color association, paint brushes for colors, business promotion for dentists

The Psychology of Color: Part II

Published: 09/15/2014

To recap last month's design blog, we covered the primary colors of pigment: red, blue, and yellow. This month we are covering the secondary colors of green, purple, and orange. So on to it!


Green. Green is the color of vitality, healing, life, nurturing, harmony, and peace, and because so much of it is found in nature, it puts people at ease more than any other color. On a more primitive level, because plants are green, we find that more green is a sign of an abundance of life and a lack of it is a sign of famine. In food packaging, the right color green is attractive, but if that green is off by a shade or two, it will give the impression of stagnation or mold. While green does tend to give us a feeling of rest, this can also lead to a feeling of boredom. Used in medical and dental websites, green is most often paired with blues and whites and as a brighter or lime green to promote vitality, cleanliness, and life.


Purple. Purple or violet, depending on if it's more of a blue or red hue, is the color of imagination, dreams, mysticism, royalty, and luxury. Because of its dark nature, many dental websites tend to shy away from purples to help the website not feel so dark. There is a caveat to this as lavender, a very light shade of purple, is traditionally the color of dental education. With sedation dentistry and sleep apnea therapy becoming more popular, purples have found more of a foothold in dental website design. Used sparingly, purple is an asset; used incorrectly, purple can make something feel cheap and overdone faster than any other color.


Orange. Orange is the color of creativity, the embodiment of warmth, fun, security, and comfort. Being vibrant, orange is an attention getter. In websites it is used for calls to action, or in its muted earth tone states used as a comforting neutral brown or beige to aid in a warm office or homey feeling. While this flexibility in orange (brown) has many uses in websites, studies have shown in both men and women that bright orange is their least favorite color and often a sign of immaturity.


While we have covered both the primary and secondary colors of pigment, do not forget that the psychology of color is subjective. While your tastes may call for more vivid or subdued colors, the goal in selecting a color for marketing reasons is more about portraying the image and emotional response you wish to invoke from your audience while at the same time pleasing you as a client. In next month's design blog, we will talk more about the physics of light, color, and the human eye.


Author: Marc Steffensen
Position: Creative Director
Marc Steffensen is the Creative Director at Business Promotion and has been with the company since 2009. He has been a professional graphic designer since 2005 and a graphic artist since the mid 90s. Marc's interests are eclectic within all things "nerd" culture, from music and movies to games and collectables. He is an amateur barbeque chef and likes to "fire up" his smoker, even in the middle of winter.

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