Color Your Emotions

If you associate the color red with aggression, you might be a bit old-fashioned. A recent study from the University of Missouri Department of Textile and Apparel Management found consumers today view red differently. The research examined the impact of colors in a company’s logo – in particular, the emotions each color invokes for the viewer. Generic logos of different colors for fake companies were presented to the study’s participants.

“Of all the feelings associated with logo colors, the feelings associated with red logos were the most surprising,” says Jessica Ridgeway, the MU doctoral student who conducted the research. “Traditional emotions based on red include aggression and romance, but red logos did not invoke those emotions in study participants. This can probably be attributed to the fact that red is used in logos of many well-established brands such as State Farm, McDonald’s and ESPN, so consumers have pre-existing emotions associated with brands using that color.”

The lesson: As a promotional apparel advisor and decorator, you cannot rely on traditional color associations alone. Ridgeway’s advice is to “stay attuned to how colors are viewed and applied in popular culture such as in entertainment, as this tends to influence consumers’ color associations.”

What emotions did each logo color stir?
Blue: Confidence, success and reliability
Green: Environmental friendliness, toughness, durability, masculinity and sustainability
Purple: Femininity, glamour and charm
Pink: Youth, imagination and fashionable
Yellow: Fun and modernity
Red: Expertise and self-assurance