Colour can invoke strong feelings, whether you’re aware of it or not, so different industries naturally gravitate towards specific colours. Below is a brief explanation of the colours commonly selected for uniforms and the associated psychological effects.
Green is the most prominent colour in occurring in nature, associated with growth, healing, renewal, balance, vitality, the environment and calmness. Think of nature and the incredibly varying shades of green, evoking feelings of abundance, refreshment and peace, rest and even security. Simply put, green helps people feel rested and secure. The colour green is also associated with listening and understanding and becomes the perfect colour for anyone who works outside, including gardeners, landscapers, farm workers etc. It is also the choice of anyone working with animals, such as vets and zoo staff.
Red is associated with energy, action, passion and positivity. Red immediately grabs one’s attention and stimulates our emotions, often associated with an aura of confidence.
Interestingly, studies have found that the colour red also stimulates our appetite. As a result, it is often used in restaurants. A word of caution, red can also be viewed as an aggressive colour. The trick is to balance it out with another colour such as blue to create the right impression.
Red uniforms will often be seen on staff who need to be seen as confident, authoritative and positive, such as personnel in the airline travel Industry. Another place where it is commonly found is in the hospitality trade, due to its ability to stimulate appetite.
Yellow is the brightest colour of the visible spectrum, and it is the most noticeable of all colours to the human eye. It represents optimism, enthusiasm, hope, creativity, friendliness, hope and cheerfulness. Yellow stimulates a strong psychological response and is often found in charity uniforms, because of its links with hope.
Pink is closely associated with tranquillity, femininity, warmth, caring and nurturing. Pink has up until recently been associated with women, although more recently, it is becoming a popular uniform colour for men also, particularly in the corporate world. It is very popular with those working in the beauty and cosmetics industry due to its warm and calming effects.
Black is associated with power, fear, mystery, strength, authority, elegance, formality, aggression, authority, rebellion, and sophistication. Black is often seen as a tricky colour as it has two meanings. It can also be associated with negativity and oppressiveness. When it comes to business, however, it’s also stylish, glamorous, dignified and evokes feelings of security, authority and control.
Black is a popular uniform choice. Those who protect us such as the police and security guards use it, as do many retail and corporate companies who wish to attain that glamorous, stylish look.
Orange represents comfort, warmth, fun, optimism, adventure, affordability and happiness. Whilst it has similar characteristics to yellow, it is more closely linked to risk takers and adventurers. It is the ideal colour for those in the sporting and leisure industry. Many companies, who want to be associated with affordability and lower-cost, often include orange in their adopted uniforms.
White represents good hygiene, cleanliness, efficiency and purity. When we think of white uniforms, we tend to think of those in the medical profession, or those in the health and beauty profession. White is, of course, also widely used in the hospitality trade, particularly by chefs and waiting staff.
Blue represents trust, responsibility, relaxation, loyalty & reliability. It is, therefore, also one of the most popular uniform colours. Whilst blue reflects all the above attributes, it is also understated. Blue doesn’t stand out from the crowd, and yet still has the capacity to gather an emotional response.
There really are few industries where blue would not be appropriate. Many tradespeople including plumbers, electricians and mechanics wear blue, as it is important to gain their clients trust very quickly. It appears significantly in the corporate uniforms, where a professional, trusted image is key.
There are of course a multitude of other colours but this list covers the most popular choices that you need to take into consideration when considering the psychological response to colours alongside the personality of your company and customers.