Language of Colours

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The colours in nature are perceived at various wavelengths of light, which is a magnetic wave. The differences of lightness-darkness are perceived at various shades of light. For instance, the colour blue focuses right in front of the retina, and as a result of this it arouses a feeling of moving away. As for the colours at the red end of the colour spectrum, they form behind the retina, and thus, we feel as if the colour was bearing down on us when we look at it.

Women were found to be biologically superior to men in perceiving colours. Therefore, women find bright colours more effective. In addition, women are known to distinguish differences of shade well. That is why while women generally prefer more vivid colours; men tend to prefer more pastel colours. As people get older, the amount of light reaching the retina reduces, and sight gets weaker. As the image gets darker, people favour white and other bright colours to darker colours as their age advances. Yellow and red are the colours the eye perceives the most rapidly.

Colours are one of the fields of research of psychologists. Various researches have suggested that colours facilitate reading by 40%, comprehension by 73%, and learning and remembering by 55-78%.

A survey conducted by Xeros among business executives on the effect of colours has revealed the following results:

Those who believe that colours give a more impressive image: 90%

Those who believe that colours attract new customers: 90%

Those who believe that colours show them more successful: 83%

Those who believe that colours provide them with a competitive-edge: 81%

Those who believe that colours show businesses larger then they are: 76%

Colours are not only used to embellish, decorate or camouflaging. Colours are a mean of communication each, and they are codes full of messages. Therefore, many fashion designers and retail giants use the colours, and they receive consulting from us. Most brands benefit from colours in their logos, signboards, commercials, packages, and store designs.

For instance, they use blue to give a feeling of coolness and spaciousness, red or orange to add warmth and excitement, green to give peace, and white to inspire confidence. Colours help our perceptual organizations. To illustrate, pink stands for “flowers fragrances” while green means “ocean scent” on deodorant containers. Such colours as silver, gold, and platinum are associated with wealth.

Colours are also used for product differentiation and product positioning. Coca-Cola adopted the colour red, and Pepsi the colours red and blue. We can interpret the difference with the thought that a more successful positioning can be made if a colour opposite to the one chosen by the competition. Various colours may also be introduced as fashionable at various times and gain different meanings other than that of a given colour.

Colour combinations also result in different meanings that go beyond the meaning of individual colours. For instance, wherever we see the flag colours of the three top football teams of Turkey, we associate them with the relevant team. When the packaging of a product is decorated with the colours of a club’s flag, the product and the relevant team are associated with each other.

The meaning of colours may vary from one culture to another. For example, people take a fancy to the colour green in the Middle East; however, they would not like to walk on a green carpet. White symbolizes pureness and cleanliness in many European countries while it means mourning in Japan. In Europe, the colour of mourning is black. Business owners should be careful about the colours they use in their logos and stores. For example, men generally tend to prefer boxes and packages in brown and blue. Women are more inclined to the yellow shade of red while men to the blue shade. When combined with the image and internal design of a store, colours do have an encouraging influence on customers to shop, and warm colours, in particular, are said to attract customers to the store. It is a general opinion that cold colours, in return, ensure that customers are more comfortable and satisfied within the store.

Psychological Effects of Colours:

Certain colours used in food retail can also be associated with certain tastes. For instance; greenish yellow can be associated with sourness; light green or blue on grey with saltiness; and the colour orange with sweetness.

Colours, at the same time, also give an idea about the qualities of products. Orange is often used in the packaging of practical and appetising foods. Dart green evokes the image of “freshness” in canned vegetables. Certain shades of red can be used in jams and confectionaries. The gilded form of colours is associated with quality and difference.

At the same time, while the packages of solid food products are generally brown and blue, those of liquid food products can be bluish green.

According to researches conducted by psychologists, the colours to be noticed the first and in the easiest way are as follows: Orange, red, blue, black, green, yellow, purple, and grey.

