How We Think

Color Me Surprised

Mar 01, 2017

Color Me Surprised

What’s the secret to a successful color scheme?

It’s no secret that we, the Tulip Tree team, are black and white aficionados. Our affection for the classic color scheme spans to the far reaches of our day impacting everything from our wardrobe (mostly black) to our coffee (also generally black). As a designer I appreciate the dynamic duo for its simple elegance but also understand the necessity of color in successful designs. Selecting colors, believe it or not, is not as simple as blindly picking palettes from a book.

Have you ever described something as “tasting red?”

Does the thought of eating something blue turn your stomach (blueberries and Jell-O aside)?

Meet color psychology.

Okay, it’s not ACTUAL science, but color psychology at its most basic form is defined as the “human preference for certain colors based on the reaction our brain has when we internalize it.*” Culture, personality, and life experience have a huge impact on what we know a color to “mean.” For example, western culture typically interprets red as a color representing things like love, danger or Valentine’s Day. By contrast in South African culture, it’s representative of mourning.* These intrinsic associations provide valuable information to be used when selecting appropriate colors.

Exciting Red + Competent Blue”

There are a slew of scholarly things – research, articles, studies– that detail just how important colors are to marketing. “Exciting Red and Competent Blue” and “Impact of Color on Marketing” are just two examples of studies indicating that consumers make nearly 90% of their judgments about a product based on color alone.*

So how do you do it? How do you pick the RIGHT color?

Picking the RIGHT color is a little less “black and white” and a little more “gray”. It’s important to select something that you feel best represents the brand and “feels” like the intended emotion (calm, excited, edgy). By creating a unique mood, you’ll enhance the overall brand and begin to develop a memorable identity for your company.




Written by Sarah Hamilton, Senior Design Specialist