psychology of colours


White, in Western society, has been the color of innocence. On a sign it can be used to suggest cleanliness and purity.


Black can be used effectively in signage to create an impression of low-keyed crispness and sedateness. Sophistication also is suggested, if large areas are used.

In assessing these colors, remember that fairly subtle shifts in tint and tone can create large differences in how a color is perceived. While red is appropriate when used in a fairly limited area, when used over too broad an area, it can be overpowering. Simply, pale yellow can suggest daintiness, whereas a deeper yellow becomes a very sensuous and powerful color.

In choosing the color to be used on an outdoor sign, the sign designer or advertiser must keep in mind the characteristics of the group toward whom he is directing his advertising. Research has shown that older people tend to prefer blue because it is easier for them to see. Men prefer deep shades of a color, while women prefer more delicate tints. In addition, there is some evidence that people in lower-income brackets prefer bright, undiluted, pure colors, while those in higher-income brackets prefer more subtle shades and tints. Children also react to certain colors positively. Bright colors attract and hold their attention. Yellows and reds are especially attractive to young children. Some fast-food establishments have selected color combinations which appeal to young age groups; for example, McDonald's emphasizes yellow and red.

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