Colour is the effective means of attracting attention. There is no doubt that the colour is better than black and white most of the times. But the important issue is how much better? Does the increased cost of colour justify its use? Is its psychological effect worth the premium price? Is it worth the price where the use of colour in printed advertisement or for T.V. commercials which increases the cost upto 25%.
Research studies show that the colour has high attention getting value. The T.V. colour commercial perform 55% better than the same commercials in black and white. The colour that attract attention best are the colours most preferred.
First preference for most people tested was blue with red a very close second. Next was green. Then come violet, orange and yellow. Men and women differ only slightly in colour preferences, the first three choices being the same for both. What ever their “favourite colours” people stick with them for a long time, perhaps always.
The question of just “why people prefer certain colours is only beginning to be explored. The evidence to data suggests that our colour preferences are closely related to our personality and our emotional make-up. The evidence also suggests that it is more than coincidence that the out going person, the hole and hearty type, prefers red. The quiet or restrained person, on the other hand, tends prefer blues and greens.
The question of whether colour preferences change with age is of particular interest to the advertiser who advertises to different age groups. The answer is that our colour preferences do change, at least as we go from childhood into adulthood.
Babies less than a year old select red as first choice, then yellow, then green, then blue. Between one and two years, blue moves ahead of green. By kinder garden time (five years) yellow drops to last place, while red, blue, and green are about equal. This order carries on through adulthood, yellow continuing to go down.
Why is blue preferred more and more as we grow older? The universal adult preference for blue may bear some relation to what takes place in the eye as age increases. As the years go by the lens of the human eye grows yellower.
In fact, the lens of a child’s eye may absorb as little as to per cent of blue light, while that of an old man may absorb as much as 85 per cent. This change is probably nature’s way of protecting us against brilliant light as we grow older.
Colour effect not only physically but also psychologically. People react strongly to colours. Some colours are liked very much while other colours they dislike. Colour is an excellent means of creating an emotional feeling around an advertisement and around the product advertised, and of strengthening the emotional appeal of the advertisement.
When the colour is good, the feeling produced is very, very good. When the colour is bad (or wrong), the feeling can be just the opposite.
When a person is asked to name what he considers the most exciting colour, his answer is usually considered to be blue; and the most natural yellow. There differences are not merely psychological. Different colours have different “physical” effects on the human organism and thus give rise to an emotional feeling.
Colour can speed up or slow down reactions of the mind and body Researchers have observed, that the red colour leads to the state of tension. Muscular responses have been found to be 12% greater with red stimuli than with green.
In the field of colour therapy, a knowledge of the psychological effects of colour has such practical applications as that now to be found in operating rooms. Today the operating rooms of many hospitals are painted a restful shade of green, and nurses and doctors wear restful green gowns.
When the surgeon wishes to rest his eyes from an incision because the fixed concentration has caused the eyes to tire (and to become red-saturated), he looks at the restful green (actually a blue green) walls and the green gowns. The colour green, being complementary to red, is experienced as a restful grey, due to the psychological phenomenon known as the “after image”.