The art of colour psychology

This month we are delighted to invite Alison Joshi from “JWJ Design” to explain a little more about the art of colour psychology. Alison is a brilliant graphic designer who works with small business owners to help them set up and establish their brand logo and identity. Here is what she had to say about the art of colour psychology:

Author: Alison Joshi, Founder and Creative Director from JWJ Design.

The idea of colour psychology has been around for a while but actually using it as a tool to help design stronger brands is something I have only been doing in the past few years. 

I first discovered colour psychology whilst at art college back in the 90’s, learning all about the rules of how red represents passion and power, green is calming etc . . . but I didn’t really harness the knowledge in branding until I discovered Fiona Humberstone, “The Brand Stylist”.

Through her books and talks I discovered that colour psychology went much deeper than my learnings at art college, and that this tool could really help create strong foundations in my designs.

What is colour psychology?

Colour psychology is the effect of different colours on human emotions and responses. There are 4 seasons; spring, summer, autumn and winter, each season has a distinctive personality; and with that there are certain colours, typefaces and shapes that help communicate these traits.

For example, if you are a spring brand then generally you are a business that is bursting with excitement, has lots of ideas, optimistic and energetic. Think how exciting spring is in the UK; the start of new life, new ideas and days getting warmer. The colours that work for spring brands are generally light and bright; think blossom colours, spring bulbs etc.. 

In contrast if you are a business that is more autumnal, then these businesses tend to be rooted and grounded in style, they have strong ethics and authenticity in the vision for their business. The colours are earthy and sometimes richer in tone, think sage greens, burnt oranges, deep reds etc.

More than colour

Once you start harnessing this knowledge, you realise that the idea of colour psychology goes much deeper than just the shade of red you might use. 

It sets the tone for the style of typeface, textures and shapes that might appear in your brand assets, as well as help think about props that could appear in your photography. 

Working out which season

Before I start any new branding project with my clients, I go through the process of gathering as much information about their business as possible. 

Through conversations and them answering a short questionnaire, I start pulling together key words that communicate their business values and vision. 

You want to think deeper than ‘professional’ and ‘approachable’. Really think about what it is you want to say about your business, what feelings do you want to evoke? Some key words I have used in the past are: authentic, rustic, quality, honest, respect, encouraging, wise . . . (These key words are all linked to an autumnal brand.)

Once you have a list of words then we can start seeing which season is dominant in style. Remember, we are talking about your business not necessarily your own personality. 

The idea of colour psychology is not meant to be restrictive. It helps give the business owner confidence and clarity; knowing they are talking to their target market effectively, communicating the right message about themselves and their business and thus creating more effective marketing solutions.

Thank you Alison for sharing your thoughts behind colour psychology. To celebrate JWJ Design being 10 years old, Alison is offering 10 FREE brand consultations via Zoom (throughout May 2021 only). If you have a creative question about your logo, marketing design or need some guidance on how to make your logo in to a brand then please get in touch to book a FREE 45 min discovery call.

Alison Joshi

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