Imagine the world and life itself in just black and white…It would be meaningless!

Colour plays a vitally important role in the world in which we live. Colour can sway thinking, change actions, and cause reactions. It can irritate or soothe your eyes, raise your blood pressure, or suppress your appetite. When used in the right ways, colour can even save on energy consumption. As artists, we learn how to use the positive or negative attributes of colour in our works to subliminally send a message.

As many may know, all colours begin with the primary colours (red, blue, yellow) which are colours that cannot be created by mixing any other colours together. Then in the early twentieth century, German painter, Johannes Itten, extended the colour wheel to include secondary and tertiary colours. He also pioneered the idea of warm and cool colours and the principle that any shade of colour can either have a warm base or a cool base. There are complimentary colours and the list goes on, but do you want to know how to evoke a certain feeling or send a specific message?


RED is the colour of assertion, strength, romance, excitement, vitality, physical power, outgoing, ambitious, and impulsive. It is a colour that flatters the skin and can make an excellent background. Pale pink and are warm and peaceful and combine well with greens. The deeper reds create an atmosphere of retrained opulence and power. Red elicits an uncomplicated nature with a zest for life. But red can also connote danger or threats.

ORANGE: (yellow and red mixed) can be assertive, dynamic, and spontaneous and signifies youth and fearlessness. Orange stimulates the brain and produces oxygen and mental activity. Dark-orange signifies deceit or distrust, whereas red-orange can correspond to aggression, domination and thirst for action.

YELLOW,  we associate yellow with sunshine and it represents light. It creates a feeling of hope, happiness, and wisdom. The colour evokes an optimistic sense of well-being. Yellow gives the feeling that all is okay with the world. Hence why it is the Pantone colour of the year for 2021. But yellow is a complicated colour. Although, light-yellow represents intellect, freshness and joy, dull yellow is associated with caution, decay, sickness, and jealousy. Yellow at times is cowardice. But yellow is remarkably effective at attracting attention.

GREEN: (blue and yellow mixed) is the colour of harmony, balance, and safety. Green also has a calming effect and symbolic meaning of hope, peace, gentleness, and modesty. It is soothing, refined and civilized with great healing power. Green suggests stability and endurance, hope and growth. It sometimes denotes lack of experience.

BLUE is a primary colour across all models of colour space. It often symbolizes serenity, stability, inspiration, wisdom, or health. It can be a calming colour and symbolize reliability.

PURPLE: (blue and red mixed) is the colour purple is often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple also represents meanings of wealth, extravagance, creativity, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence, and magic.

BROWN is the colour of living wood and the earth. Rich, subtle and extraordinarily restful to look upon, brown creates a feeling of coolness and warmth at the same time. It combines well with rich colours such as purple and gold (popular in the Victorian era). It is a steady, dependable, conservative, conscientious, and reliable colour. Brown evokes a sense of nostalgia and reminds us of the great works of Rembrandt, Titian, and Rubens.

GRAY  represents caution and compromise. Many beautiful grays can be made by mixing complimentary colours together. Grays give a sense of peace to the viewer. Gray is also one of the other Pantone colours of the year for 2021.

WHITE is  the symbolic of safety, cleanliness, and purity. White emanates youth, perfection, and innocence. White is simplicity and freshness, but too much can give a clinical feeling. Low fat foods and dairy products use white in their packaging. But, in many Eastern cultures, white signifies death, mourning, funerals and unhappiness.

BLACK is mysterious and hidden, black can have a morbid feeling. It gives us a feeling of the unknown and negative connotations. In most Western cultures, black is the symbol of grief. However, black can be dignified and showy with sophistication. Black will also punctuate colour schemes that rely on strong contrasting colours. Try mixing your own blacks, rather than using it straight from the tube.

In conclusion, when thinking of your marketing materials, logo or a brand, or even just wanting to send a person flowers, really consider which colour to use as it may depict wrong message.