psychology of colours

In selecting colors for an appropriate sign, it is important to consider the psychological connotations of different colors as well as the factors affecting visibility and legibility. (An extensive discussion of the cultural and psycho-physical reactions to color is found in Visual Communication Through Signage, Vol. 3, Chapter 3, Clause and Clause, 1976.) Although we will detail the attributes that have come to be associated with certain colors, we do want to point out that the suggestions given below are not hard and fast rules. The sign user should also be guided by his own sense of what is appropriate.


Red is an exciting, active color. It is used to suggest boldness, quickness and efficiency. Its warmth is appetite inspiring. Fast-food chains use red to connote warmth, fresh food (meat) and action.


Yellow is frequently used by fast-food restaurants to create a welcoming atmosphere. It suggests light and activity, especially in its redder shades and tints.


Green is associated with living things, and therefore, freshness, youth and purity. It is the predominate color of nature (and therefore should be used judiciously in a rural setting, so that it does not fade into the surroundings). It is powerful in suggesting naturalness and vitality, and yet it connotes peacefulness.

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