The Psychology of Colour in Your Animation
|September 9, 2016||Posted by John Lee under Animation Talk|
Colour is a powerful and persuasive communication tool that can significantly impact the message your animated video shares, so now is the time to look into its potential.
Although there’s no reliable research to suggest that one particular colour will always invoke a particular emotion or mood, many studies that focus on marketing have come up with encouraging results with how colour encourages conversions.
The key message is that colours shouldn’t be considered as emotional influencers in themselves, but should be considered in conjunction with the brand, their fit with the brand personality, and the product being advertised.
The Context of Colours
Sure, red can sometimes be associated with excitement, but it can also invoke feelings of anger or be linked to love. Often it depends on the context in which colours are seen, in addition to the individual characteristics of the viewer, such as personal preferences, experiences and culture. A Chinese person may see red as the colour for luck, while to another viewer it may signify socialist values.
Animated characters can take any form or colour, but even if they are aliens from outer space, it’s important to consider what colour they will be. We may associate blue with The Smurfs or monsters, but if you give your silly characters blue faces, there could be a chance that Hindus will be offended, since blue is the colour of many of their gods.
These are just a couple of examples. Many colour associations exist and you can never be sure when certain links will be made, but you can take some precautions, such as considering your audience and a fit of each colour with your brand and product.
Yes, there’s a lot to think about.
Political, religious, emotional and cultural associations with colours in an animated video can be made, so before making a final decision on your palette, you should look into these. In addition to helping to more efficiently impart your message, this could help you to avoid making any cultural faux pas.
A Deeper Understanding of Colour
It’s clear that colour in itself cannot be used to mould perceptions of an animated video’s characters, message or brand, but there are broader messaging patterns to consider.
An obvious first step is to ensure your animated video uses colours that fit with your existing logo and brand colours. If you haven’t yet decided on your brand colouring then consider this one of the most important marketing decisions you will make.
Image: The colour psychology behind branding
Research shows that colours play a significant role in purchases and branding.
According to a studies, The Interactive Effects of Colours and Exciting Red and Competent Blue, when it comes to selecting the best colours for your marketing, predicting consumer reaction to a colour’s appropriateness to your product is far more important than the individual colour itself.
The biggest market for power tools is men, and most see DIY as a rugged activity, so black is a common colour seen here. You will unlikely see pink or purple used to advertise these products to this market, whether in an animated video or on a billboard.
Social psychologist and professor of marketing, Jennifer Aaker, has carried out research on Dimensions of Brand Personality, and pinpointed five core dimensions that can be present in a brand’s personality. She found that a brand can cross between two of these traits, but is mostly dominated by one.
Image: The Dimensions of Brand Personality
Differentiation from Competitors
When considering the relationship of colours with your product and with emotional triggers, you should also look at the wider context of your market: what colours your competitors are using.
Your brand should be seen as unique, with its own set of values and identity, so the colours you use in your animated video should be sufficiently different to those in competitor animations. A set of colours can be what makes your animation memorable, and you don’t want viewers associating these with your biggest competitor.
To be most efficient, your animated video should use a palette of colours that can easily be linked to your brand.
Gender and Age
The colours you choose will depend on the target audience for a particular video. When advertising the same product, a different palette might be used when appealing to men or to women. Some sources suggest that men prefer bold colours, often in darker shades, while women favour soft colours, often with a lighter tint.
According to Joe Hallock’s Colour Assignments, a huge proportion of men (57%) and women (35%) have a preference for the colour blue. Hospitals often paint their patient rooms in a pale blue colour since this is considered to be calming and relaxing, so perhaps this is why. Studies have even supported that blue reduces blood pressure and slows heart rate. Meanwhile, in Hallock’s research, women listed purple as a colour of high preference, while no men chose purple as a favourite colour; a finding that could significantly influence when the colour is used in an animated video.
Research has also indicated a preferences in certain colours according to age group.
When it comes to inspiring viewers of your animated marketing video to make a conversion, your choice of colour in the call to action is also key.
The colour of the text or box that holds the information for a call to action should be in a bold colour that contrasts with the rest of the page. So if the end of your animated video is geared towards a blue palette, red would be a good choice for the call to action. This would provide a visual contrast and make it stand out.
The feeling, mood and message communicated by your animated video is not defined solely by your chosen colours, but also the theme and story you decide on, as well as the characters you create.
A thorough knowledge of your audience is fundamental to making all of these important decisions.
Do you associate certain colours with specific emotions or meanings? If so, please tell us in the box provided below.