Opening a Paint Your Own Pottery or Contemporary Studio
Part Four - Color Psychology in Retail Sales
By Connie Speer - The Pottery Consultant
Don’t you love color? Color is exciting and profound. Color elicits emotion and creates mood. The psychological effects of color impact us every waking moment. Color is important as symbolism, in religion, patriotism, professions, politics and sports. It is important in nature in terms of harmony, survival and reproduction. Eastern science uses color for therapy and healing. The essence of that belief is that seven colors correspond with seven energy centers in the body.
Violet – crown or top of the head = spirit and vitality
Blue/Indigo – eyes (third eye) = mental clarity
Pale Blue – throat and neck = verbal communication
Green – heart = love
Yellow – mid body, trunk = emotions
Orange – belly button area = endurance, strength
Red – lower body, trunk = survival, sex
Western science has just recently begun studying how color produces physical and emotional responses in us. Colored light has been shown to have healing effects. Blue light can help you sleep more soundly and also aids jaundice recovery. Green light is used to aid burn victims.
Most people react the same to the descriptions of feelings that each color elicits. You may find it interesting these feelings are, for the most part, universal in all cultures, not just the United States. Examples of how color impact us are everywhere. Studies show people who choose red automobiles are more aggressive drivers. What about the phrase, ‘I saw red!’ Red is the color of Valentine’s Day because red also evokes passion. Green is the color of money, but also of jealously, thus ‘green with envy’. See if you agree with the colors and the corresponding descriptions and feelings for each one listed below. Next to each main primary or secondary color is how it used in our society.
RED = Strength, Power, Drama, Passion
Red is aggressive, dominant, attention grabbing. It elicits a highly emotional response, increases heart rate and blood pressure, can increase focus and stimulate us. It is the Life Force color. It is used in advertising and nation’s flags.
Rich – red brown or burgundy is sophisticated and welcoming.
Romantic – red white or pink is innocent
Vital – red orange is cheerful and energetic.
Earthy – red orange with black is homey and relaxed.
ORANGE = Warm, Comforting, Friendly
Orange is confident, tolerant, optimistic. It evokes a sense of community, implies safety, family, home, sense of humor. It is used as the rescue color, also in fast food restaurants and in nursing
Soft – orange white or peach is pleasing, calm, relaxing, implies luxury and elegance.
Welcoming – amber is open, honest, congenial, inviting, intellectual and has classic appeal.
YELLOW = Optimism, Cheerful, Joy, Energy, Creates Motion
Yellow is expansive, uplifting. It stimulates communication and mental clarity. It implies power combined with wisdom. It is used in sports and around young children.
Elegant – yellow white or gold is opulent, expensive and says good taste.
GREEN = Restful, Friendly, Generous, Prosperity
Green is natural, balanced and suggests fertility. It says good judgement. It combines the extrovert of yellow with the tranquility of blue. The military, banks, restaurants and booksellers use green.
Traditional – dark green is conservative, masculine and ancient.
Refreshing – blue green is healing, youthful and happy.
Tropical – blue green white is serene, relaxing, sensuous, and casual.
BLUE = Strength, Dignity, Calm, Trustworthy.
Blue is spiritual and serene. It implies depth, integrity, and authority. It inspires devotion and says classic beauty. It appeals to an older audience. It reduces blood pressure and pulse and respiration. It is used in flags and in uniforms.
Dependable – navy blue is reliable and responsible. It conforms.
Calm – blue white is cooling and soothing. It is meditative, deeply spiritual and restful.
Regal – blue violet is authoritative, strong and courageous. It implies sensuous richness.
PURPLE = Unpredictable, Knowledge, Fascinating, Active
Purple is whimsical, festive and magical. It is thought provoking and creative. It is used for royalty and religion.
Energetic – red violet, or magenta or fuchsia is daring, bold, high spirited and youthful.
Subdued – purple with grey or mauve is soft and retiring, wistful, subtle, withdrawn and feminine.
Need some examples in real life? Dark green is the main color for Macaroni Grill, Bennigan’s and Chili’s restaurants. Barnes and Noble also use this color. Home Depot uses the color orange that says community and home. There was no mistake when the tobacco manufacturer chose the color red for Marlborough cigarettes packaging. When you are out and about, look around you. See if you can tell which successful companies took color psychology into consideration when designing their color schemes and advertising.
Simply choosing a color based on its psychological effects isn’t enough. You need harmony and contrast to complete the overall effect.
Harmony is combining the same tones of colors, for example, dark blues with dark greens, or pale oranges with pale purples.
Contrast keeps it interesting. There are many kinds of contrasting schemes. Analogous contrast, also called harmonious, uses colors close together on the color wheel – yellow, orange. Triadic contrast uses three colors that are equal distance from each other on the color wheel – red, yellow, and blue.
