Color has more of an effect on us than most people realize. Our reaction to color is instinctual and immediate.

One study showed that people decide whether they like a product in 90 seconds or less, and that 90% of that decision is based solely on color. To me that seems a bit overstated, but there’s no doubt that colors can have a powerful psychological resonance.

So it makes sense to give careful consideration to color when it comes to visual design — for videos, for websites, for logos … for everything.

Here are the emotional meanings of colors, courtesy of our friends at 99designs.

The color red can actually increase a person’s heart rate and cause them to breathe faster. Red is associated with lust, excitement, love, energy, and movement. It also has some potentially negative associations including war, violence, fire, anger, and danger.

Yellow is the brightest color. It is associated with competence, happiness, cheer, optimism, and youth. Yellow also has some negative associations such as cowardice, deceit, and cheapness.

Orange is an energetic and vibrant color often associated with fun, happiness, energy, warmth, ambition, excitement, and enthusiasm. It can also be used to communicate caution.

Green has a harmonizing, balancing effect. It is associated with growth, health, nature, wealth, money, calmness, masculinity, generosity, fertility, envy, good luck, peace, harmony, support, and energy.

Blue is associated with masculinity, competence, quality, calmness, dependability, steadfastness, wisdom, loyalty, strength, productivity, trust, and security. Bright blues can also be refreshing and energizing.

Purple is associated with royalty. It can be used to communicate creativity, imagination, authority, sophistication, power, wealth, prosperity, mystery, wisdom, and respect.

Although pink is a tint of red, it has some very specific associations beyond those of red. Pink represents sophistication, sincerity, romance, and love. It does not have the violent, angry connotations of red, and it can be quite soothing and gentle.

Brown is a warm, natural color associated with earth, ruggedness, reliability, stability, friendship, and nature.

Black is a strong color often associated with sophistication, elegance, authority, power, sleekness, stability, strength, formality, and intelligence. It can also symbolize death, mystery, evil, and rebellion.

White is associated with purity, cleanliness, virtue, happiness, sincerity, and safety.

Gray is associated with formality, professionalism, sophistication, practicality, timelessness, and strong character.

We gave these kids a white background to help establish the mood:

Color plays a big role in the visual design of videos. That’s why one of the first things we’ll ask you about is a color palette.

Have you made interesting use of color? I’d love to hear about it.

Bill Haley

P.S. Have a question about video? Let me know and I’ll try to answer it in a future post.


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