The psychology of color at retail
The one major psychological influence that all retailers can — and do — make use of is color. Color can be everything to a successful store, if the palettes work well across the whole shop and complement other elements such as product displays and lighting. The point, according to retail designers, isn't about creating the most beautiful shop, but one that has coherence.
We react fundamentally to colors because they help us make sense of our surroundings; indeed, some 80 percent of information reaches our brains via our eyes. It means that we are instinctively more comfortable when colors remind us of something familiar — for example, a soft shade of blue triggers associations with the sky and a psychological sense of calm. Prisons and hospitals now use color to influence the behavior of inmates and patients.
Color psychology perhaps explains why people are allegedly more relaxed in a green room and why weightlifters perform better in blue gyms. It's certainly the reason why some paint manufacturers now have color cards setting out the therapeutic aspects of each color, and why some cosmetic companies have introduced "color therapy" ranges.
By recognizing how color influences us, retailers are better able to induce feelings of warmth, intimacy or serenity — or, by using more vibrant palettes, to excite or stimulate. It's about understanding target markets, the product lines to appeal to them and the kind of brand the retailer wants to convey. Lastly, it's about conveying that brand though color and design.
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