Does color printing really increase the effectiveness of your printing project? From a very young age, we are drawn to specific colors. With seemingly no rhyme or reason behind it, the answer to “What is your favorite color?” typically draws a quick, emotional response from many. Bright, primary colors are often seen in classrooms or decorating children’s toys, and young people tend to favor hues like the reds or blues they are surrounded by.
Other colors are connected to specific times or events, like the customary red and green of Christmas or the hot hues often associated with the heat of summertime, and adults may choose those as favorites because of a fond memory or emotional connection to a time period or holiday. But the psychology behind choosing a color, especially the color in color printing, is more nuanced.
The right color can positively or negatively impact how others perceive marketing materials, books or printing projects, and anyone can harness this power of color in their printed projects by learning about how colors make us feel and act.
Color Psychology in Color Printing
Looking at how colors impact us is not a new phenomenon, and in fact, can be traced all the way back to the ancient Egyptians. Historians have found examples of Egyptians using color therapy rooms to help their community, including painting rooms orange to help reduce fatigue and blue to reduce pain. In other societies, color has long been an integral part of holistic medicine.
The ancient practice of Ayurvedic Medicine has utilized therapeutic color to heal the whole person going back over 3,000 years. The practitioners of Ayurvedic categorize people into three groups, each of which is influenced differently by color groups.
Practitioners assign a person one of three doshas, which are the positive and negative influences of a specific group of colors. By accessing the colors associated with each dosha, the practitioners are thought to provide their patients healing through the mental and emotional influences of the colors and the energies of each color.
More recently, German author and artist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe penned the Theory of Colors in 1810 to explain how he felt that colors could trigger our emotions. As a poet, Goethe was already mindful of how words impact us, and his insightful look into the beginnings of color psychology began an era of research into the mind-color connection.
Today, research has proved many of Goethe’s assertions that color does impact how we feel. At the time the Theory of Colors was published, scientists widely panned the ground-breaking book because it was not backed by research.
But today, formal studies have shown that human behavior, perception, and emotions are significantly impacted by the colors on items we see, use, and are exposed to during all kinds of behaviors. And as a result, everything from choosing sports team uniform colors to picking the hues for a marketing campaign has all been driven by the modern understanding of how color impacts our feelings and actions.
Color and Marketing: a Match Made in Brand Heaven
When creating marketing materials, using visual tricks to capture the viewer’s attention has long been standard practice. But the use of color printing has been a game changer for advertising professionals as well as other creators who want their book covers, art, or other visual projects to not only stand out but encourage the viewer to have a specific experience. Brand experts have leveraged the power of using different hues to drive how their brand is perceived.
1 Color to Encourage Actions: Marketing campaigns that include color printing over black and white graphic elements have been shown to have an impact on how a consumer acts, including making a purchase. Color and visual appearance influence 93% of buyers, making using color printing a key element to drive sales through marketing efforts.
2 Color Psychology and Emotion: Using colors to evoke specific emotions in a consumer is a critical part of developing a successful marketing campaign. Brands choose hues that match how they want their customer to feel or aspire to, making color printing choices a powerful element in creating a brand as well as developing its marketing strategy.
The Power of Color Connections in Color Printing
With such a powerful tool at the fingertips of every marketer, creator, and artist, using colors without considering how they affect the viewer is a missed opportunity.
Choosing the right color scheme can make a difference in how the audience views a project as well as what actions they might be inclined to consider. The basic hues of black, blue, green, red, yellow, and white all have been studied for their impact on how we perceive them, how they make us feel, and in what kind of color printing projects they are best suited.
- Black: The darkest hue is one that evokes feelings of formality, strength, power, and mystery. This intimidating and strong color makes us feel protected, but the flip side of black is that it can also denote sadness, depression, pessimism, and dominance. Black is best used sparingly to accentuate or bring out the color’s strong emotions with its sophisticated hue.
- Blue: Calming and relaxing, blue has long been associated with a feeling of peacefulness and confidence. But this color that brings out feelings of loyalty can also come across as passive, predictable, or even depressed. Blue is a great color to use in color printing when trying to build trust in a brand because projects using blue hues give the impression that you can always count on them.
- Green: Like blue, green hues project an air of relaxation, safety, and security. Associated with health and wellness, green tones symbolize growth, revitalization of our minds and body as well as the promise of prosperity. Often used to promote generosity and luck, green’s negative connotations in color printing are strongly connected to jealousy, materialism, and inexperience. Green tones are the perfect colors to use with a color printing campaign or brand that is young, on the rise, or wants to be connected with mental or physical health.
- Red: The boldest hue in the color wheel, red in color printing is often representative of energy, passion, and strength. One of the most powerful colors to impact action and aggression, red is connected with bold choices and as a result, teams that use red as their primary color often are perceived as the stronger or more capable group. Rich red hues are also considered sexy and sultry, but bright red in color printing is also associated with confidence and courage, making the color equally useful for appealing to adults as well as children. But this strong color can also project anger, danger, and revenge, so red is a commonly used brand choice for products that want to be edgy or the opposite of cautious.
- Yellow: Sunny tones of this golden hue project feelings of happiness, positivity, and optimism, and marketing using yellow in color printing is thought to be inspirational, amusing, or full of energy. Bringing fun and joy to the world, the color yellow is often used to indicate creativity and perceptiveness, making it an ideal marketing hue applicable to many types of campaigns. But the negatives associated with yellow, caution, cowardice, deception, and egotism provide opportunities for marketing strategies to play against negative archetypes.
- White: The color of cleanliness, purity, and innocence, white is a bold color choice in its own right when used well. White in color printing is thought to refresh, balance, and promote simplicity but it can also project coldness and emptiness. Shades of white with yellow, blue, or red undertones can combine the psychological effects of both hues, but pure white can sometimes feel boring. But the overwhelming emotions tied to white are feelings of goodness, clarity, hope and openness making this hue the perfect pair with just about any other color in a marketing campaign.
Print Your Project in Color
Using the right color in color printing can help you draw in the right customer, admirer, or reader. And creators, marketers, and artists have the whole color wheel to play with, using any slight variation on a hue to evoke emotions and encourage actions.
Working with a printing company like Dazzle Printing can help you transform your black-and-white content into beautiful, full-color pieces that will help you connect with your audience in a way that only the psychology of color can explain.
Whether you are looking to bring a pop of color to the graphic elements in your campaign flyers, need to choose the right colors in your book cover design or want to use bright graphics and bold photography to bring your marketing brochure to life, thoughtfully integrating color in printing projects can help you connect with your audience through the amazing power of color.