Colour selection in Design


I’m currently doing a research paper on colour selection in the design process and looking at which elements are generally considered. Below are a few pilot questions I’m testing the water with and I’d be INCREDIBLY grateful for any feedback on them. The questions are designed to be transferable across most disciplines so it doesn’t matter if you’re in industrial, product, graphic or web design etc. I’m particularly interested feedback on questions 4 & 5.

  1. How important do you consider the choice and use of colour to be?

  2. What is the decision process you undertake when choosing the main colour in a piece of work or indeed a colour scheme?

  3. Have you ever picked a colour for a reason other than preference? If so, please explain.

  4. Have you ever picked a colour in an attempt to influence the viewer through colour association? e.g. using green for an eco-friendly design

  5. Have you ever picked a colour in an attempt to psychologically influence the viewer?

Thank you!

Hey DP,

There is HEAPS of research and work done on this subject. I actually did a subject at uni of ‘colour studies’. It was an interior design course but still relevant to ID. You might find it hard to do something new or be innovative here…if this is for a thesis? But to answer your questions:

  1. Very important.
  2. Client Requirements, existing products in family, desired values, environment, safety…there’s lot of reasons!
  3. Yes, for any of the reasons above. Also material choice quite often impacts colour! I suppose it’s very easy to render a product in any colour you want but if it’s being made of say, uncoated brass, it’s going to be kind of brass coloured!
  4. Yes, of course. A good example is early childhood toys and primary colours - there’s a LOT of psychology and behavioural analysis etc on this topic, I think.
  5. Of course. Typically one would not specify a hot pink framing nailer…as an extreme example.

Good luck.