Psychology of Colours 101

Ever wondered why green is often associated with nature and red with danger? Colours may not have mouths but they speak very loudly. Sometimes, they speak in agreement with each other and other times, they have heated arguments. That is why some colour combinations are more appealing to the eyes than others. In this post, we will consider the hidden messages our colours speak so loudly so often. We will learn how to listen to them and how to work with them to yield the best results. 

Graphics design fundamentally incorporates the combination of texts, colours, shapes, lines and other elements to create visually captivating and engaging results. In our world, colours are indispensable in every visual presentation. Colours not only add beauty and contrast to arrangements, but they also communicate emotions and authority. The ability to combine colours sets artists apart. Appealing to the core of individuals requires the ability to attract, captivate and maintain the attention of viewers. This is eminent with a good understanding of what various colours represent.

Colours may not have mouths but they speak very loudly.


Tania Sánchez defined the psychology of colour as a study of colours and their influence on human behaviour. Human beings are influenced by various factors at various times. The psychology of colours explores how colours influence human beings and their decisions. Comprehensive coverage of the psychology of colours will require a lot of information that would require a lot of writing. We shall keep it simple, scratch the surface and set the tone for our journey into understanding colours.



The Primary Colors

Different colour classifications exist. One very fundamental rendition is that of primary, secondary and tertiary colours. The primary colours refer to those that cannot be derived from the mix of other colours. These are Red, Blue and Yellow (although many sources cite Cyan, Magenta and Yellow as the primary colours). Irrespective of which you decide to uphold, the rock bottom of the argument for primary colours is that they cannot be derived from the mix of other colours. Other colours, however, may be derived by mixing them in various proportions.


Red is often associated with fire, violence, danger (traffic lights for instance), and sometimes with love, and importance (Red carpets for instance). The Devil and Cupid (the god of love) have been portrayed in association with red. Studies suggest that Red has physical effects on people, raises blood pressure, respiration rates and enhances human metabolism.

In design, red can be a powerful accent colour. Used too much, it can have an overwhelming effect. It portrays power in designs. It is a very versatile colour with different shades bringing different levels of power and elegance. Red is the colour of the blood in most animals and can be used in context to portray life.


Blue is generally used to represent calmness and responsibility. In some contexts, it may represent sadness. Light blues can be refreshing and friendly. Dark blues are more strong and more reliable. Blue is also associated with peace and has spiritual and religious connotations in many cultures.

The shade and hue generally affect the meaning associated with blue in designs. Light blues are often relaxed and calming. Bright blues can be energizing and refreshing. Dark blues, like navy, are excellent for corporate sites or designs where strength and reliability are important.


Yellow is a warm colour and is often considered the brightest. It is associated with happiness, sunshine, hope, and sometimes with danger, though not as strongly as red.

In your designs, yellow sometimes can depict happiness and cheerfulness. Softer yellows are commonly used as a gender-neutral colour. They give a calm feeling of happiness sometimes look antique and can be used in to create a sense of permanence is desired.


Subsequently, we shall explore the secondary and tertiary colours. We will also examine other colour classifications and the basic rules for combining colours to achieve excellent designs. Your journey to artistic mastery is will be made smoother by your deep understanding of colours and how to combine them. Nature is an excellent representation of colour combinations. Take the time to examine your immediate surroundings and explore the intricate colour combinations. You don’t know where the next inspiration will hit you.


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