Our really colourful blog – all about colour

Have you ever thought about how important colour is? Colour is everywhere, we use colour in everything, and colours have different means.

If you were hanging out the bunting for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations or dressing up for the occasion, you’ll no doubt have opted for red, white and blue, to match the Union flag.

Similarly, if you’re planning Fourth of July celebrations, you’ll want to use the colours of the Star Spangled Banner (also of course, red, white and blue).

So colours can be tribal, because they make us feel like we belong. That’s why sports fans wear their team’s strip or paint their faces with the team colours.

There’s a whole psychology behind the meaning of colour. Red can mean danger or passion or anger; yellow can mean comfort and warmth; green is often akin to nature; and blue is the colour of trust and loyalty.

Colours mean different things to different people and provoke different reactions. If you are in business, it is useful to know a little about colours and how they might be interpreted by your potential customers. The meaning of colour may affect which hues you choose in your logo, for example, or the colours you wear at work (and we know some people who always dress in colours that match their logo, so they are really on message).

As logo designers, we understand how important colour is, so we marry our creations to our clients’ businesses, their message and the audience they are trying to reach. You can read a bit more about our logo design services here.

Ten fun facts about colour

  1. Did you know men and women see colour differently? According to researchers at the University of Arizona, being able to see red comes from the X chromosome. Since women have two X chromosomes, they are better able to see red/orange colours.
  2. What do you think the world’s favourite colour is? Apparently, it’s blue. Second favourite is purple.
  3. What’s a plant’s least favourite colour? Blue! We’re joking of course, but it is a fact that there are no true blue flowers. This is because true blue pigment doesn’t exist in plants. When you see a ‘blue’ flower or plant, other pigments and plant minerals combine with light to create the colour you see as ‘blue’. In actual fact, they are more often a shade of purple, lilac or red.
  4. People can have a phobia of colour, with a condition called chromophobia. Often, it will be a fear of one or two particular colours, and may have been triggered by a traumatic event with which that colour or colours are associated. For example, fear of red is called erytophobia, and is one of the most common because red is associated with danger, or embarrassment.
  5. Sir Isaac Newton didn’t just discover gravity, he also invented the colour wheel. He used a prism to split white light into the seven colours of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. He realised that violet was a variation of red, so created a circle. How clever!
  6. Babies have only limited colour vision when they are first born, but by four months this is fully developed. The first colour they see is red.
  7. Fast food restaurants use red and yellow because, together, they can make you feel hungry. Red stimulates and yellow evokes feelings of comfort. Interesting… Big Mac, anyone?
  8. Pink can suppress feelings of anger and anxiety, so is often used in mental health facilities and in prisons.
  9. Flamingos are only pink because of their diet. Carotenoids are found in the microscopic algae that brine shrimp eat, so as a flamingo dines on algae and brine shrimp, its body metabolises the pigments, which turn its feathers pink.
  10. Colours are more memorable than black and white, according to psychologists – something to bear in mind when meeting people, networking or creating your business’s colour palette.

Six colourful books

Did you know, colours often feature in the titles of books? Here are a few well-known ones.

  1. Anne of Green Gables, by LM Montgomery, a classic children’s book, that we love, all about an orphan called Anne
  2. The Scarlett Pimpernel, by Baroness Emma Orcz, where a mysterious hero sets about rescuing aristocrats from the guillotine, during the French Revolution
  3. A Study in Scarlett, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which introduces us to Sherlock Holmes
  4. The Mystery of the Blue Train, by Agatha Christie, the queen of crime fiction
  5. The Silver Chair, by CS Lewis, and the sixth in his series of Narnia books
  6. Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell – another classic children’s book about a much-loved horse

Happydesigner and colour

We love colour, because it’s so important to our role as quirky children’s book illustrators. But of course, we prefer some colours to others, so we ask our team which hue they like best.

  • Sarah-Leigh – orange 
  • Barry – Yellow
  • The studio guinea pigs – green (same colour as their fave food: dandelions)
  • Erik the studio cat – didn’t deign to answer. It was beneath him!

We hope you enjoyed our colourful blog. If you’d like a little colour in your logo, or wants some quirky and colourful children’s book illustrations, we’d love to help. Get in touch with the team here at Happydesigner or email hello@happydesigner.co.uk.

