In Living Color: How Hues Impact Mood

Whether you’re contemplating a complete store overhaul, or just mulling over what holiday decorations to tack up this year, a basic understanding of how color affects our moods (and those of your consumers) is a valuable tool for retailers.

We asked Peter Krueger, a color expert for Precision Intermedia, a multimedia advertising company in Fortuna, Calif., to weigh in on the subtle powers of a few popular hues.

JCK: Are there colors that put people in a shopping mood?

Krueger: A green room is known for its relaxing abilities. Dark forest green is associated with terms like conservative, masculine, and wealth.

JCK: Are there colors a retailer might want to avoid?

Krueger: Red can be an exciting color, but it can be over-stimulating. Normally it’s a highly active color associated with sports and alarms and excitement. People get red cars because it’s an active color.

JCK: What colors put people in a good mood?

Krueger: Studies have shown that blue can make people feel happier and can physically make you feel cool—so make sure it’s not cold in your store. Metallics make people feel good; they’re bright and optimistic. Pink is the most calming of all colors. Think of pink as the color of romance, love, and gentle feelings.

JCK: Yellow is widely known as a happy color—but does it positively affect the mood?

Krueger: A person surrounded by yellow feels optimistic because the brain actually releases more serotonin. But studies show babies cry more in bright yellow rooms and tempers flare more around that color too. Used sparingly in the just the right place it can be an effective tool in [generating] greater sales.