Color is so much more than meets the eye. Color impacts our moods, stimulates our minds and influences how we feel about products and the companies that make them. Color influences how we experience the world around us.
But what, exactly, is color?
The Science Behind Color
In the simplest terms, color is light, a form of energy.
All electromagnetic energy is light from the sun and the majority of it travels in wavelengths in the infrared, visible and ultraviolent parts of the electromagnetic spectrums.
What we see as colors are actually wavelengths that are roughly 380 to 700 nanometers. We call this range the visible light spectrum because it can be seen by the human eye (although some people can see further into the outer edges of this range than others).
Most humans can see a broad array of colors but in reality, what we see is only a tiny fraction of the colors that exist across the spectrum; other wavelengths are too large, too small or have too much energy for the human eye to perceive or comprehend.
A perfect illustration of this is how we experience a rainbow, formed when light enters water droplets where it is reflected and refracted.
Rainbows are actually made up of millions of colors, but the human eye can only see seven—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
How Businesses Harness Color
While the science behind color is complex, we don’t need to fully grasp it to appreciate the beauty of color or realize the strong influence that it has on the human mind.
Companies understand how to harness the power of color to make us feel a certain way about their products and their brands.
Time and time again, research has shown that color is among the most important factors in purchasing decisions.
- 75% of snap decisions about a consumer product is based on product packaging or product color.
- For more than than 60% of consumers, color is a major factor in making a vehicle purchase
Here are a few facts about some of our favorite hues and why businesses incorporate them into their branding, marketing and messaging.
As the most radiant color, yellow captures our attention quicker than every other color on the spectrum.
Did you know that yellow is so highly reflective that it acts as its own light source? In almost every culture, yellow represents warmth and happiness and is often associated with sunlight and summertime.
Because the human eye detects yellow so quickly, it’s not surprising that it is used on school buses, taxis, traffic lights, construction vehicles and signs to enhance visibility.
Brands embrace yellow because it is grabs attention and compels people to think and act.
Read more about coatings for heavy duty equipment.
The color orange stimulates the brain, which increases mental activity and the sensation of hunger. Many healthy foods are orange; butternut squash, carrots, oranges, and pumpkins just to name a few.
Orange makes people feel welcome, comfortable and cheerful, feelings that pair well with dining.
Read more about PPG non-stick coatings for consumer bakeware.
After yellow, red is the second most visible color on the spectrum and is one of the two favorite colors in the world.
Did you know three fourths of countries feature red into their flags?
Red is the color of passion, strength, valor and reflects love, courage and excitement.
Some brands incorporate red because it gets products noticed on the shelf and it is believed to stimulate the appetite.
Because red has the longest wavelength of light at 700 nanometers, it can be seen the furthest away from any other color, which explains why it's commonly used for stop signs, stop lights and fire engines.
Read more about PPG innovative energy coatings.
If tranquility were a color, it would certainly be pink. Known for its soothing and calming effects, pink represents femininity, sweetness and romance.
Did you know that sports teams have used pink in visitor lock rooms to get an edge on the competition and prisons use it to help reduce problem behaviors among inmates?
In nearly every culture, pink is stereotypically associated with girls which explains why it is predominant in logos, packaging and products for female-centric brands.
Brands use pink to convey femininity, youthfulness and nurturing.
Read more about PPG coatings for metal office furniture.
Throughout history, green has signified growth, rebirth, the natural world and the environment.
Did you know that there are more shades of green on the visible spectrum than any other hue?
Today, biophilic design is popular as a way to bring the outdoors in to built spaces. Green colors and natural elements like wood help us to feel connected to nature.
Green is also associated with safety, which is why it’s used the world over on traffic lights and signage that indicate it is safe to move ahead.
In branding, green is often used to signify reliability, freshness and organic content.
Read more about PPG long-lasting coatings for heat sensitive substrates.
Positioned between violet and green on the visible spectrum, blue is the most loved color in the world.
Did you know that blue is the rarest color in nature and among the most difficult to recreate?
It is featured on over half of the world flags and is the most popular color in corporate branding because it conveys a sense of trust, honestly and loyalty.
Read more about PPG coatings for consumer electronics.
Considered to be the color of royalty, purple is any color that falls on the spectrum between red and blue.
Did you know that is recent years, purple has become the universal color for food allergen awareness? In fact, colors can play a big role in the kitchen, making cookware used to prepare specific allergen-free dishes easily identifiable and avoid food-cross contamination.
Purple represents dependability with a little edge and often is a good complement for brands that want to be perceived as premium and luxurious.
Read more about PPG non-stick and decorative kitchenware coatings.
PPG is color
As a global leader in color development, styling and trends, PPG defines color direction for more surfaces across more industries than any other coatings company in the world.
Working with leading original equipment manufacturers and product designers, our color team offers services that deliver the ideal shade, tone, value and saturation every time, expertly taking color from conception to the market with batch-after-batch consistency.
Each year, our color experts meet to discuss the most influential factors shaping color and design trends in a cross section of industries around the world, including fashion, automotive, architectural and electronics.
The result is a color trend forecast that is unmatched in scope and expertise in the paint and coatings industry.