A new, blue year
Tuesday, December 17, 2019
It’s official: 2020 will be the year of blue — and no, that’s not a political forecast.
For more than 20 years, the Pantone Color Institute (PCI) has been the trendsetter for the hues to watch for in the coming year. Its selection for 2020 is Classic Blue (PANTONE 19-4052), which PCI Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman described in a release as a “boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky.”
Pantone isn’t the only one calling for a blue year. GNT Group, supplier of EXBERRY Coloring Foods, recently declared that Shades of Aqua — “brilliant greens and blues that carry echoes of the natural world” — will be the color consumers choose as they gravitate toward superfoods like kale, matcha and blueberries.
They might be onto something. The history of color psychology is long, with marketers and designers alike paying close attention to the effects certain colors have on viewers.
For example, the color red is believed to stimulate the appetite, which is why so many restaurants incorporate it into their interior design. Just take a look around the next time you visit your local pizza parlor to see it in action.
So why blue? For one thing, it’s America’s favorite color, with 29% of respondents in a 2012 poll picking blue as their hue of choice. And despite the Democratic affiliation, it is often viewed as a traditional, inoffensive choice for decoration.
Then there are the psychological benefits, as suggested in multiple studies:
- People who assessed the effects of placeboes of various colors were more likely to perceive blue pills as having a tranquilizing affect;
- Areas with blue streetlights experienced declines in crime;
- Consumers reviewing company websites tended to rate blue-heavy sites as more trustworthy than others; and
- In a similar study of fashion stores, blue interiors were “associated with more favorable evaluations, marginally greater excitement, higher store patronage intentions, and higher purchase intentions” than other interiors;
With anxiety disorders reportedly on the rise, perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that Americans may feel unconsciously drawn toward a familiar, calming color.
Before you go changing the wallpaper, though, consider the psychological properties commonly associated with other popular colors, along with some of the major brands they’re associated with:
- Red: Excitement, power (Coca-Cola)
- Yellow: Happiness (Lay’s)
- Green: Good taste, envy (Whole Foods)
- Purple: Sophistication, royalty (Cadbury)
- White: Happiness, purity (Apple)
- Black: Sophistication (Guinness)
There is a vast and growing body of evidence suggesting that color plays a subtle role in human behavior. Before making a decision on how to proceed with a design, it’s worth considering how your color selection will affect the message you’re trying to send.
But if you just can’t choose? Well, you can’t go wrong with blue.
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