Whether you’re designing your logo, redecorating your office, or picking out clothes for a presentation, you’re making an important business statement with the colors you choose. Color has a powerful impact on the emotions and psyche, and the right colors can really boost your mood, so you feel more confident, and also help you to get your marketing message across.
So before you let your graphics person or the decorator decide for you, or before you wear “just any old thing,” to an important business event, take a moment to ask yourself: How do you want to feel, and how do you want others to perceive you?
The Psychology & Meaning of Colors
I’ve always been fascinated with color psychology and have some hands-on experience from my years in the beauty industry, retail merchandising, website development, and in the study of spiritual energetics. In all of those fields, color is a language. Here’s my pocket- dictionary version of the emotional qualities & symbolism of the major shades on the color wheel:
Pastel: Rose & Light Pink= gentle, caring, supportive.
Bright: Fiery Red & Hot Pink= confident, enthusiastic, bold.
Deep: Ruby Red & Maroon= passionate, strong, successful.
Pastel: Peach & Melon= sweet, romantic, tender.
Bright: Tangerine= energetic, unique, creative.
Deep: Rust= earthy, abundant, distinctive.
Pastel: Beige & Tan= subtle, relaxed, calm.
Bright: Warm Browns= natural, grounded, reliable.
Deep: Dark Chocolate= understated, sophisticated, rich.
Pastel: Light Yellow= creative, thoughtful, optimistic.
Bright: Lemon & Dandelion= spirited, playful, active.
Deep: Saffron & Gold= social, regal, esteemed.
Pastel: Aqua & Sage= tranquil, quiet, serene.
Bright: Apple & Emerald= vital, healthy, restorative.
Deep: Teal & Forest= open-minded, centered, wise.
Pastel: Light Blue= easy-going, harmonious, expansive.
Bright: Sky Blue & Turquoise= clear, honest, trustworthy.
Deep: Cobalt & Navy= refined, elegant, traditional.
Pastel: Lavender & Periwinkle= unusual, ethereal, whimsical.
Bright: Royal Purple= courageous, individual, dramatic.
Deep: Dark Purple & Eggplant= artistic, soulful, mysterious.
Pastel: Cream= soft, luxurious, receptive.
Bright: Pure White= open, pure, radiant.
Pastel: Grey= cultured, polished, classic.
Deep: Onyx= powerful, enigmatic, solid.
Silver= modern, efficient, bright.
Gold= luxurious, warm, established.
How to Design an Effective Color Scheme
Choosing colors is really fun and the process will help you further clarify your business identity. I think the best place to start is within yourself, selecting the colors that best convey your business values & personality. Since you’re going to be looking at your business colors more than anyone else, you should absolutely love them!
Next, you’ll want to look at your color choices from an outsider’s point of view, to see if they’re congruent with your business image. You might ask people you trust for their opinions at this point. The idea is to find colors that represent the type of business you’re in and that also communicate the style and manner in which you operate. So for example, if you adore an unusual color, but it doesn’t match your profession, try a lighter of deeper version of it until it feels like, “you” but also looks right to others.
After you’ve chosen the colors you like, then it’s time to play with the proportions. A professional and harmonious color scheme usually consists of 2-4 colors. For collateral materials, don’t forget that the background of your website and/or the paper you use also counts as a color choice because it’s part of the design.
Remember, good design doesn’t always follow the rules. Experiment, try new things, and give yourself permission to reinvent yourself once in a while.
Here’s an inspirational quote on color dynamics for you to ponder:
“Colour helps to express light, not the physical phenomenon, but the only light that really exists, that in the artist’s brain.”
Henri Matisse, 1945.
Jaya Savannah - Chief Inspiration Officer. Strategy Coach for Holistic Businesses. Trainer, speaker, and writer. Spiritually aware, yet street smart. Elephant lover.