How do colours affect perception?

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Colour in design

The vast majority of consumers admit that they pay great attention to colour when choosing products for everyday use. It is therefore the most important design element, evoking certain feelings, influencing specific perceptions, determining the mood of the consumer, and encouraging or calming action.


In order to consciously steer the perception of a project and its effectiveness, you should know how to choose the right colours.

A few words about colours

Colours are nothing more than visible electromagnetic waves that cause specific reactions – from calming the body to raising blood pressure. Colour psychology deals with how people react to specific colours. Each colour is defined by 4 attributes: hue, saturation, brightness and temperature. Hue is the identity of a colour (blue, yellow, red, etc.). Saturation means intensity (pale, vivid). Temperature means whether a colour is warm or cold.

How do colours affect perception?

Yellow – the colour of sunshine and optimism

The colour yellow is associated with joy, happiness, energy and relaxation. It attracts attention, engages our brain and encourages action. However, it should be used in moderation – too much of it can cause nervousness or anxiety.
Mostly used for fast food, children’s brands, travel agencies

Orange – warmth and joy

Created from a combination of red and yellow, it combines energy and joy, cheerfulness. A colour that announces determination, fascination and friendship. A good solution if the target group are young people.

Red – energy and stimulation

The most stimulating colour in the whole colour palette. Increases appetite, stimulates action and forces quick decisions. Often used for subtitles during sales, to draw attention to an attractive price or a unique offer. At the same time it is a colour that emphasises danger and is associated with aggression, anger or illness.

Green – relaxation and unwinding

The most easily absorbed and relaxing colour directly associated with nature. It has positive overtones associated with relaxation, harmony and success. Recommended for the sports, tourism and ecology sectors.

Blue – the colour of peace and unity

The colour blue evokes feelings of trust and responsibility in most people, and it also calms and reduces tension. It strengthens concentration and facilitates communication, which is why it is very often used by banks, medical and technological industries. Indicates maturity. It should not be used with food, as it is associated with the lack of freshness.

Purple – creativity and innovation

A mysterious colour, indicative of creativity as well as wealth and quality. Commonly used in the cosmetics industry, also used by scientific institutions. Also suitable for products/services directed at women, but you will need to use a lighter tone for that.

Black – elegance and luxury

A colour always associated with class, seriousness and respectability. There is a reason why it is so widely used by industries offering luxury goods. It will appeal well to young people.

Colour wheel

To make colour matching easier for yourself, use the colour wheel, an invention of Isaac Newton which constantly helps to show the relationship between colours and their correct combinations. The wheel represents 12 colours and their combinations can be varied. The whole wheel is divided into two halves – warm colours and cold colours. Colours lying opposite each other are complementary – their combination gives a strong and energetic effect. However, it must be done skilfully – it is important that one of the two colours dominates – then we avoid the unpleasant effect of colour flickering. Triadic colours are 3 colours that are equally spaced from each other, while analogous colours are colours lying next to each other on the colour wheel. Dividing colours are those which lie on either side of a complementary colour. By juxtaposing them we have the opportunity to soften the complementary connections.

A useful tool for getting the colours right is Adobe Kuler:


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