The impact of colour in your office

Monday, 9th June 2014

The impact of colour in your office

As you know, colours are capable of sending messages and triggering emotions among us all. What you would have also realised is that those messages/emotions can vary between different people. A simple example is the colour yellow – In some this will trigger happiness or excitement, however in others, the colour may lead to anxiety or stress.

What you may not know is that the colours you choose to use in your office environments will have a similar effect on your visitors/clients and staff. These effects are subliminal and instinctive – possible of creating either a good or bad perception of your business.

The design team at Axiom Projects knows that when discussing office space you need to understand the message of the colours you choose, to ensure your desired impact is created. For example a company’s identity and vision can be reinforced through colour as can the type of business you run. Our design associate Karen points out that brighter colours are generally aligned with ‘less serious businesses’ and that when choosing colours you may need to take into consideration the age, gender and cultural background of your clients.

So what do different colours mean to people and what are some best uses for colour in the office?
Below is a table running the positive and negative feelings associated with different colours as well as office areas where they may have the most impact.

Colour

Positive Effects/Perceptions

Negative  Effects/Perceptions

Office Uses

Blue

Calming / reassuring

Denotes honesty, loyalty, wisdom, conservatism, security and confidence

Blue-green can assist in decision making

Too much blue may result in reduced staff productivity – no sense of urgency

Complement with Orange to reduce risk of productivity drop

Use in boardrooms to promote decision making

Positive use with businesses such as Finance, Legal, Insurance and Politics

Green

Calming

Suggests security, growth and money

Dark green indicated Wealth and prestige

Fresh and re-generating

Relaxed and casual

 

Similar to blue, too much green can reduce productivity

Complemented by Red to reduce productivity drop

In boardrooms may promote decision making

Can be used in a variety of industries depending on the shade used. E.g. Light green = fresh & less serious, Dark green = prestige & wealth, thus more serious

Red

Increases energy flow

Enhance productivity

 

Too much can lead to aggression and anger

Pairs best with Blue and Green – as mentioned has a balancing effect

Promotes sales / discounts/ reduced costs when paired with white

Yellow

Cheerful or happy

Increase energy flow and productivity

Assists memory retention

Relaxed and casual

Anxiety

Stress

 

Yellow in rooms where training takes place can help staff retain what they are learning

Again pairs with blue and green to add energy

Orange

Increase energy flow

Enhance productivity

Promotes socialising

Muted orange or peach can be welcoming and have a positive sense

 

Too much can create a talkative atmosphere

 

Complementary with Blue and Green

Not as dominating as Red but a good stimulating colour for an interactive office environment.

Very welcoming message, could be used in reception

Beige

Practical and reliable

Conservative and constant

Loyal and unchanging

 

Boring and safe

Staid and dull

Combined with wood finishes can be used to create a sophisticated look

Can create a respectful atmosphere

Pink

Compassion

Pampering

Indulgent

 

Defiance

Aggression

Strain

Best used in small doses to complement calmer colours such as blue or green

In beauty / high end service industries

Burgundy

Control

Responsibility

Confidence

Wealth

Success

Similar to red as can cause aggression and anger

Use in CEO/CFO offices to signal power and control

Similar in boardrooms / waiting areas.

Best in small amounts at times

Turquoise

Creativity

Communication

Calming

Healing

 

Over-emotional

Deceptive

Unreliable

 

As a communication enabling colour can be used in training rooms

Used in areas where public speaking may take place as the colour calms ones nerves

Balances well with green and orange

Purple / Violet

Fun

Vibrant

Lively

Dark purple = prestige

Humanitarian

The future

Arrogance

Corruption

Impractical

 

When combined with blue can convey a fun company ethos

Can indicate growth

Non-profit / service organisations