Dreamwork’s ‘Home’ – The Use of Colour For Emotions

This weekend we took the kids to see the new Dreamworks movie ‘Home’. It’s a super fun family movie that we all enjoyed but it also got me thinking about the psychology of colour.

The cute aliens, called Boov, featured in the movie change their colour depending on their mood and emotions. They turn red when they’re angry, green when they lie, yellow when they’re scared, orange when they get excited or happy and pink when they feel love. They also go psychedelic when they dance! As well as providing Dreamworks with a massive opportunity for colour changing movie merchandise (yes, I know, I’m cynical parent!), it was genuinely a very effective tool for magnifying the characters feelings. My children identified very quickly which colour meant which mood and I found myself fascinated by the colour choices of the moviemakers to signify certain emotions.

As well as Dreamworks’ ‘Home’, the upcoming Pixar movie ‘Inside Out’ also uses colour very powerfully to communicate emotions and mood.

So, should we be paying more attention to the use of colour?

The Effect of Colours

Colour is subjective in many ways; our feelings in response to certain colours are often rooted in our own experiences and memories as well as our personality. There are some colour effects however that seem to have a widespread meaning. Colours in the red area of the spectrum; warm colors like red, orange and yellow can make us think of emotions ranging from warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility. Colours on the blue side of the spectrum; cool colors like blue, purple and green are often described as calm colours, but can also call to mind feelings of sadness or indifference.

It follows that if specific colours conjure certain associations or even emotions, there is a role for colour in marketing and brand.

Colour is a very influential source of information when people are making a purchasing decisions. Customers generally make an initial judgment on a product within 90 seconds of interaction with that product and according to research, around 62%-90% of that judgment is based on color. Therefore, it is suggested that colour should be carefully selected to align with key messages or emotions that a brand or product tries to portray[2].

Colours in Logos

There are lots of examples of companies using the emotion or mood associated with a certain colour to their advantage through their logo. Logos seem to attract more customers when the colour of the brand logo matches the personality of the goods or services. So, if your brand were about romance or feminity, pink would be an appropriate choice (like Barbie or Victoria’s Secret).

For active, commanding brands, red is suggested (think Lego or Virgin).

Blue is supposed to signify trust, reliability and strength (Like Blu-ray or Intel or Samsung).

Colours in your Presentations

Colours are not only important for logos and products, but also for window displays in stores. For example, research shows that warm colours in a display tended to attract more spontaneous purchasers.

If colour is important for logos, products and even window displays, then surely, it has a role in pitching and presentations when we want to elicit an emotion and be memorable. Colour also helps us in memorizing certain information by increasing our attentional level.

For your next presentation or pitch, try the following:

1. The Mood You Want To Portray

If you are using visuals, think carefully about the background and text colour. Is it in keeping not just with your branding but with the emotion or mood that you want to evoke?

2. Materials

Try to choose a colour scheme that fits your material (for example strong, high contrast colours for tech/innovation; pastel or dulled colours for emotional, human material) and stick with it.

3. Emphasis on Words

Make certain details stand out by changing the colour of that section or word to increase attention and make it memorable.

4. Play Around

Color.This is a brilliant colour resource: You can create your own modern, colour schemes by choosing choose a base color and Kuler provides a complimentary color scheme.

5. Yourself!

If your presentation material has a colour theme, you could even consider wearing something of the same colour to link yourself to the presentation in the audiences’ mind.

We should certainly exercise caution when it comes to making assumptions about what colours mean to people. After all, we’re all unique and our personal experiences and natural character will influence how we perceive things. But experimenting with colour can be such fun and it really can have an effect on how impactful and memorable your pitch is! So, have some fun exploring the impact of colour for your next presentation!

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