We’ve all heard that vague allusion to there being a ‘psychology’ behind colour, but how much do we really know about colours, beyond – well – them making up the broad spectrum of all that shades our world? While the misconceptions surrounding colour theory are as varied as the nuances attached to each hue, the importance of colour – as well as the emotions, persuasions, and deep analyses they evoke – are both vital and interesting aspects of marketing and design.
So where does it all begin? Take the rainbow for example: aside from symbolising the calm after a storm (or perhaps leading to a proverbial pot of gold) there’s something about this majestic and colourful arch that brings a sense of happiness. Regardless of whether they’re combined or on their own, colours seem to come with the kind baggage that would rival any Mary Poppins; they bring forth emotion, reaction, memory, and personification. There is a reason why some people prefer certain colours to others, which speaks volumes about our personalities as well as how our brains ‘visualise’ particular feelings or experiences. For how we perceive and interact with our world is largely impacted by the varying shades that colour it.
Let’s look at the primary colours: red, blue, and yellow. Each plays a very important role in the production of secondary and tertiary colours, whilst also remaining the only three hues that cannot be created by mixing any other colours together. These three primary colours: cyan (blue), magenta (red) and yellow combined with black are the very basis of 4-colour printing (CMYK) or full colour printing, that still rings true today despite the digital age.
To most people, the colour yellow evokes a sense of warmth, happiness, optimism and clarity. Just like the sun, yellow presents itself as a beacon of light: a shade that in some cultures echoes prosperity, honour and joy, while in others symbolises the time for mourning and death.
Blue, on the other hand, is generally a colour of calmness. Coming alive in both the water and the sky, the colour blue is often viewed as a symbol of dependency, fluidity, loyalty and peace – making for a safe colour to be harnessed by businesses and brands that aim to project an image of good communication and trust.
The last of the three, the colour red, evokes feelings of strength, power, passion and courage. Red is bold: sometimes aggressive, but more often vibrant – a colour synonymous with energy, determination, intensity and love. Red attracts more attention than any other colour (perhaps because of its association with danger) yet is also symbolic of youth, wealth, prosperity and heart.
Back in the early days of JAZ, colour printing was a more expensive and at times a painstaking process. It wasn’t always as simple as choosing a colour from your computer screen and hitting the File > Print button. Instead, due to the intricacies that were forever pitching us in a race against the clock, much of the design work produced in the early 90s combined black with one other complimentary colour. 2-colour print was the norm, with 4-colour printing considered a luxury that allowed a business or brand to really stand out.
With a firm belief in the primary colours and a dedication to replicate the CMYK in print, the JAZ logo spent much of these early years embodying the theories and traits we’ve just spoken about above: JAZ is a business that is collectively built upon passion, loyalty, clarity, communication, and heart. Our evolution from the primary colour JAZ of red, blue and yellow, to the JAZ of today a solid red (Pantone 485 for the enthusiast) is about simplicity and conveying the energy, passion, courage and boldness built over 25 years.