Yellow: As the colour of the Sun, the energy source of the Earth, yellow is a very attention grabbing colour that makes one happy. However, psychological researches reveal that people can get angry more quickly and babies can cry in an easier way in yellow rooms. When used excessively, it can have a straining and tiring effect on the eyes. Customers feel relieved, relaxed, and comfortable in a yellow environment. Yellow bears the meaning attention grabbing and temporary. This is why taxis are yellow. Therefore, retail stores should not use this colour. What is essential is not temporariness but permanence. The colour yellow can depict both vitality and grief. Since it evokes two effects, it might cause confusion. That is why it would not be suitable for study rooms and resting places.

Green: It is the symbol of trust and peace. That is why it is one of the colours banks prefer the most. Since it is the easiest colour for the eye to look at, people pay attention to using light green in lounges and hospitals. Green symbolizes health. It increases motivation, ensuring that we concentrate better. It symbolizes money. It symbolizes naturalness. Green also stands for abundance. As it reminds one of nature, it would create a relaxing and sedative effect for customers when used in stores. It is the mostly-preferred colour in greengrocery sections.

Blue: It evokes feelings of cleanliness, comfort, silence, and relaxation in people. It is even believed in some faiths to reduce blood pressure and slow down blood circulation. Being the colour of the air and the sea, it is one of the colours we see the most often in our daily lives. Since painting the walls in blue would give the customers inside calmness, peace, and softness, it is thought that the colour blue has a significant influence during shopping. Banking and financial sectors prefer this colour.

Navy blue: It is a colour that maintains a low profile. It is the symbol of authority and infinity for people. It is a colour that makes people feel charismatic. That is why it is likely that you see the colour navy blue in the logos of most companies. The colour navy blue is effective in enhancing intuitions and facilitating making decisions. It is the colour of thought.

Brown: It is the colour of realism, planning, and system. Brown represents trust. It represents boredom weariness as well as practicality and the world. Brown has the effect of accelerating customers. That is why fast-food restaurants mainly use this colour. Brown is a colour that is widely used in the home sector.

Pink: It reminds one of harmony, joy, femininity, and tenderness as well as the spring and the smell of newly blossomed flowers. It has a sedative effect. It symbolizes love and romanticism. It is a colour that makes one feel comfortable and rests one. That is why certain stores make their employees wear pink uniforms.

Purple: It connotes dramatic and mysterious feelings. It is the most ideal colour to ensure concentration. Purple makes it easier to reach the subconscious. It represents leadership, wealth, success, and wisdom. It is the last step of glory and luxury. Purple evokes a significant impact on customers for a store selling products that appeal to higher classes.

Red: It is known to whet appetite. It is used to attract attention. It is the most ideal colour for active people. It is the symbol of vitality and dynamism. Being the most intensive colour emotionally, it causes heartbeats to accelerate. Red is the colour that grabs the attention of the eye the most in any given environment. For this reason, a person dressed in red looks cool and assertive. Almost half of national flags are red dominated in colour. Red expresses perseverance and determination to go to the full distance. That is why most food companies use the colour red. However, it is also a colour that can also activate rage, timidity, and fear.

Black: It is a colour that absorbs the light. It is associated with perfection, sublimeness, and depth. It is the symbol of imperturbability and seriousness. It represents power and passion. It also means nobility and luxury as well as representing authority, power, and the end. That is why men who evoke an image of powerful do generally wear black. However, black also symbolizes submission. That is why monks wear black in order to show their submission. A combination of black and white is the most classical one used to express the unity of force and openness, and power and plainness.

White: It symbolizes stability, continuity, pureness, innocence, cleanliness, and beginnings. That is why health professionals (doctors, nurses) wear white. A wedding gown is white, so are a dove and a shroud. White is the colour the eye perceives in the most brightly. It would be useful to use it especially in food sections. It creates an exhilarating effect in the environments it is used.

Colours may also bring about different combinations of feelings and thoughts when used together. Let us give a couple of examples: When brown and red come together, the effect of red reduces and it comes to an alleviating and relaxing state. Red on a green background looks appetising. Black writing on a yellow background is the catchiest writing. Red used on black is associated with violence. When used with white, red is associated with compassion.

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