Using Color to Influence Consumers

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(Yes, these are some decorating examples back when I didn’t really have a life and obviously had too much time on my hands)

I’m mesmerized by anything color-related. My ideal job would include elements of design, color, communication, fashion, film/media/arts and constant travel. After all, I considered being an interior designer for the longest time (until I realized that I’m not the best artist and also stink at math). Instead, I just channel my love for design and color through random doodles and decorations in my spare time (which is a little rare right now, just because I’m doing a little something called “uprooting my life to another country in seven months”).

Since I need to be visually and physically stimulated in order to retain my interest in something, color is one of the best ways to grab my attention. I’m also an extremely ADD-type visual learner, so if there aren’t images or enticing videos interspersed throughout a lecture, presentation, or meeting, the likelihood of me falling asleep or tuning out is undoubtable. There’s also a reason why every inch of the walls in my room is covered with photos, jewelry, posters, or blocked by stuffed animals. I hate white, open space (although I definitely love how clean and sleek things look when they’re more open at times)… somehow, I just manage to fill open space with color and designs, so it’s pretty impossible for me to leave anything untouched.

This could explain why my wardrobe consists of things in every color of the rainbow. I dislike wearing blacks, whites, grays, or browns unless they’re colors of pants that match with everything. I’m all about pastels and bright colors– I mix and match, even if it’s a fashion faux pas as coined by professionals. I don’t care what anyone thinks of me or how I dress, which is probably a good mentality to have when traveling to an exotic country like NZ. I never over-think my wardrobe, either. I used to plan my outfits for the week in high school. In my working life right now, it’s all about rolling out of bed, grabbing something, throwing on some jewelry and a bright blazer (even if that’s technically not Disney Look, oops), and getting out the door in 15 min. On weekends, I love to pair the loudest colored skirts with the loudest colored tops. I’m eccentric and totally out there. Part of my identity.

Color has a strong psychological hold on people. There is a definite correlation between color and feeling. Since color can affect emotion, it can easily alter a consumer’s behavior.

Key learnings

  • Red: Increases heart rate and exudes energy, induces urgency, passion, excitement and power. Used for clearance sales, trying to appeal to impulse buyers. Fast food chains use red to induce a hurry-up and leave attitude, creating high customer turnover and more sales.
  • Orange: Aggressive, exudes energy, and is used to draw attention to a particular action they want you to take – subscribe, buy, or sell.
  • Yellow: Lightness, optimism, happiness, brightness, joy, and youthfulness.
  • Green: Easiest color for the eye to process; also portrays life, naturalness, restfulness, health, prosperity, wealth and finance.
  • Blue: Spirituality and peace, patience, loyalty, trustworthiness, and security. Associated with banks and businesses. Also used to create confidence with budget spenders.
  • Pink: Romantic and feminine; used to market products and services to women and young girls.
  • Purple: Used to calm and soothe; exemplifies wisdom and sophistication. Associated with beauty and anti-aging products.
  • Black: Powerful, elegant, sleek, secrecy, mystery, luxury, and goes well with fitness marketing efforts.

Back in the MySpace age, I used to go around saying, “Color my world,” and “Colorize my life.” Thus, my Twitter handle (@debskittles) evolved after my best friend figuratively knew that I liked to taste the rainbow one day at a time.

Color is so vital to life. Why not embrace it and use it for the benefit of businesses and careers?


Shoutout: Karen Pham and her amazing design blog:

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