Colour & Character: BlueColour & Character is an LMPR blog series that looks at the emotional and psychological associations different colours possess and the ways in which marketers and costume designers utilize them. The series is inspired by an episode of the brilliant CBC radio program ‘Under the Influence.’
In our previous Colour & Character post we looked at some of the ways in which marketers and designers utilize red to associate their brands and characters with action, excitement, and desire.
For this installation, we thought we’d look at a colour whose use is almost entirely opposite to red…
What it is used for:
Blue is a soothing colour that is used to convey safety, security, and confidence. It carries psychological associations of clarity, calmness of mind, and productivity.
The reasoning behind any of our colour associations is always speculative, but certainly with blue there is reason to believe that the sky factors in greatly. Our ancestors were at the weather’s mercy to a greater degree than we are today, and a clear, blue sky would have likely represented safety; an association we carry to this day.
Famous Examples in Marketing:
Due to its confidence instilling associations, blue is the most popular colour in the world of corporate logos. Its association with security, trust, and professionalism make it especially appealing for companies who need you to place faith in their products, such as tech companies…
… and automobile manufacturers.
Of all the organizations in the world, the United Nations should be associated with security and stability more than any other. It should therefore come as no surprise, that their logo and flag is almost entirely blue:
Famous Examples in Costuming:
The confidence and stability associated with the colour blue means it is used extensively with characters who draw strength from a level-headed and practical demeanour.
Perhaps the most famous example of this bridges life and art – the navy blue suit that has become a quasi-uniform for both actual and fictional US Presidents:
The coolness and calm mind associated with the colour is frequently used to indicate female characters who are detached or aloof, such as Isabella Rossellini’s character in Blue Velvet…
…or who posses an intellect and levelheadedness those around them lack, such as Disney heroines Belle and Alice.
This is but the briefest glance at the way blue is used to give us hints about the nature of a company or character. We hope you will think back on this analysis as you come across the hue in films, plays, and ads, taking a moment to consider what the designer is trying to convey to the audience by using this cool, stable tone.
If you happen to have a favourite blue costume or logo, why not let us know in the comments?