Art 1 – color in advertising and color psychology for 2/19


Red in advertising

Do you find this to be true in the products you are attracted to that are red?  Is there a similar effect in paintings that are red dominant?

Green in advertising

Do you find this to be true in the products you are attracted to that are green?  Is there a similar effect in paintings where green is integral?

Look at the index bar on the left in the link below and be sure to read about Luscher’s psychological interpretation. Does it work for you?

Dr. Max Luscher’s work

In your sketchbook, collect 3 ads that demonstrate the use of color to great affect. Write a sentence explaining how the color influences you.

Do a half hour drawing of more fantasy birds, thinking about one you will paint.


30 responses »

  1. None of the clolour links quite worked for me, but I figured I’d do my own research. I found this website ( and I just hope that it’s what we were supposed to be looking for.

    Looking around my room, I noticed a lot of SMALL things that are red. Nothing major. For example, I don’t have red bed sheets or curtains or chair, but I have red binders, notebooks, bracelets, and little trinkets that sit around on my desk with no purpose whatsoever. Looking at the paintings I’ve made in the past, if they have ANY red, it’s subtle, and closer to a red-orange.

    I am much more attracted to green. It’s described as being more accute, and sometimes associated with money. Maybe the reason I buy a lot of green things is because I wish I had more money and was more acute/on point as opposed to the lazy self I am. Most of my paintings are dominantly turquiose or green or blue.

    Maybe It was just a problem with my computer, but the other link didn’t work for me either, so again I did my own research. I agree with his opinions, especially the one about purple. As a little kid (and still sort of now) my favourite colour was purple. It attracted me.

    • I see what you mean – they were working when I posted but at least the last link work. Nice link you found and you did a good analysis of your environment. Do you think your penchant for green could coincide with family tastes for green too?

    • That’s a great link and analysis of the colors in your environment. Since you use a lot of cool colors in your work, it’ll be interesting to hear whether you grow to like using the warm analogous colors.

  2. Although none of the color links work for me, I read about Luscher’s psychological interpretation. I generally agree with most affects he listed in the article. For example, my favorite color is blue. Blue gives me the feeling of rationality and calmness, which is different from the impulse and power of red. Also blue is a cold color, I’d like to wear cold style clothes mostly are dominated by blue in daily life. Perhaps it is more fit with my personality.

    On the other hand, I don’t have the feeling that orange makes things look cheap. Judging a product is really not depended on color, in my opinion.

  3. The first two links didn’t work for me either, so I referred to the site ecilA posted:

    I am definitely more attracted to red. Red to me is a very powerful and passionate color. My room is partially painted red, and a lot of the stuff I own happens to be red. Also, I’ve noticed I tend to use red boldly in my paintings.

    On the other hand, I’m not too fond of green. This is probably because half of the interior of my house is painted bright green, and I am thoroughly sick of it. I also find the color kind of bland, especially olive-green or yellow-green. So I tend to avoid using the color when I paint.

    I disagree with Max Luscher–I don’t believe color preferences are subjective. I don’t think color preferences have anything to do with personality or human psychology.

    • It’s interesting how you have become tired of green because of the interior paint. It’s fun to see that if you add an object with some accent colors whether or not the green can come to life for you. Home interiors can be like a 3d painting!

  4. The first two links didn’t work for me, but I read the last one.

    Red has so many connotations that it’s hard to pin down one reaction, it depends on the context, but definitely power and agression and energy.

    And green is so associated with the environment and being eco friendly that I’m starting to get sick of it.

    I’ve never actually like purple or pink, probably because I’m expected to, and am rebelling against that.

    Dark blue, black and white attract me because of their simplicity and elegance. They feel cool and professional. Sleek and as though the ad’s being straightforward with me. Not flashy or garish.

  5. The first two links didn’t work for me but i read the link that openthewindow and ecilA posted and I hope that will suffice.

