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How to attract or repel consumers with color

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Above: from "Color," The World Book, 1920.

The psychology of colors

Color is a critical choice for all product designers to make, whether the product is a website or flyer, or a bottle of shampoo, a clothing line, or software. Color choice plays a tremendous role in how consumers connect with a product and many studies have been done to address the different human responses to each color.

While culture can alter how one perceives and responds to color, the general truths remain the same in that red excites and blue calms according to endless studies. The shades of each color, however, may be perceived differently across cultures.

Let’s discuss what each color triggers in the brain, particularly with North American consumers:

    • Black is the color of power and authority, while also symbolizing evil (think good vs. evil). Black is often used as an accent color and seen as a neutral, despite its power. Black also signifies mysteriousness, seriousness, and often glamour and sophistication.

 

    • White is the color of purity, innocence, and also seen as an accent and a neutral color. Often used to represent goodness, purity, cleanliness and is popular in web design and minimalist design.

 

    • Grey is the only color that has no direct psychological properties, but can indicate a lack of confidence and be depressing. It is often used as a neutral and reactions depend on the shade.

 

    • Red is the most emotionally-intense color – it stimulates faster breathing and heartbeat and is an appetite stimulant. Red can be used to symbolize blood and evil, but also the heart and love. Recent studies show that people wearing red or standing near a red backdrop are viewed as more attractive than any other color, with scientists noting it is the ultimate color of attraction which is likely why most fast food brands use the color frequently – excitement and stimulation.

 

    • Blue is red’s opposite – studies show it calms and the brain releases tranquilizing chemicals upon seeing the color. It is a popular color, but in certain shades can be cold, sterile and depressing. With the right shade, people in blue rooms are more productive and focus and studies allege that weightlifters can lift heavier weights in blue gyms. Because blue is rarely a natural food color, so the use of blue relating to food is rarely used because it is an unappetizing color – we are conditioned to see blue in food as toxic or mold.

 

    • Green symbolizes nature is the easiest color on the eye – it is reported to improve vision. It is a calming, refreshing color. People waiting to appear on TV sit in “green rooms” to relax. Hospitals often use green because it relaxes patients. Dark green is masculine, conservative, and implies wealth; it is also a color of luck (as in a four-leaf clover).

 

    • Yellow is a happy, cheerful color that draws attention, especially when paired with a strong contrasting color. While it is considered an optimistic color, people lose their tempers more often, and babies will cry more, in yellow rooms. It is the most difficult color for the eye to take in, so it can be overpowering if overused. Try looking at a yellow wall of a website for a long period and you will most probably get a splitting headache. It is believed, however, that yellow enhances concentration and that it speeds metabolism.

 

    • Purple is the color of royalty and connotes luxury, wealth, and sophistication. It is also feminine and romantic. However, because it is rare in nature, purple can appear artificial. Web designers often avoid most shades of purple as it causes the eye to see the color as “vibrating,” especially when used with the wrong contrasting color.

 

  • Brown is solid, reliable and is the color of earth. It is abundant in nature but varying shades have very different emotional responses. Light brown implies genuineness while dark brown is similar to wood or leather. Brown can also be sad and wistful. Brown is often considered a “male” color.

Below is a fascinating graphic with more information on the psychology of color (did you know wedding dresses were once green? We didn’t either!):

Click to enlarge.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. eramus

    February 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I just rebranded my logo/colors with a rich deep purple and dark yellow. I am getting lots of positive feedback.

  2. Valerie

    February 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    This is a good source of information. Colors can be quite influential for a brand and knowing the dynamics of each color should come in handy specifically when trying to project a certain image out in the market.

  3. Pingback: Pantone Color of the Year is 'Classic Blue,' hoping for calm this year

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Business Marketing

Gloves that translate sign language in real time

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new wearable tech translates American Sign Language into audible English in real time.

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Advancements in technology never cease to amaze. The same is true right this moment as a new technology has been released that helps translate American Sign Language (ASL) signs into spoken English in real time.

This technology comes in the form of a hand glove – similar looking on the front side to what one would wear in the winter, but much more advanced when in view of the palm. The palm side of the glove contains sensors on the wearer to identify each word, phrase, or letter that they form via ASL, and is then translated into audible English via an app that coincides with the glove.

This is all done in real time and allows for instant communication without the need for a human translator. The signals are translated at a rate of one word per second.

The project was developed by scientists at UCLA. “Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them,” said lead researcher Jun Chen.

