Colors Speaks With The Unconscious

Color is one of the most powerful tools to express emotions. Studies of involuntary physical reactions, such as eye movements, brain activity and heart rate have shown that when we see colors they trigger a very rapid and strong reaction. Colors communicates with us on an unconscious and non-verbal level.

Words and pictures can be censored and controlled, but colors can’t. Try to forbid a color.. Maybe someone, somewhere has tried, but never succeeded.

Whether you are going to sell something, tell a story or communicate something scientifically, you can use colors to give the communication clearer attributes. Colors are limited in numbers (excluding nuances..) and therefore, it’s really difficult to “own” a color as for example a brand. However, if you do.. it’s highly effective when it comes to brand recognition.

Ernest Dichter was an influential psychologist and marketing expert who laid the foundation for what today is called motivational research. Simply what makes us do what we do? He drew the following conclusions about what colors do to us mentally :

  • Color creates moods
  • Color activates
  • Color stimulates greater identfikation and emotional involvement of the recipient.
  • Color creates an inner connection, a whole in the message.
  • Color is received lighter than the form and understood earlier in life
  • Color is immediate and emotional , while words must stand for something.
  • Color does not need to be translated and understood immediately.
  • Colour creates resistance.

What colors are used, and stand, for has long been discussed. The part in our brain that handles color is completely separated from the parts that handle our verbal ability, which means that it’s very hard to find words when we talk about colors. Literally.

A color is just a color. The whole experience and feeling we get from a color and what we associate the color with changes with the color’s hue.

To make it even more difficult, it is also true that when we see different colors next to each other, they trigger different reactions than they do individually. Tricky.

Colors are effective in communication. When I stear your thoughts towards advertising and brands and ask you for a well-known logo that has a red background and white text.. Which one do you name first? And why do you think this brand has this strong awareness in your mind?
Now, come upp with two more logos with a red background and white font..

Next week I’ll will write about what we associate colors with and how this is used among brands and for products.

And by the way.. When you start to think about logotypes with red background and white text, are you sure you didn’t mix this up and came up with brand names with a white background and red logo? Color is quite abstract..