Written by Jo Smyth (www.wordworker.co.uk)

A few of my previous clients

happydesigner clients

  • "These posters and flyers are perfect”
    - Julia G, Manager at the Truro branch of Pets at Home

  • Sarah is an extremely talented designer and illustrator. She has that rare gift of being able to find something in your business or character that you never knew existed" Craig Green

  • "Outstanding illustrator with exceptional talent. You couldn’t wish for a better artist, as it would be impossible to find. Such a spectacular gifted designer who is always happy!" - Rachel Lake

  • “I was so nervous ringing you as i've never done anything like this before, but you were so friendly and put me completely at ease.” - Donna Purvis

  • "I am absolutely thrilled with the colours and love the look and overall feel of the book, its so different and unique, thank you so much"
  • "Sarah is amazing - very fast at understanding the requirements, great pictures and never too much trouble. I recommend her wholeheartedly" - Fernando Caldeira-Saraiva
  • “Sarah was lovely to work with and keen to make sure that the illustrations were a perfect match for the story. It’s obvious that she really cares about her work and wants you, the author, to be happy with the final results.” – Marion Adams

  • “I am so happy that I found Sarah to bring my book to life. Sarah took the time to listen and really made the effort to make sure that I was happy and her brilliant designs translated the words of my book into a beautiful visual story." - Jodie Jackson

  • Sarah really understood the brief right from the beginning and has been able to translate my ideas and mental images, that at times were quite specific, into magical illustrations that are better than I’d ever hoped. She has absolutely nailed it!” – Gareth Edwards

  • "I can’t speak highly enough of Sarah! She has brought Roopert Snoopert to life in a way I could never have imagined.
    The illustrations are fantastic! Sarah keeps you update with progress from the draft stage right through to sign off." - Paul Micklewright
  • "It's been great working with Sarah as our illustrator! She's been so great in taking all feedback on board and delivers work of the highest standard. Would 100% recommend :-)" - Michelle Gibbs, Doodle Dozen Series
  • "Thank you both so much for your hard work and dedication. Sarah is a fantastic illustrator! It is nice to know I have worked with someone who is so professional at her job, and will certainly remember her for the future if I need another book illustrating."
  • “When we first contacted Sarah, Dainty Dizzy was a concept;  an idea to be shaped into a brand.  Sarah took this idea and illustrated it perfectly….and our brand look and feel was born.” – Dainty Dizzy

  • "The logos are absolutely fantastic, they are spot on brief and are even better than we imagined!Paolo Pini, Step Up To Languages

  • "Sarah quickly understood what I wanted to achieve and the look I was after. Sarah kept me informed and brought me into the whole process” – Darron Jon Love

  • Sarah has a great insight into how to best produce a children’s book and is really helpful in getting you there! I really cannot recommend Sarah enough – brilliant designer, friendly and professional. The experience has been a great one!“ – Jodie Jackson
  • "WOW! Love it! I'm so happy with what you've produced- and with so little input from me. FANTASTIC!!! THANK YOU” - Darren Pascoe: 'Red Rabbit Book'

  • "I hope my recommendation will persuade you to use Sarah! I cannot fault her, for her professionalism, enthusiasm and talent." - Michelle Hawkins, Director: The Flying DoDo

  • "She has a keen eye for the quirky detail, she is punctual and a joy to work with. I simply cannot praise her enough.” - Clickety Books

  • “Thank you, Sarah, for the amazing work you did on the illustrations for my book. Working with you has been so easy thanks to your enthusiasm, flexibility, support, professionalism and, of course, the amazing quality of your work." – Stuart Neath

  • Sarah is professional, friendly and very knowledgeable, she delivered 100% with a new logo that was spot on! We can't recommend her enough!” - Lucy @ Get Active

  • “Books arrived safely today- I am absolutely delighted with how they look – I can’t thank you enough – you’ve made my dream come true :)” – Jane Collins

  • "Sarah understood what I was looking for and produced a fantastic logo for me.  She is very approachable and friendly – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her” Katie Jarvis, Fancy Prints

  • "Sarah loves her work, her friendly ‘can do’ approach is reassuring whether you’re on your first or tenth book."  – Darron Jon Love
  • “Sarah’s advice has been invaluable, she could have just illustrated my first attempt but knew there was more to be had from the story and pointed me towards the right help." – Darron Jon Love

  • “Sarah’s re-branding of my business has given it a much needed fresh and quirky feel. She provided us with an extremely friendly courteous and efficient service and injected an energy into the project, that only Sarah could.” – Discovery Leisure