Colours guide us much more than we would think: There are colours that attract us – and then there are colours that make us feel uneasy. A dirty brown reminds us of soiling and therefore creates a sense of repugnance, making it most likely the most unpopular hue.
Colours contain an evolutionary code which was crucial to survival because it helped to distinguish ripe fruit from unripe ones. Long before man was able to communicate using signs and words, colour was already the most important means of communication and therefore, essential for survival: only a red apple was ripe and nutritious.
Modern biology explains that our eye and brain respond to colour stimulus because of evolutionary reasons. One example: Our eyes contain rhodopsin, a molecule specialised in helping us perceive colour. It activates adrenalin (a stress hormone) in response to red light, and melatonin (a hormone with a calming effect) in response to blue. This indicates that our subconscience reacts to colour without us being able to knowingly impact this: Red makes us feel warm. The heartrate starts to increase, and blood pressure rises: We get active. This is just one example of many.
The world of colour is earth’s largest communication system. It works on a non-verbal, pan-cultural level and, naturally, is omnipresent without us really being aware of just how colour can influence our emotions and our decisions on a subliminal scale. Therefore, its specific and accurate use in commercial premises can trigger certain codes in our subconscience with which we can even control the sentiment of our peers or customers.
Colour signals which we have acquired can equally manipulate us physically: For example, our organism is likely to perceive orange juice dyed blue using a tasteless colorant as bitter or sour. Green rooms symbolise a connection with nature, but also relaxedness and tradition. Yellow comes across as sunny, but quickly also as too loud, bright, or outdated. Red is a highly polarising colour. It symbolises love, warmth, and a feeling of security, but also aggression and supremacy. Blue stands for what is pure, calm, clean. But it can also feel sterile and cool. It reduces the length of wanting to stay. Currently all the vogue are warm nuances of grey. They are discreet, emphasise products, and are an ideal complement to wood, wall coverings, and copper or gilded accessories, which are very much the trend.
To define an accurate, strategic colour concept, one has to know one’s target group, one’s product and the related associations to create a certain atmosphere whose perfectly co-ordinated colour ambiance creates a positive shopping experience, thereby generating an increase in sales. An expert can help.
Or do you prefer to help yourself? Then take a look at the following tips:
Colour has the wonderful ability to submerge a space in positive emotions, to emphasise a product, to underscore a brand. Therefore, colours can indeed create more attention for your shop and your products and generate more sales.
Moreover, it is the easiest, fastest and most budget-friendly way to change a space and to touch people. Therefore: Be courageous. And go for colour. It is the poetry of a space.
I do not object to the belief of being able to even feel colour;
that would attest even more to its inherent quality.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
About the author:
Stefan Suchanek is an aesthete, retail designer, consultant, speaker and lecturer in visual rhetorics, presentation and reasoning at the AMD Academy for Fashion & Design in Munich. He draws his expertise from knowledge of traditional design theory, evolutionary biology and brain science to design more interactive, intelligent and mindful business spaces and showrooms: spaces which bring forth a positive response, value people and boost sales by creating a lasting feeling of well-being through meaning and sensuality.