The meanings of color

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email



The meanings associated with colors can have a subtle yet powerful influence on how people will perceive your logo, advertisement, website, etc. The viewer may not even realize why they feel a certain way while looking at your piece, but color scheme can play an important role in their reaction.

In addition to the different colors there are also tints and shades of that color. Shades are created by adding more black to your base color and tints by adding more white. Having a darker or lighter version of your original color can greatly change its connotation. You can create a nice monochromatic palette simply by using different tints and shades of the same original color.

Neutral colors such as shades of gray and brown are often used as backgrounds in design either on their own for a sophisticated look or paired with a brighter color for more pop and vibrancy to draw the eye. Black is a very versatile neutral because it can mean many different things depending on the colors it is combined with.

It is very important to know which culture your target audience is as colors can have vastly different meanings based on someone’s cultural background. The following are just a few examples of differences in how cultures will interpret colors.

  • In Western society yellow is seen as a cowardly color while in Japan it is the color of courage and in China it is seen as a very masculine color.
  • While in many cultures green is seen as the symbol for wealth, new life and growth, in South America green is associated with death and North Africa has the connotation of being connected to corruption and the drug culture.
  • In America, blue is seen as the color for baby boys while in Belgium it is the color for baby girls.

Below are a few of the most common meanings for colors in western culture:

  • Red – love and passion, energy, strength, power, danger and warnings
  • Orange – energetic and fun; can be associated with health
  • Yellow – sun and warmth or cowardice and fear
  • Green – wealth, growth, health, nature
  • Blue – peace and calm, renewal, clean, water
  • Purple – luxury and royalty, comfort
  • White – purity, cleanliness, softness
  • Black – death and evil; however when combined with other colors – power, luxury, sophistication

The power of color is an important factor to think through when creating any design and the colors chosen can have a large effect on the overall feeling of the piece. Consider it as another aspect of how we can add clarity and strength to your branding message.

color wheel

Color wheel

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply