Color Psychology – analyze the rainbow!

April 30, 2012 by Arnoldo Offermann

I have often talked about color psychology in my Master School Dance videos, posts, and Mobile Beat Articles.

Color psychology is very important not only in our marketing (website and business cards) but also in how we dress, present at trade shows, but most especially design our light shows.

Colors mean many different things in many cultures, but the following is the “generic” gist of color psychology.

White symbolizes purity or a clean look. Since it goes with everything, white is one of the more popular colors in the web. The term “white space” comes to mind.

Whereas black may be seen as authority, power, or timeless– one has to be too careful in using black in marketing as it takes the “life” out of your material. However, black will make other colors seem more vibrant and therefore should be strategically used.

Have you noticed a color theme in almost every fast food restaurant? McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Arby’s, Hardee’s/Carl Jr’s all use some variation of red, yellow, and/or white.

Red and yellow’s color properties can cause a sense of urgency and create an more upbeat mood. In my experience, the combination has caused grinding to increase during school dances.

Red is an appetite stimulant, increases heartbeat and breathing, and always attract attention. very light shades of red can be pleasing on light skin tones during slow dances. Careful, as too much red makes a person look heavy!
(Orange as similar properties.)

Statistically, people get more violent or lose their temper faster in a yellow room. Another study has shown that newborns and infants will cry more often. While it’s a tougher color for the eye to process, it also makes the brain more focused. This is why highlighters and legal pads are yellow.

You can clearly see the effects both colors together can do to help and hurt your marketing and performance.

While fast food chains use those colors often, most restaurants use blue, green, brown, and other earth tones.

Green is a relaxing color, but it looks TERRIBLE when washed over ANY skin tone.

Brown is an earth tone and fits the same properties as green. LEDs can’t properly recreate it (yet), but brown uplighting (gels) look amazing! Careful, as some see brown as a sad or depressing color.

Blue is my favorite. Looking at the color alone causes the body to produce calming chemicals. This is why many websites will recommend wearing blue to a job interview. The color portrays the wearer to be loyal and honest. Because of this, I use a combination of blue and white or blue and brown for sales.

Last, but not least, is purple. Purple is my personal favorite color to wash over crowds. The color is synonymous with royalty and luxury. This is a color not often seen as a natural color, so the sheer presence of it signifies something of rare beauty.

Now that you know this, look at different websites or various restaurant décor and think about how you feel. Think about your favorite restaurants and your least favorite ones. Any color differences?

Take careful mental notes and use this information to shape your website and marketing colors, how you dress for sales auditions, and how you present your lighting.

Color psychology is a powerful thing– use it!

Arnoldo Offermann Arnoldo Offermann (40 Posts)

Arnoldo Offermann is the president of 4SchoolsOnly, a national phenomenon in school dances. In a market where DJs cry about $500 school DJs, 4SO sees 10-20x that price tag per event. Arnoldo is also the creator of Master School Dances, the leading educational tools for DJs wanting to get into this great market. He is a sought-after speaker, reviewer, and DJ tech-writer. You can learn more at

Filed Under: DJing School Dances, Lighting for Mobile DJs