The hope is to make communication easier for those who rely on ASL, and to help those unfamiliar with ASL adapt to the signs. It is thought that between 250,000 and 500,000 people in the United States use ASL. As of now, the glove does not translate British Sign Language – the other form a sign language that utilizes English.

According to CNN, the researchers also added adhesive sensors to the faces of people used to test the device — between their eyebrows and on one side of their mouths — to capture facial expressions that are a part of American Sign Language. However, this facet of the technology is not loved by all.

“The tech is redundant because deaf signers already make extensive use of text-to-speech or text translation software on their phones, or simply write with pen and paper, or even gesture clearly,” said Gabrielle Hodge, a deaf post-doctoral researcher from the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at University College London. “There is nothing wrong with these forms of communication.”

What are your thoughts on this advancement? Comment below!

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Business Marketing

Stand out with video as part of your resume (but be careful)

(MARKETING) This new tool helps you stand out in the job market, as video now dominates – so it’s possible to use this to your advantage (with caution).

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job market video

In the midst of a pandemic, people are finding themselves thrust back into the job market sooner than expected due to mass company layoffs or underemployment as a freelancer. Fields are oversaturated and jobs are sparse so it can be hard to stand out in today’s job market.

Although standing out in the job market is hardly a new problem, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use some new and creative solutions. One company, VCV.ME has designed a tool to help you get creative and stand out from your competition.

VCV.ME turns your traditional resume into a video à la Instagram stories.

The process is simple. You answer a few questions and upload a video of yourself then the tool will provide you with a sharable link.

VCV Founder and CEO, Arik Akverdian, believes that video is the future saying, “Video will represent 80% of all internet traffic by 2021 according to Cisco, and according to eMarketer 94.1% of millennial internet users were streaming digital video in 2019. With growing demand for video social media such as TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram stories, and others, we’re bringing the short video format to the job market.”

There are some obvious limitations to using this tool in your job hunt.

First, not all employers will take videos as part of an application both for technical and legal reasons.

On the technical side, many automated tracking systems are not designed to filter that kind of file, so there may not even be an opportunity to showcase it. That’s not to say there aren’t some work-arounds. Many job applications will have a place for applicants to link to their portfolio or websites. An alternate option for this tool could be to place the video introduction on your website.

Another problem with the tool is how it exposes candidates and hiring managers to bias.

As more companies work to remove bias from their hiring practices and hire more diverse candidates, a video intro just won’t fly. Some companies have removed names and even alma maters from their applicants in order to make more unbiased hiring decisions. A video introduction would expose many characteristics that people have conscious and subconscious biases towards such as race, gender, age, and ethnicity.

Although VCV.ME’s intentions are to help candidates stand out in the job market, it’s worth questioning whether they would be standing out for the right reasons, so tread carefully.

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Business Marketing

Why should you take Facebook’s ‘Summer of Support’ courses

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Every company can use a little marketing advice, well Facebook has partnered with big companies to give you some free digital marketing courses.

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marketing courses

Our world has turned into a place of upheaval and unrest and we are continuously surrounded by more and more evidence of it. One thing that the majority of us are constantly seeing is announcements from companies. Some of those are about closing hours, but others are more helpful. As they all attempt to get used to this new world that COVID-19 has created we begin to see some different tactics. Some are only politically motivated, but others are more focused on helping out their communities.

Earlier this week Facebook announced that they will be putting on a six-week digital marketing education series. This series will be an extensive collection of videos with a full in depth set of courses that will cover a large amount of topics. The company has put together a cast of renowned entrepreneurs for the presenters as well.

The topics will be done in themed weeks starting on June 24th, and running through the month of July. They include categories such “The Changing World” & “Resilience”. Focusing primarily on the world that is here and now, with recommendations on how to adapt to it. With this world in a constant state of flux the push for adapting to change and staying in front of the tide is crucial for a small business.

The next two courses will be going forward with discussing “Reinvention” & “Re-Emergence”. Encouraging struggling companies to take a serious look at their potential for moving forward, or changing the things that they can to stay more on top of their client base. They also plan on attacking the confusing world that we will have when things get closer to normal.

The last two weeks are focused on community and customer care, which is actually their names as well: “Customers & Commerce” & “Community”. These will help develop a sense of how your business affects your community and the impact you have on it. Keeping that in mind you can then develop a plan for how you want your community to see you and shape things within it.

These courses are all set up for free and open to anyone. With a completely online set up with their new “Summer of Support” mini-site they are prepped to reach millions of people. They’ve organized this with a range of partners as well: Dell, PayPal, American Express, & Small Business Roundtable. A helping hand for people who wouldn’t currently be able to source things like this.

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