Why Colour Is Important In Design

December 19, 2016

Why Colour Is Important In Design

At Excelsior, our custom rotomoulding process ensures that we can manufacture whatever you desire. But it’s not just the shape of your plastic product that’s important; the colour matters too. It’s possible you’ve not given too much thought to it – after all, a safety step is just a safety step, right? The colour doesn’t matter much. Well, you might change your mind when you consider how much colour still controls our lives – which is why it still factors so heavily into modern design.

Keeping Us Safe

One of the most obvious uses of colour in daily life comes, of course, in the form of traffic lights. Most of us see them ten to twenty times a day, and those vibrant shades of red, yellow and green basically control our entire lives for a few seconds at a time, whether we’re drivers or not. On a similar note, there’s no mistaking those flashing blue ‘spinners’ on the tops of police cars or ambulances – or their yellow counterparts on industrial vehicles – no matter what country you happen to be in. Blue and white police tape is used to seal off restricted areas, and similarly distinctive tape is frequently used by businesses and organisations for similar purposes. These are just a few of the ways colours are used to warn us of danger – plastic wet floor signs are always tinted in a bright yellow shade, as are the uniforms of lollipop ladies across the globe.

Helping Us Learn

We’re taught to recognise these signals and associations right from childhood, as visual learning plays a huge part in our early development. Bright colours are often used in children’s toys to make them more eye-catching and more likely to hold their infamously short attention spans. Beyond nurseries, crayons and coloured pencils are just two examples of essential staples in any primary school classroom.

As we grow up – although some people remain more reliant on visual learning than others – colours never stop being relevant. Different-coloured whiteboard pens, whether used in a school or office, are effectively used to make information stand out, helping us absorb key points. PowerPoint presentations also often make similarly extensive uses of colour, whether in school projects or boardroom pitches.

Shaping Our Identities

Organisations around the world frequently make excellent use of colour to denote particular meanings or significance, helping us to make connections instantly. The red cross is one of the most distinctive symbols in the world, and has been associated with emergency medical aid for well over a century. Meanwhile the colour green is universally associated with environmental initiatives and causes, to the extent that organisations like Greenpeace can indicate the connection just by their name.

Colours form a crucial part of brand identity, and many of the most successful companies on the planet rely heavily on their trademark colours to communicate with their customers. Apple’s white and silver colour scheme gives its products a decidedly (and entirely intentional) futuristic look, while McDonalds’ ‘Golden Arches’ – embossed on their distinctive red background – is one of the most universally recognised logos in the world. With that in mind, it’s probably not a huge shock when we tell you that colours have always been an integral part of successful advertising, and why companies pay more attention to their corporate colours than ever before.

Show Your True Colours

Whatever the purpose of your product, considering its colour is always a good idea. Whether you want it to be consistent with your company’s brand identity, whether you want it to convey a specific message, or whether you just plain want it to look cool, there’s always room for a bit of colour in your design. You can look at our safety steps are yet another embodiment of useful colours, or you can email us on to talk about some of your own.