“Color is the first thing people see,” parrots every advertising and business presenter whose lectures I ever had the pleasure of sitting through.
They invariably point to McDonald’s and try to attribute color scheme to their success. They claim the soothing yellow and the bold red complement each other so well that the brand was bound to leave its competitors in the dust and rise to the international stage. Giving so much weight to one side of such a complex topic always rings false for me, but the idea that colors could have some influence was intriguing.
It made me think: Why are some colors considered masculine or rugged while others feel more feminine or transient? Where do we draw these associations and why do we keep them?
It probably begins with associations from a young age. Brown has a certain ruggedness, bringing to mind hard-packed earth and old leather. Or perhaps it would be more correct to say that the dirt and leather are generally brown so brown must be rugged by association. If Clint Eastwood mosied down the main street of a town to get into a gunfight wearing a pink vest, would he bring the same gravitas to the situation? Looking at it this way, it could be that color schemes work only as far as we, the consumers, think that they are appropriate.
When people remark that someone looks good in a certain color, is it because the color matches a physical trait like their eyes or hair or is it that it seems appropriate to their personality? The key to sartorial success could just be rectifying all of yourself and properly reflecting it in your attire. I guess that means that while beauty is skin deep, fashion may not be so shallow.
What is seen as proper has about as much weight. You don’t wear white to a wedding when you are a guest, just as much as you don’t wear it to a funeral.
When designing posters or other visual pieces, do some colors have more weight than others? A garish display of bright colors on a scientifically oriented poster could be enough to dispel any interest. Maybe if this article was printed in a deep navy blue, you would find it deeper and more meaningful. The black and white newspaper style could be even more trustworthy on its own because it has always been regarded as a good source of the news so it therefore always will be. A bright color could be eye catching for a moment, but lack that clarity and sense of purpose after the initial view.
Some people hold that wearing a certain color tie to an interview will guarantee a job offer. They think that if the interviewer sees the interviewee in a blue tie, they are receiving an underlying message that they are a calm individual and deserve to be hired. It is not hard to see how minor a factor this is when deciding on potential candidates. Perhaps it is all in the person’s head. They believe they are going to be hired so they have the confidence to brand themselves as a necessary asset. Perhaps it does give the interviewer a mental nudge, just enough to get them across the finish line.
Perhaps this article seems like mere conjecture. It is to a certain degree, but it will hopefully force you to look at the world a little differently and keep your eyes wide open as you dress for that interview. Next time you look at childrens’ toys or the paint that will be your world for the next several years, take a moment to truly look at it, and wonder why out of all the colors the artist picked those ones.