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A designer’s guide to color and emotion
26 Mar

A designer’s guide to color and emotion

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We’re able to see different colors because of our retina’s innate ability to differentiate frequencies of light waves.

Certain colors or shades evoke different sentiments in people. In this post, I want to give a quick introduction to color theory, ways to combine colors, and tools for designing with color — that you as a designer can benefit from to make your designs delightful.


Let’s start!

Different moods are attributed to different colors and you can use these different colors to achieve different ends.

  1. Red has been traditionally associated with Love, Energy, and Intensity. So a lot of car ads, or anything related to love are some shade of red.
  2. Yellow tends to be used for things to convey Joy, Attention, Intellect. Yellow is an incredibly attention-grabbing colour. However, yellow is not a good choice for the background of your app or as the main interface. Yellow can cause attention fatigue. It’s an excellent choice for app icon design or app screenshot design.
  3. Green has been associated with Freshness, Safety, and Growth. This is why you’ll see most nature, healthy food, related companies use green for their branding.
  4. Blue — Stability. Trust. Serenity. No surprise why both Facebook and Twitter are blue.
  5. Purple stands for royalty. Wealth. Feminity. Purple tends to be used for women-targeted products. And luxury products.

To see these theories in action, start analyzing advertisements. After all, ads are really well thought-out experiments in persuasion and manipulating human psychology.

Next time you see an ad, try to see what techniques or design principles they’re using to make their design look beautiful and what emotion they’re trying to evoke.

Choosing a color palette is not all about advertising and attention-grabbing, though. It’s also about selling your product and appealing to certain instincts or desires that people have.

So the next time you’re designing an app/website, the first thing to think about is what emotions you want to evoke and ideas you’re trying to convey to the user and pick a colour palette accordingly.

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