    Like ecilA I don’t have many red things in my room, however because red pops a lot of small important things are red. My keys, my binder, the buttons on my watch and other small things are red because they are things that people need to find on short notice. Also in that vein lots of emergency products like first aid kits, survival blankets, fire extinguishers and life rafts are often red (or in some cases orange which is just a slightly milder red) because they also need to be. Also, like openthewindow I am attracted to red because it is energetic and powerful. However I don’t like lots of red because it can be overwhelming. Also on an interesting note, I once read that red makes you hungry and that is why it is so prevalent in fast food restaurants.

    I like the color green but more of a dark forest green. It is a calming color rather like blue. However light green is more like a sickly yellow and I don’t like it very much. Green is associated with the environmental movement and so it is on products that are marketing themselves as “environmentally friendly” or “natural” from smoothies to hybrid cars to dietary supplements, you’ll find green. I don’t have very much green in my room, a little jade dog and some grass in a picture are about it. Also I never knew green improved vision, I thought that was interesting.

    Yes, I agree with Luscher. As a response to openthewindow, don’t other preferences such as our favorite subjects, our favorite pastimes and the people prefer to be friends with affect if not define our personalities? why should color preferences be different?

  6. Red is definitely an attention getting color. It’s very easy to see and it’s exciting. To me, red also seems dangerous. That probably has a lot to do with blood and firetrucks but there are also some more obscure red things that I associate with danger. For example, the background of the flag of the Third Reich was red, it symbolized communism/the enemy for much of the 20th century (the ‘red scare’), whenever someone in a movie or cartoon is trying to disable a bomb they cut the red wire and Little Red Riding Hood’s cape was bright red. Also one of the things I associate most strongly with red is Coca-Cola. I think that’s really interesting because it makes so much sense in terms of advertising.

    Green is kind of a weird color for me to categorize. What green symbolizes tends to depend on the context. There are people and places that I associate with green that are good and then there are green things that I don’t like. Green screens are one green thing that I can’t stand. I don’t know why exactly but they’re awful. Green is very close to blue though. I like blue a lot. I also notice blue quite a bit especially as an eye color. It’s funny though. Blue is supposed to be the tranquil and calming color, and it usually is, but it’s probably the most energetic and least calm eye color. It is also not calm when it comes to computers and the stupid blue screen thing they used to do when you didn’t shut them down properly. It is relaxing in most cases, though. My bed sheets are blue because I tried red at one point and I just couldn’t get to sleep.

    I kind of agree with Luscher. I think it’s probably a little bit like graphology where you can tell what a person is likely to be like based on their handwriting but it is by no means definite. You could probably say that if a person prefers warm colors they are more likely to be energetic and optimistic but there are obviously exceptions. It’s just more statistically probable that they will conform.

  7. The first two links didn’t work for me but I read the last one.

    Red draw me into a picture just because it is so powerful and can be bright or dark. Even in advertisments red is very powerful. When there is an ad and I am walking past them or watching a commercial anytime there is anything red I stop and look or watch the commerical to see what it is talking about.

    Green I just always think of as nature. The color green isn’t to me a very powerful color. It is a calm color. I think its that way because it is a secondary color whereas red is a primary color on the color wheel.

    I disagree with Luscher. A person’s choices in colors don’t have anything to do with their personality. It more what they like and don’t like.

  8. As everyone else had said, the first two links don’t work. I tend to like darker reds in home decor and art pieces, but in products and advertisements I usually don’t like it. It feels loud and agressive to me. Green however, I absolutely love. I tend to think that products in ads that use green are more natural, clean and I always feel like they’re higher quality. (Maybe it has to do with the money aspect of green?) My personal preferences corrolated with Dr. Max Luscher’s work for the most part but I’m not really convinced. I’m definitely drawn to purple, it’s one of my favorite colors. Although I’m not sure I associate it with wealth or royalty. I absolutely agree with the orange looking cheap idea. If it’s an accent color with greens, blues and some other colors it can look nice but for the most part I think it’s a really disgusting color. It’s actually the only color I don’t like.

