Change Colors, Change Behavior
For years, psychologists have studied the impact of color on how we behave. Does it make us eat more? Does it make us more productive? And most importantly for businesses, does it make us buy more?
Research conducted by the Institute for Color Research, a division of Color Communications Inc, (CCI), and the University of Winnipeg shows that within 90 seconds, most consumers make an unconscious judgment about something’s worth to us, its trustworthiness, and so on. And that 62 to 90 percent of that judgment is based upon color. (opens as a PDF)
But just exactly what that judgment is is up for discussion. There seems to be some inconsistency in what psychologists say is the business effect of certain colors. One expert, M. Farouk Radwan, MSc., author for 2knowmyself.com claims that blue colors in a restaurant can result in a loss of appetite because subconsciously, many people associate blues with toxins. Another report on Psych2Go.net which references studies form the Color Association of the U.S. says that blue is a good color to calm people and make them stay longer and hopefully buy more when dining out. So what is a marketer to believe?
Various studies from various groups also show conflicting ideas about the use of red in restaurants. Some color theorists and psychologists say red triggers appetites and others saying that it creates too much energy, and increases your heart rate to the point that people lose their appetite, leave sooner due to increased energy levels, and thus eat less. Regardless, many fast food restaurants, rightfully so or wrongfully so, use accents of red to stimulate energy and trigger appetites in the hope of getting people in to eat, then out soon to make room for others.
The importance of color and its impact on brands and business goes far beyond the physiological effect on appetite and food consumptions. The big question is how does color impact attitudes toward brands and shopping behavior? And in the case of red and blue as dominant brand colors – logo, retail environment and online shopping presence – does it really matter