It is said that design is the art of combining functionality with aesthetics. In order for this to succeed, many different aspects have to coincide. These include the benefit, without which a design would be void of meaning, and the form, which can vary from soft and organic to hard and edgy and which is a huge factor in influencing an object’s appearance as well as its touch and feel. But ultimately it is usually the colour of an object that decides whether or not we like it. This is precisely because colours impact directly on our psychological well-being and our mood. Colours are what touch our hearts directly. Whether a product is perceived as warm or cold, dynamic or calming, youthful and fresh or sober and elegant is determined primarily by its colour.
Colour as a design element
Take the Opto reading glasses from XD Design for example: Their unique, bouncy shape is unquestionably innovative. Yet the first thing we notice about them are their bright colours. The shimmering blue, fresh lime green, intense red and bright pink shades immediately stand out and give the glasses a youthful and fresh appearance, instantly liberating them from the image of a dull set of reading glasses for the older generation and instead making them a trendy style item for people with good taste.
What are the effects of different colours?
Each colour has a different effect. That is not just because everyone has different tastes and maybe even a different favourite colour. In fact, the impact that a colour has is more or less universal and does not normally vary from person to person. This also applies to the “non-colours” black, white and grey.
Light colours make rooms and items look bigger, while dark colours make them look smaller. This effect is put to use both in interior design and in the day-to-day make-up habits of fashion-conscious ladies to achieve proportion and emphasise advantageous features. In addition, each colour has its own warm and cold colour tones. Furthermore, the intensity as well as the brightness affect the impact that a colour has.
Black appears dignified and classy. In most Western cultures, it is also the colour of mourning. As a result, it can at times convey an ominous undertone. Nevertheless black is the ultimate in timeless elegance in the fashion world at present, as it transcends any passing colour fads. After all, the “little black number” is an absolute essential wardrobe item for every fashion-conscious woman.
White is almost completely neutral: Pure and puristic, it allows for countless combinations and enhances the impact of the colours used with it instead of detracting from them. White is also seen as the colour of peace and of divinity, which is perhaps one reason why luxury items in particular tend to be in a pure and elegant white.
Grey is sober and unapproachable. It has an impersonal and distanced feel. Because it lacks emotion and individuality, grey can sometimes also seem boring, but this effect can be easily counteracted by using splashes of colour to brighten up different grey tones. Through clever combinations, grey can retain its elegance and unapproachable flair as well as a pleasant sophistication.
Red is the colour of passion. It has an exciting and warm feel, but can also increase aggression and signal danger. Because red is very striking, it is often used as a warning or signalling colour. Speaking of striking, red generally attracts attention. Whether it’s a red dress that draws admiring glances to the wearer, a red carpet that shows everyone where it’s at, or the tempting red colour of ripe fruit – red is always worth keeping an eye on.
Orange feels warm and stimulating, exuding a joy of life and optimism. Orange is said to build self-confidence and make us more active. At the same time, orange is the underlying colour of terracotta hues, which are particularly popular for interiors on account of the warm and cosy atmosphere they create.
Yellow is the colour of joy and of light. If mixed with a little green, however, the sunny and warm effect can turn into an unpleasant ‘poisonous’ shade.
Blue creates a sense of depth and calm, but is also the coolest colour. Blue represents rationality and clarity as well as hope. It is said to promote concentration and to help achieve inner peace.
Green is the colour of nature and harmony as well as of creative energy and creativity. Light green tones appear youthful and fresh, while dark green hues tend to have a peaceful feel.
Purple is seen as the colour of mysticism and spirituality. The colour is calming and balancing. In addition to its harmonising effect, purple is also said to reduce people’s appetite and their mood swings.
Brown is calming and soft. As a natural earth colour, brown shades convey inner peace and a sense of connection.
Areas of application in colour psychology
Colours have a strong effect on us. As a result, many areas use the power of colours to achieve a certain impact. In colour therapy, for example, coloured light is used in an attempt to counteract pathological states of mind such as fear, panic attacks, sleeplessness or depression and trauma. For example, the effect of lively orange colours is believed to alleviate the symptoms of those who suffer from depression, while people who are constantly on the go are said to achieve inner peace by means of balancing light exposure.
The advertising sector also loves colour, as colours can be used to convey emotions, strengthen images and create a feeling of belonging to a group. And that is exactly what you need for successful marketing! Consistent use of colours raises recognisability, with fresh and bold colours attracting young target groups and muted tones appealing more to an older or at least more sedate target group. Another aspect in relation to colour is that of gender. Products for men and women often differ first and foremost in terms of the colours used. For example, often the only difference in razors with the same function used by men and by women is their colour, with one produced in feminine shades and the other produced in masculine colours for their different markets (you can read more about this in our blog article Gender roles and clichés.
The field of interior design not only likes colour, it needs colour in order to exist. This is because colour means everything in the design of interior spaces. By choosing the right colour for the walls of a room, small and cold rooms can be made to look larger and brighter. Colour can be used to define different living spaces and to combine spaces, depending on your choice. Also, coloured accessories and design elements can add touches that change the whole feel of a room, not to mention the pleasant, homely feeling that using the right colours gives.
The world is colourful
Considering the powerful effect that colours have on us, it is no wonder that designers also want to use the right colours to increase the value of their products. A glance on our design portal shows how colourful design can awaken a joie de vivre and make the design products even more attractive. And if that is still not enough colour for you, there is one more thing you can do: Take a look outside at nature and enjoy the natural and colourful diversity of life!
It’s time to make your life a little more colourful!
Posted on 23.05.2017