The significance of cultural and personal associations in colour psychology

I’m sure you’ve heard about colour psychology before. But today I want to discuss the significance of cultural and personal associations in colour psychology, and why it’s important to be thoughtful and careful when selecting colours for a brand.

Colour psychology means that colours have the power to impact our emotions and behaviour. For example, Coca Cola uses red to evoke feelings of passion and energy; Endota Spa uses sage to feel grounded and calming. But what if red or sage means something else in a different culture or target audience? What if the target audience has negative personal associations towards red or sage? It is important to remember that selecting colour in branding and visual identity should be approached carefully, taking into account the cultural and personal context of the target audience.

As another example, in Western cultures, white is often associated with purity and innocence, whereas in certain Asian cultures, white is connected with mourning, death and sadness. Similarly, in some African cultures, black is associated with evil and negativity, while in Western cultures, it is often associated with power and sophistication. Black is also considered a very evil, cruel and sad colour in traditional Chinese symbolism.

These cultural associations can also vary within the same culture based on personal experiences and preferences. For instance, an individual who had a traumatic experience associated with the colour red may have a negative emotional response to that colour, even if it’s generally associated with excitement and passion.

To create a powerful and effective brand image, it is essential for businesses to understand these cultural and personal associations. They must consider the cultural context of their target audience and the potential impact of colours on their emotions and behaviour.

This is one of the reasons why defining and researching your target audience matters. A lot.

When selecting colour for branding, you should consider:

  1. Research the cultural associations of colours in your target audience: You should research the cultural associations of colours in your target audience and consider how these associations may impact your brand image.
  2. Consider personal preferences and experiences: You should also take into account the potential impact of personal preferences and experiences on the emotional response to colour.
  3. Choose colours deliberately: You should carefully select colours that align with your brand personality and values and create a coherent brand image across all touchpoints.
  4. Test the impact of colours: You should test the impact of colours on your target audience through focus groups or polls if possible, to ensure that the chosen colours are effective in creating your desired emotional response.

Understanding the cultural and personal associations of colours is essential in creating a thoughtful and effective brand image. By considering these associations and choosing colours deliberately, you can create a coherent brand image that resonates with your target audience and effectively communicate your personality and values.