Week Four: Every Colour Tells a Story

With each week I find the topics we learn about become more and more interesting. This week we learned all about the psychology behind colour choice and how it’s used in marketing. I’ve chosen four images from different mediums in which I’ll be analyzing their choice of colour.

  1. Sin City directed by Frank Miller, Robert Rodriquez, & special guest director Quentin Tarantino

Now I find this entire film’s use of colour to be extremely intriguing. The majority of it is filmed black and white except for very specific moments or characters. I love this approach at use of colour because it draws the audience’s attention the most important object in the frame as well as gives the character’s more definition. In this specific scene I think the use of the red almost flame-like background (storm clouds) right as the characters go into a violent is very well done.

Psychological properties of the colour red:

Positive: Physical courage, strength, warmth, energy, basic survival, ‘fight or flight’, stimulation, masculinity, excitement

Negative: Defiance, aggression, visual impact, strain

In the case of this scene in Sin City I think it’s fair enough to say the use of red is to display both visual impact and aggression as well as stimulate blood. There isn’t any actual blood shown in the scene but the use of red puts the gory image into the audience’s mind. Overall this scene is extremely visually stimulating and is very intense yet interesting for a gun shootout (which has been done many times before).

2. Gain Laundry Detergent billboard advertisement

The use of colour in this Gain laundry detergent ad is very bright; grass green being the main focal point. The only other colours being used are all very ‘happy’ and saturated colours i.e. red, yellow and orange.

Psychological properties of green:

Positive: Harmony, balance, refreshment, universal love, rest, restoration, reassurance, environmental awareness, equilibrium, peace

Negative: Boredom, stagnation, blandness, enervation

When one sees the colour green the first few thoughts that pop into their head usually consist of environmental awareness and freshness; both of these characteristics being intertwined in the product brand messaging. Being a laundry detergent the most important aspect of the product is that it makes one’s clothes fresh and clean. The green colour definitely showcases this brand’s image. The goal of this advertisement is to make you buy their environmentally-friendly, fresh product and I think their colour choices help persuade the buyers into believing in this detergent.

3. The Care Bears Television Show!

Everyone remembers The Care Bears! Even though this television show initially aired almost 30 years ago, the colour choices made were still extremely well-thought out. It may seem that there’s no specific colour choice since each Care Bear is a different colour but the intensity of the colours is very specific to its audience. By using more pastel colours it is easier and gentle on the eyes; very non-threatening which is important for a younger demographic. The less harsh colours puts the audience at ease even though there are numerous colours.

4. Metro Supermarket Flyer

Finally, I’ve chosen the weekly flyer from the Metro supermarket. One of the most interesting things I learned about the psychology of colour was the influence of red on hunger. The reason so many food chains and supermarket flyers use the colour red is because it can actually make you hungry! As you can see in this Metro flyer, red is definitely the predominant colour being used and a very bold red at that. Also note how the word “best” is very prominent which is trying to make the reader believe that if they go to Metro they’d be getting the best product.

In conclusion, I think the class this week on colour has made me more aware on the choices people make in every aspect of media. Nothing is effortlessly thrown together! I’ve already started to notice the smaller details in colour choices even simply walking down the street.

Love all the colours of the rainbow, since they have more of an effect on you then you’d ever have guessed!


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