The Language Of Colour

Categories Colour Design, Design Thinking, InnovationPosted on

Scientific research into colour is growing and it’s proving that our perception of a hue does affect both our body and mind. We can use colour to trick our mind into feeling a certain way. In pharmaceutical circles, scientists are experimenting with different coloured pills and the placebo effect colour can have without the pill itself have any medicinal qualities. A blue pill actually calms a patient and a red pill acts as an effective stimulant.

Whats more is colour “doesn’t actually exist” explain neuroscientists. It’s how are eyes interpret a particular set of wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation which is referred to as ‘visible light’.

Our mind can also perceive colours in words, tastes, sounds and translate our senses as colours. These people with this rare ability are called synesthetes after synesthesia. In studies can relay specific colours to letters or words, and reading words in sentences become different. Once colour synesthete wrote… “punctuation is always black”. This language of colour can be traced back to ancient tribes like the Edo people of Southern Nigeria. Using a chromatographic system of writing called the Asdolode (meaning ‘marks’) they write based on colour combinations and graphs.

Colour and shape are strong attractors to the eye. Advertisers and packaging designers use this combination to great effect. Creating a truly eye-catching poster is a science and an art form. Look at the colour blocking that happens on supermarket shelves, and study the shapes. Simple tricks that designers use to grab customers attention range from striking patterns – black & white striped repeat patterns, optical illusions, cold colours, circles. Try looking at a red circle on white. The eye is attracted to the red circle and its proven to be very difficult for the eye to leave the circle. This trick of colour and shape appears a lot in packaging – washing power graphics are especially guilty of this.

In brands, fewer colours are often better. The more colours that appear the more diluted and less memorable the message. Brands that contain fewer than three colours can have more impact and more trust attached to them, subconsciously we instinctively know the colour usage is more considered and this communicates a more confident message for the brand.

In summary, colour is a useful way for our brains to perceive the world. How we react to colour and what we learn from it is an incredible interaction and personal experience. At a very base, level colour helps us navigate and survive the world around us.

Language of colour can be traced back to ancient tribes like the Edo people of Southern Nigeria

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