things are cloaked in shadow and hid things. Black has an affinity for the things that make us pause in wonder. Black is fear. Black also indicates technology and is used a lot in tech company logos. Black is sleek, fast, emotionless and collected. Black is the future.
White:White is the opposite of black. White is innocent, carefree and transparent. White has an affinity for the things that make us remember and reminiscences about the past and more innocent times. White is life. White is used to indication honesty and tradition.
That should cover the basics. Mixing colors gets you more meanings. For example, a blue and white logo would indicate loyalty, trust, transparency in cations and policy, longevity and thoughtful process change. Something that a company like GE, Samsung or even WordPress would like you to think about their companies.
Take a look next time and think about the colors and what the company wants you to know, think, and feel about their branding.