  9. The first two links didn’t work for me, though I did read the phycology article. I found it very interesting and truthful.
    I really don’t like the color red, so I’m not attracted to advertisments that have a lot of red in them. I am partial to a very faint, shaded out red. I feel like it almost has the same effect as green, in the way that it evokes the fealing of times gone by when the world was simple and less poluted. I think that fire engine red is trashy, most likely because it is used so much, in valentines day adds, clearance sale signs and in so many other attention grabbers. I don’t mind less common shades, in fact I think they are cool to see because they are so rare. I like red in paintings, especially old ones.
    Green is my favorite color, but I don’t accosiate it with ‘the greener option’ because I think that it is overused to avertise earth friendly options. Since a lot if corperate brands are cetching to the fad, the color green has almost become untrust worthy in my eyes, especially if the color green is to saturated appearing almost toxic.

    • It’s funny how green can switch from environmental to toxic. As your favorite color, do you find that you have a lot of green in clothes or things in your room. Or, is it more a favorite color in making art?

  10. The first two links don’t work for me, but I did read the last article.

    In my opinion, I believe red can bring all people’s attention to itself. For example, if today I wear a red coat and red plants, can you move your attention from me? So I think red is a really good color for advertising. In addition, from the phycology article, I learn that red is the first color that babies can see. That is really color! So I guess even babies can recognize what they want to buy from so many advertisements… Also, since blood is red, I think red can represent danger as well.

    Purple is the color that I really like! I agree with the article that purple is the luxury color. In my memory, purple is the color that nobles always use. I think purple stand for elegance. And I think the appearance of purple always accompanies a sense of mystery.

    • It’s interesting that some colors were associated with luxury because they were expensive in their production. For example in Christian art, the Virgin Mary was painted in lapus lazuli blue because it was such a valuable color and it helped to honor her in the paintings. A lot of things like this were not a choice of the artist but dictated by the patron or the church.

  11. The first two links were just blank pages, but the last article worked.

    I think red definitely pops out, whether or not it is a good or bad thing for it to do so as it feels somewhat too bold, too ambitious, and lacks the appeal that other, more subtle and cool colors would have, though I think it’s interesting that a maternal color is utilized so widespread in marketing. A deep red and deep colors in general are far more appealing.

    I think green is definitely appealing. A light green box with good design and typography can usually sell itself.

    I really enjoy deep blues and purples. They all carry certain degrees of elegance, contrast, and genuinely striking yet laid back design with them.

    • It’s too bad the links didn’t work as they did earlier in the week. It’s fun to see if the psychology of color that people use in dress also affects the way we respond to them. With a person wearing dark blue versus a person wearing orange polka dots on green background, it would be hard not to judge and have some psychological reaction in response to the differences.

  12. So there appears to be a trend in the link mishaps, but I read the article and here is what I have to say. I looked at the general design of the site, and in all I was not impressed and if it had been a site trying to sell me something, I doubt I would look at it for very long. The theme and contrast of the site in my opinion is very hard on the eyes and does not offer a very interesting or gentle transition allowing you to focus. When you are designing a site the first thing that should come into your head is whether the information on the site is being conveyed efficiently, and if that is not the case then there is something very wrong. When I looked at this site, what I saw was the yellow background and the red side bar. That was basically it. I actually had to use effort in my eyes to transition to looking at the text, and having to do that in general is just bad. Look at The information on this site is conveyed quickly and without a lot of effort, and if you have a facebook page you would know this even better. In terms of design facebook is not very pretty, it isn’t suave, there aren’t awesome animations and accents, but people spend hours at a time on it because the information in easily accessible, if I scroll through facebook quickly, I can instantly see names and photos, but when I scroll on the site you linked, if I were to scroll quickly I would see red and yellow. And facebook is a primarily white site, they haven’t even delved into the realm of the ability to customize your page, and this is for a good reason that many website designers haven’t even noticed, the things that look the best to some people are not what shows information the best, and there is a huge trade off between someone looking at your site as pretty and someone coming to your site for information. The same can be seen with the website Reddit, this site is completely white with very little color, and yet it is one of the best information sites on the internet. So realistically color is irrelevant because as long as the information pops and I like the information, the advertisement has been successful. If I don’t even want to look at the information, it has failed. Despite that, I looked over the colors he described and I almost entirely agree. The ways in which color plays at emotions is interesting, and if you care to look at the logos of wordpress, facebook, and twitter, they all have blue logos, apparently representing serenity and sophistication.

