The Power of Colors

December 17, 1953 is the day all broadcast advertising professionals should remember and appreciate. It was the day the first successful color television system, authorized by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), began commercial broadcasting.

The availability of colors on screen made an impact on the history of advertising. Today, psychologists study the effect of using different colors on human emotions. According to Mehrabian’s Pleasure-Arousal-Dominance (PAD) emotional-state model, 1980, there is a positive correlation between saturation in advertising and audience’s feeling of excitement. However, though people report a more positive attitude towards a color TV clip than one of black-and-white, there was no noticeable physiological changes.

Yet, a viewer’s emotion while watching an advertisement greatly affects his/her buying desire. So, we want to look at what kinds of feeling colors can trigger.

The attributes of colors:

  • Black communicates authority and boldness.
  • Blue suggests security, unity, and faithfulness.
  • Brown declares neutral and humbleness.
  • Gray shows earnestness and creativity.
  • Green presents freshness and healthiness.
  • Orange tells pleasure and excitement.
  • Pink showcase femininity and innocence.
  • Purple performs spirituality and sometimes mystery.
  • Red empowers aggressiveness, sex, and passion.
  • White defines purity and contemporary.
  • Yellow brings warmth, happiness, and jealousy.

It is important for artists and designers to understand the context of their advertisements or campaigns in order to carry the appropriate “feel” thoroughly.

Continue reading “The Psychology of Colors in Advertising & Marketing (by Kurt Geer).”

The following clip helps explain the functions of colors in branding:

  • Color bolsters your brand attributes
  • Color enables brand recognition
  • Color evokes emotions
  • Color helps you to stand out


About Jason Tham

Jason Tham is a PhD student at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. His research interests are digital pedagogy, connectivism and connected learning, computers and writing, and visual rhetoric.
This entry was posted in Advertising, Branding, Design, Marketing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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