Color is about more than interior design and fashion; it is used for marketing products from diapers to diet soda, from office supplies to electronics, from bargain buys to luxury investments, color sells. The key is to learn how to use color to your advantage as it is often a subliminal influence. Once you know the psychology and the cultural differences you can layer hues from light to dark, subtle to bold, to achieve the desired response.
Ever told a “white” lie? Do you know why they are called White? White represents a cover up, a whitewashing as it were. White elephants are those tales so tall or goods so rare as to be unreal. White historically represents purity and innocence. Remember the days of bridal white? Of course now we hear about brides getting married in all manner of colors and even black leather. Times have changed.
White represents status and wealth. If you are wearing white you can afford to keep it clean. Consider the White House the quintessential symbol of American power. White in clothing belies a sense of independence, a free spirit. It signifies a desire for freedom and limitless options. The individual in the white suit can’t be pigeonholed.
In China white is the color of death. It indicates a freeing of the spirit to move onto the next world. White represents a surrender from the moment we are in to the future time. It is about letting go and releasing ourselves from where we are.
To illustrate the importance of semantics and marketing in color selection, there is a wonderful story from Benjamin Moore Paints. Back in the 1970’s Benjamin Moore had a color named Ivory, up until then it had been their number one seller. Suddenly sales were dropping off. They did their research and renamed it Oriental Silk, sales rose again and it is still their number one bestseller today. Yes, if you are sharing colors with a neighbor it sounds infinitely more elegant to be using Oriental Silk than the name of a dishwashing liquid on your walls!
Once you have mastered the mystery of color, you can put the psychology to work for your success and even your profit.
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