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Does Colour Matter?

As a business owner, there are so many decisions to make about the look of your business. Colour is often the most difficult choice – there are seemingly endless pieces of advice out there regarding which colours you should choose to express your intended message.


There’s no arguing that colour affects everyone, and whether everything you own is beige or you repaint that feature wall a different neon hue every month, colour plays a part in your everyday life. The question is: how do different colours affect your experience, and how can you use colour to improve the experience of your customers?

Colour theory is based on the idea that warm and cool colours affect us differently – warm colours such as red and orange suggest activity and cool colours such as blue and purple suggest passivity. At first glance this seems simple – fast food companies are red to get you out the door after you’ve ordered, social networking sites are blue to keep you lingering on the page.

Things get complicated when you begin to see the different schools of thought – some believe that yellow makes babies cry more, or that blue suppresses appetite. So where does the fact end and conjecture / symbolism / voodoo begin in color theory? There are people out there charging for “colour psychology consultancy” – is that even a thing?

The first thing to do is to get familiar with the colour preferences of your target demographic – research the choices they make and the current colours of the brands they’re excited about. Remember that culture can have a huge effect on how colours are perceived – white stands for purity in the Western culture and for death in the Far East, for example.

You don’t have to learn every possible theory about colour symbolism overnight – often, hiring a good graphic designer will eliminate most of your worries when it comes to choosing colours, though often you’ll want to make at least some basic decisions yourself before handing your brand over to a designer. In choosing your main brand colour, consider the basic rule we mentioned about warm and cool colours suggesting activity or passivity – what effect do you want your image to have on your audience? If you sell extreme sporting goods, you may want bright strokes of red or orange to suggest action and excitement, whereas if you sell aromatherapy candles, purple or green may be a more chilled choice.

Regardless of which school of thought you decide to go with, remember that choosing a colour basically comes down to common sense, personal preference, and a little research into your target audience.


Vanessa is a promotions manager at Springbok Casino by day, and a graphic design geek by night. She loves art, photography, and her two cats, who (in her unbiased opinion) are pretty much the best cats in the world.