The colour of your smartphone is influencing design

Written by Kristin Papillon

My master’s thesis in grad school was on the influence of colour on consumer behaviour.

Supported by a cosmetic company, I diligently stood in a store for weeks observing how people interacted with a display, different only by colour, to see which shade would have the most visits and conversions.

It was in-person user experience.

I’d studied the psychology of colour preparing to defend my thesis. Fast food restaurants used red because it was thought to make you hungry. Cool tones were used in public spaces like hospitals for a calming effect and the colour pink seemed inseparable from packaging targeted to female consumers.

As we’ve moved from brick-and-mortar to a digital-first world, does colour have the same effect? All data points suggest colour has even more influence in a digital world.

We experience the world through our senses, and in a digital space, colour (using the sight sense) is huge. It impresses a lot of information on the user; colour is often the item that people remember the most and it helps to create a connection.

And sometimes, colour just helps you stand out.

We’re obsessed with the colour of our tech

How are the colours we are using digitally influencing the total user experience these days? Are the colours predominantly used in tech design starting to influence other aspects of our lives?

The Pantone company thinks so.

Since the mid-1950s, Pantone has been the colour standard. In our social-media-loving world, the Pantone colour of the year has become an influential event — something to celebrate.

In a recent Fast Company article about Pantone, the idea of tech influencing design, is highlighted with Pantone’s addition of new colours called metallic shimmers. Our devices are shiny (I write this on my silver MacBook Pro) and Pantone has added 200 colours — capturing my Mac silver all the way to purple sequin. It’s forecasting the use of colour in the products and services we will develop moving forward.

It’s not just fashion that will influence, it will be devices.

“Whether it’s a rose-gold iPhone in your hand, a pair of cherry-red Beats on your ears, or something like the matte-black Echo in your home, our gadgets impact the design world at large.”

And it’s not just tech devices that are indivisible from the colours they wear. Quick, close your eyes and picture some of the most recognizable technology companies. Can you name the colours in the Instagram logo, the Google wordmark or the Apple icon?

Chic colours: brave, curious and supportive

Just like the Chic Geek Values — Be Brave, Be Curious and Support Others, there was a lot of thought put into the main colour used on all elements of Chic Geek. Kylie Woods, Chic Geek Founder, provided some insight on why green was selected as the prominent colour for Chic Geek.

“We did a market analysis and at the time, most of the groups that supported women in tech used pink or purple in their logos”.

And colour design extends to Chic Geek’s annual conference for Women in Tech, Geeky Summit. “The Summit brand is three years of evolution,” says Kimberley Vircoe | Fruition Studio, VP Communications at Chic Geek, and a visual communications professional.

“Each year, although the basic Geeky Summit wordmark and logo of the iconic she-geek a-top a mountain peak have been consistent, the colour palette changes to give each annual iteration its own unique look and feel. This year, we have chosen a bold and energetic scheme with reds, oranges and yellows.”
“This year’s theme of designing your work is reflecting a passion for purpose and to always strive for that thing that keeps you motivated. When the fire goes out, it might be time to consider a pivot!”

Learn more about designing your work and join us at Geeky Summit, November 16 & 17 2018, at the New Central Library in Calgary, Alberta.