Complimentary contrast is two colors that are exactly opposite from each other – yellow, purple or blue, orange. Split complimentary is one of the most popular contrasting color schemes. Pick a color on the wheel, then two more hues on either side of its complimentary color across the color wheel.
Monochromatic is one color, for example, all white or all beige. Textures and shadows keep these from being boring.
There are several other contrast schemes including double complimentary, tetrad and achromatic contrast which you may choose to study further. Use your color wheel for best contrast choices.
What about color schemes in your studio in terms of sales? On one hand, you want the customer to feel relaxed, welcomed, inspired and creative. You want them to love being in your studio so much they come often to unwind and paint, paint, paint! On the other hand, you may feel that you want those tables to turn over quickly so you can get more people in and spending money, especially during the holidays. Let’s consider this dilemma. Most studios have either an all-inclusive price or price of the piece plus studio fee. With all-inclusive, the price includes the cost of the piece, use of paint, brushes, accessories, glazing and firing, and usually up to two to three hours of paint time or studio time, and then an hourly fee after that based on 15 minutes increments. With studio fees, there are two variations. Either they are charged for the piece and an hourly studio fee, or a flat studio fee good for two to three hours, then billed each additional hour.
Now if your studio is warm, inviting and relaxing, and you have a fee for additional studio time and the customer wants to sit there for hours on end painting, you won’t mind that, will you? Hopefully with your excellent and helpful customer service, you can up sell more product. The key to making this work in your favor and keep happy customers is to be sure the customer is well aware of the pricing structure before they start painting. If a customer is having a high time painting away, feeling inspired and cozy, and six hours get by them, they will be pretty upset with they get up to the cash register and discover they just went $60.00 over what they intended.
Another issue with sales is contrast of the product. You want the bisque to stand out. White bisque on white shelves can be very boring. How inspiring is that to you or your customers? Bisque is white, but the perfect contrast to white, which is black, may not be the best color for your bisque shelves. Dark woods, which would be brown, would be a great contrast. If your studio is in blue, a dark shade of that blue might be nice for your bisque shelves, or oranges, or whatever color you decide on!
When deciding on the retail part of your studio for selling finished pieces, or for specials, you want an attention grabbing color that blends with your color scheme. Choose a vibrant hue of either your main color or its contrasting color. This will attract attention to the spot. It will stand out from the rest of the studio décor. Put it close to the cash register or the front door.
While we have good auditory memory, humans have poor color memory. Listen to a new song on the radio a few times, and you’ll find yourself humming the melody. Try to match bath towels with new bath accessories at the department store without the bath towels in hand, and you better hang onto that receipt of those new accessories! Try creating a color board with various samples of colors, fabrics and textures when you are designing your new studio color schemes. You may want to take this with you when you are choosing anything new for the studio whether furniture or window, floor or wall treatments.
You might go mad creating a perfect color scheme for your new studio with all you now know. You may think you want five or six different color schemes in different parts of the studio to elicit the moods, orange and browns in the main studio, blues and yellows in the party room, red in the retail area. What a mess that would be! Also, positive aspects of color have been covered here. There are negatives as well. Red, orange and yellow are not the best colors to use in a customer complaint area. You want to soothe the customer. Better to use blues and greens!
This article was written in hopes of helping you create a studio that is a pleasure to paint in, which inspires and relaxes your customers. Color alone won’t do it. The layout of your studio, your seating and lighting, and customer service will all play major roles in the experience of each of your customers. Don’t just love a color and paint your studio. I thought I wanted a family room with champagne walls and an eggplant sofa. It would have been beautiful, but what I really wanted was a warm, inviting, welcoming retreat. I now have camel colored walls, cream and pumpkin window coverings, terra-cotta tiles and amber furnishings. Lucky you if you have a designer to help you, but you can do it yourself. I did my family room with lots of research and contemplation. (I now have to take brownies to the paint department at Home Depot on a regular basis because of how many times I returned the paint that wasn’t perfect.)
Again, don’t just read this article and run out and get orange to paint your studio. You’ll definitely want to learn more about color contrast, advancing and receding colors, texture, patterns and what different kinds of light can do to a single hue. Lighting for contemporary studios will be an excellent upcoming issue. Also look for the addendum article for locations coming soon!
You’ll also want to follow up and read two recommended books, and visit some web sites I’ve listed below. Use them to begin to understand color and design elements in your new studio. You can even carry these concepts over into your home for comfort and a sense of well being, or excitement, whatever mood you may be trying to create.
Google or Bing for a Color Wheel -
and check your favorite local book store - brick or online - for these books:
Color Harmony Workbook
Colour Your World