    • Excellent analysis of the web pages – the designers of these pages are so aware of how they function and how they want them to function. A lot goes into the color choices. I wonder why the facebook page of the little boy with fishing pole has been up for so long and not changed….it seems like there used to be more variety but I can’t remember the last image right now.

  13. When I checked the links a few days ago, they worked for me. But now they don’t seem to be working for anyone. Anyway, I read the article and found it interesting but also somewhat obvious. Not to be condescending, but colors seem to have inherent traits to them that people can just look at and notice. Red is definitely more poppy and attention grabbing unlike green or blue which are more subtle. My favorite color is definitely blue because of its “chill” factor. I feel like a pretty calm and mellow person and I see that in blue, especially in darker shades. I also like green for its clean nature feel to it, but I don’t like red as much because of its intensity and energy. I also found it interesting how advertisement companies spend a lot of time and money researching and studying colors.

    • I’m so glad you saw all the links. Who knows where they went! It is interesting how important color is to marketing. A lot goes into analyzing their use and impact. It’s good to be aware of how they might be used to influence a response in you so that you can be fully aware and not manipulated!

  14. The first two links are dead for me as well, so I’ll just respond to the last one for now.

    I generally agree with Luscher, although I’m curious to know why some colors have the connotations they do. Luscher explains the effect of the colors in advertising but doesn’t offer much explanation for why. E.g., why is purple associated with luxury? Is it because purple dye has historically been expensive? Or because purple is a “royal” color?

    I’ve definiately noticed that a lot of food ads use red and orange, I wonder why they stimulate the appetite? Maybe it’s because a lot fo food is red/orange/tan? That might explain why blue decreases appetite because there are relatively few blue foods (with some notable exceptions).

  15. Like basically everyone else, the two links didn’t work for me, but the psychology one did.
    Personally, I’m not a fan of bright red; I think it’s too much, unless in very small quantities (for instance, I have a small bright red journal in my room but I would never paint the walls that color). I think my opinion on green depends on the context I see it in, and what shade it is. If it’s a bright green I generally associate it with recycling commercials or “keeping the planet green,” which I don’t particularly mind. When it’s more of a forest green, though, I tend to associate it with actual nature.

    I personally don’t agree with Luscher because there can be very subdued people that love bright colors or very outgoing people that prefer more dull ones, I think.

    • I agree with you in theory but as I think about it, when I want to blend and not stand out, I don’t wear bright colors, even though I like them. This would be a good theory to test in your day to day observations.

  16. The 2 links didnt work for me but the last one did.
    Red has so many connotations that it’s hard to pin down one reaction. It depends on the context but definitely power and agression and energy and maybe violence.
    Green is so much like environment and being friendly to nature. I kind of think of the ads that talk about keeping the planet green and stuff.. Black and white almost so ”normal” that you never think of the color white for example, cause its just everywhere and you dont notice the different gradations as easily as a color like green or red. I think it depends on where i see the color and how much color there is (like if it is a green little bowl or a whole room)..

  17. I really like the color green, it pops and i think it really reflects what I or the other person is thinking. It gives off softness but also persuasion.

    I do not really like the color of red at all because I connect it to evil and blood. However I do think it is a good color to get peoples attention with.

    I don’t really like dark colors, I prefer colors to be bright and vibrant but i do understand what they can do for a picture.

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