Meanings are attached to colours, just as they are to words. Colours also have the power to convey moods. They are the most effective way to establish brands and companies firmly in the heads of consumers, creating a viable and sustainable brand image. This is what makes colour selection one of the most significant communication tools for global marketing and absolutely crucial for commercial success.
Choosing them wisely is, therefore, of inestimable importance for logos and figurative marks, corporate design, packaging and the product itself, but it is also essential to take cultural aspects into consideration.
Whether we are aware of it or not. Expressive and efficacious, it is impossible to imagine communication without them. Throughout the world, traffic lights and stop signs send clear signals. In many cases though, the context is important for the message of the colour:
A gathering of people dressed in black may just as easily be mistaken for a group of mourners, a graduation ceremony, an exhibition opening or a punk rock concert. How long has a pink bow symbolised the birth of a girl and blue of a boy? Why is custard not blue? How did the change from red to green to the background of the yellow M of McDonalds come about?
In many countries, it is the custom to announce the birth of a baby with bow on the front door of the house. Today’s rule: pink for a girl, blue for a boy. In the past centuries, and even up to the 1940s, it was the exact opposite. Blue, as the colour of the Virgin Mary, was seen as particularly delicate and graceful. It was reserved for little girls. Pink on the other hand was, at least in western society, the colour for little boys. In the Rococo period, pink was even considered the latest thing in men’s fashion for a while. An equally very masculine use of colour: when Juventus Turin was founded in 1897, its first football strips were pink. The extent to which colour perception has changed since then could be read in the vilifying newspaper headlines when the club commemorated this with its away kit for the 2015 season. Nowadays, it is seen almost as natural that everything that is pink should send little girls into a state of ecstasy. Whether with the market launch of Barbie in 1959 and since then, the consistent branding in typical pink have contributed to this, or the phenomenon just skilfully used it for its own purposes, one thing is certain: Barbie, with her pink accessories, is the world-famous role model for every pink fairy and princess. That the colour pink literally makes hearts beat faster, is called into question by medical research. It attests, rather, to its relaxing effect. This was made use of by some prisons. In a study of inmates in cells painted pink, a long-term calming influence on anger, rage and hostile behaviour could be observed.