The Language of Colours

Think of the colour green. What immediately comes to mind?
Envy and jealousy? Or nature and calmness?

Colours have multiple hidden meanings, associations and symbolism behind them; they evoke emotions and feelings and have a big effect on first impressions and how someone will perceive a certain design or branding. It can be tricky to choose which colours to use in a design as there are so many possible ways to interpret each choice.

Today I'm sharing some of the more common associations with 11 key colour groups, both positive and negative, some of which you may already be subconsciously aware of.

 
Red - The Language of Colours - Bea & Bloom Creative Design Studio

{ Red, Crimson, Maroon, Wine, Brick, Cherry, Claret, Ruby, Rust, Strawberry }

Meanings:
Love, Passion, Energy, Power, Strength, Heat, Desire, Bold, Daring

Negatives:
Anger, Danger, Warning

 
Orange - The Language of Colours - Bea & Bloom Creative Design Studio

{ Orange, Apricot, Peach, Coral, Carrot, Salmon, Tangerine, Pumpkin }

Meanings:
Courage, Confidence, Friendliness, Success, Warm, Playful, Exotic, Curiosity

Negatives:
Ignorance, Deceit

 
Yellow - The Language of Colours - Bea & Bloom Creative Design Studio

{ Yellow, Amber, Gold, Banana, Sunflower, Mustard, Straw, Saffron }

Meanings:
Energetic, Happy, Joyful, Uplifting, Optimism, Creativity, Attention Grabbing

Negatives:
Unstable, Warning

 
Green - The Language of Colours - Bea & Bloom Creative Design Studio

{ Green, Sage, Olive, Mint, Apple, Emerald, Shamrock, Moss, Pistachio, Lime }

Meanings:
Fresh, Healing, Earthy, Nature, Calming, Healing, Peace, Fertility, Money

Negatives:
Jealousy, Envy, Greed

 
Blue - The Language of Colours - Bea & Bloom Creative Design Studio

{ Blue, Turquoise, Navy, Sapphire, Sky, Ultramarine, Cyan, Powder, Ice }

Meanings:
Wisdom, Loyalty, Tranquil, Calm, Balance, Loyalty, Friendship, Trust

Negatives:
Coldness, Melancholy

 
Purple - The Language of Colours - Bea & Bloom Creative Design Studio

{ Purple, Mauve, Violet, Lavender, Plum, Lilac, Heather, Amethyst, Grape }

Meanings:
Royalty, Richness, Luxury, Ambition, Eccentric, Magic, Creativity, WIsdom

Negatives:
Gloom, Melancholy

 
Pink  - The Language of Colours - Bea & Bloom Creative Design Studio

{ Pink, Rose, Fuscia, Blush, Magenta, Bubblegum, Candy, Rosewood }

Meanings:
Femininity, Caring, Soft, Gentle, Romantic, Happiness, Hope

Negatives:
Immaturity, Weakness

 
Grey - The Language of Colours - Bea & Bloom Creative Design Studio

{ Grey, Graphite, Pewter, Silver, Slate, Dove, Fog, Ash, Lead, Stone }

Meanings:
Stable, Calming, Modern, Futuristic, Intelligence, Focused

Negatives:
Gloom, Sadness

 
Brown  - The Language of Colours - Bea & Bloom Creative Design Studio

{ Brown, Coffee, Mocha, Chocolate, Brunette, Caramel, Umber, Fawn }

Meanings:
Outdoors, Earthy, Organic, Natural, Longevity, Genuine, Reliable

Negatives:
Illness, Dullness

 
 
White  - The Language of Colours - Bea & Bloom Creative Design Studio

{ White, Pearl, Ivory, Snow, Cotton, Porcelain, Lace, Linen, Frost }

Meanings:
Purity, Innocence, Freshness, Clean, Peaceful, Healing, Goodness

Negatives:
Emptiness

 
Black  - The Language of Colours - Bea & Bloom Creative Design Studio

{ Black, Ebony, Midnight, Jet, Raven, Charcoal, Ink, Crow, Soot }

Meanings:
Elegance, Drama, Power, Mystery, Formality, Serenity, Meticulous

Negatives:
Evil, Death

 
 

Do any of these colour associations surprise you? Don't be put off by the negative associations of some colours, unless they are specifically relevant to what you're trying to portray. For example, if you're trying to convey a message of joy and happiness, using pink with its connotations of immaturity probably won't be a problem, but you might want to steer clear of black which can symbolise evil and death!

Generally its best to choose colours based on their meaning and the message they convey and how they might appeal to your audience, rather than just picking your favourite colour. A lot of us will make a decision on whether or not to buy a product (or sign up to a service, or read a blog or a book) based on our first impressions, and colour will have a big impact on that impression.

The next post in this series will focus on colour palettes and how to combine colours together that compliment each other.

{ Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 }

PS. All of my branding packages include the creation of a colour palette to suit your business and target audience, so if colour isn't your strong point, I've got you covered!