Print, Context And Color Psychology: Things You Need To Know

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Context is an important aspect in every advertisement, especially in Print. Print advertising uses colors, symbols, and shades to express an idea and to persuade. That is why before any publication, print advertisers always keep context in mind.


The concept of color psychology is an old strategy of reaching out to people, and in building a connection. However, in a world where colors can mean people, events, places, or things in different locations and a different time, using colors without context is dangerous.


Nonetheless, it is still a valuable tool today, and color psychology will never fade away.


Context And Colors

Print Advertising Techniques

All over the world, advertisers are facing an enormous challenge of standing out from a crowd of brands that floods people’s pages, computers, and lives. Colors have become the thing nowadays, and people identify color with a group of people, a place, a person, and rarely, a brand.


It had been ultra difficult to insert your brand’s color without being misconstrued as a representative or supporter of anyone you don’t even know.


The magic of color psychology may seem not as useful as before, or maybe it evolved in a form that’s too difficult to understand.


The complexity of advertising is no longer just about how related your color is to your brand. Rather, it has become how relevant you are to the context of the target market.


Nonetheless, to make the job less complicated, here are the three key factors in identifying the context of your target market, and they are Time, Location And People.




Identifying time is a major factor in applying color psychology. Ask yourself the situation that your community or target market is in right now.


Here is a short list of the things that you must ask yourself about time in print advertising:

  • Will they see this message as my brand and not anyone else? Is there any brand known in this community that identifies itself in the same color as mine?

  • What kind of situation is being talked about right now? Does it play with colors?

  • Is it the election? Are politicians identifying themselves with colors?

  • Is it an essential season for a specific religion? Do they recognize some colors as an opposition? Will this disrespect their beliefs?

  • Are there any people identifying their current events with color? What kind of colors do they use? Are they commemorating it soon or today?

  • Will the colors cause unity and not division?


In the context of time, there are a lot of factors that are at play. If it is a celebration, then you can take advantage of the festivity and use the colors associated with it.

On the other hand, if it is a commemoration of a tragic event or bad history, avoid using any affiliating color.


In the context of politics, for example, you have to understand that politicians and their supporters may identify themselves with particular colors. Yellow, for instance, is not just about optimism, clarity, and warmth all the time.


Will releasing a yellow dominated print ad during the campaign period cause a divide in your target market? Will it look like you are taking sides?


Understand the context of the place you are doing business in right now. Aside from colors, symbols are also at play with contextual print advertising. You have to understand the most important issues when you put your ads in place.


Again, your print ads should not represent anyone else but you. Use color psychology wisely because people can put a different color on the ads that you sent them.


Always keep yourself updated with the current events in your target community and know how you can take advantage of it.



The location is also one key factor in contextual advertising. If you are not a local entrepreneur, you will not understand the way people associate their place with color.


You have to figure out if the people is associating any color to their location. One typical example of this is during inter-school competitions. You don’t want to publish ads according to the color of the competing team but your school.


You don’t want the students to feel like you are supporting the visiting team because of the color of your print ads.


Identify yourself with the people and their location. Research and timing always work hand in hand. If you plan to publish print ads during competitions, please take note of the color your home recognizes, as a way to show your support (or sponsorship).



The people are also a key component of print advertising because people also identify themselves with color. If you live in a community where there’s a minority race or group, you don’t want to scare them away.


You just can’t apply color psychology the way science dictates you.


No matter how you put it, people are still going to identify themselves in colors. Unintentionally, whether it’s race, family upbringing, or economic class, there’s often a color associated with that.


Color psychology gives an open door for creativity, but context is key to creating conversation. You don’t become a talk of the town if your ads are the usual mix.


Explore and become creative with colors but always remember to put context in mind.


The Color Wheel


For your additional reference, here are the most commonly used colors in day to day living and advertising. They will have a color psychology definition and a sample contextual color association.




Red is the color of physical courage, strength, power, warmth, energy, fight, excitement, aggression, strain, and defiance.


It is a bold color of the longest wavelength, and red catches the attention of people and affects pulse rate and movement. Among those who used red and succeeded are Coca- Cola, Vodafone, CNN, and Youtube.


As you can observe, all of the mentioned companies are successful, and they are more likely to thrive for a long time.


On the other side of the leaf, red is also a dominant color used in politics. In the US, red signifies the color of the Republicans while the blue is for the Democrats. While in Australia, blue is the color of the Liberal Party, and Green stands for the National Party of Australia.


Red is a standard color that represents many politicians and political parties all over the world, so be wise in using this color during the elections.




Blue is the color of the intellect. It signifies intelligence, trust, serenity, calmness, efficiency, communication, duty, lack of emotion, and coldness.


While red affects the physical aspect, blue is for the mind. Among the brands that use blue as their logo are Dell, HP, JP Morgan, Facebook, Pfizer, and Ford.


Each brand tells us a story about trust and mental prowess. The color blue is unsurprisingly the color for the World Oceans Day and the United Nations.


Although blue has no aggressive note, it is still a color that is subject to context.




Green is for balance and refreshment. Green is rest, restoration, environmental awareness, peace, harmony, health, stagnation, and blandness.


Green is the perfect color for the eyes because it signifies rest and balance. It is the color used by Spotify, Tropicana, Starbucks, and the Animal Planet.


Although the color green is the best color to signify peace and harmony, it is not always safe to use.


For example, many Muslim countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia have green in their national flags, and the Muslim religion itself mentions green as the color of paradise. Thinking green for humor doesn’t work when out of context.




Black is the color of elegance, allure, efficiency, substance, emotional security, oppression, heaviness, and hazard.


Black is the color of big fashion industries such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Zara, and Ralph Lauren.


Nike, Adidas, and Vans seem to understand the black magic of selling shoes and sports accessories, so they got themselves painted with the darkest color.


Although black signifies a classic and elegant feeling, it also relates to racial discrimination and terrorism.




Color psychology is a study of wit and luck. You can’t always expect colors to spark charm powders all over the place to persuade people for you.


Humans successfully evolved through the use of colors, and it has become an indispensable part of human instinct. If you use colors with a good grasp of contextual use, you will be able to connect with your target market successfully.

About Patrick P.

An entrepreneur has persevered, and eventually obtained commendable entrepreneurial track records. Experienced & results driven, he is the Founder & CEO of LinkVista Digital Inc. Patrick has years of experience in the world of SEO & Digital Marketing and has launched numerous campaigns working together with various companies both local & overseas. He loves nurturing young minds and mold them in becoming effective leaders in their chosen fields.
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