How Colors Play into a Live Event

All of your favorite brands have a color profile. Apple is a sleek gray neutral. Lowe’s is a dependable navy blue. Coca-Cola is a youthful, bold red. Amazon is orange – friendly and confident. None of this is by accident. The psychology of color stretches beyond art theory and is a huge part of how we feel about a brand.

According to Angela Wright at Colour Affects, there are four primary colors in psychology – red, blue, yellow and green. Red relates to the body, blue to the mind, yellow to the emotions, and green to the balance between the three. And then there are many more colors that include and derive from the primary four, each with their own psychological properties.

Why does this matter? When planning an event, you want your guests to feel a certain way. Maybe you want them to feel safe. Or relaxed. Or excited. When you understand how colors make your consumers feel, you can have a lot of fun (and success) with your next live event.

How Colors Play into a Live Event

Color has always fascinated us. Of course, being in the plant business, green is the color we relate to most. But lots of times, the magic happens in the nuances of other colors in an event palette.

If you’re a color geek like us, you’ll enjoy this primer on color psychology. Plus, it’s a great reference when you’re thinking about the emotions you want to evoke at your next live event.


Red is physical. It represents courage, strength, warmth and energy. It conveys the feelings of basic survival and it is stimulating, masculine and exciting. Big, bright companies use red to get you jazzed – Target, Canon, CNN, Nintendo. But red can also represent defiance, aggression, visual impact, and strain. The color red is also used worldwide in traffic lights – it always means ‘stop.’ It can be demanding, but exhilarating.


Blue is intellectual – it represents communication and trust. Think American Express, Facebook and NASA. Blue is full of logic, yet it is also calming. Strong blue tones stimulate clear thinking; softer tones aid concentration. Research shows that time and again, blue is the world’s favorite color. Just look at Oreo!

One of our favorite pop up events was with Mike’s Hard Lemonade, where we “made” lemon trees by hand!


Yellow is emotional. It represents optimism, confidence and friendliness. Yellow is used by companies to make a connection – one way or another, you probably have a personal feeling about McDonald’s, IKEA and National Geographic. However, too much or the wrong yellow in a palette can become dangerous to the consumer, inspiring irrational behavior and even fear.


Green is balanced, harmonious and refreshing. Scientifically, it strikes the eye in such a way that it requires no adjustment, so it feels peaceful. Brands that have tapped into this include Whole Foods, Girl Scouts, and Spotify.


Purple (violet) is spiritual. It feeds awareness, vision, luxury and authenticity. It can also inspire deep contemplation and meditation, or be decadent and visionary, often associated with royalty, and time and space. Companies that use purple effectively include Hallmark, Cadbury, and even Taco Bell.


The color orange is physically comforting. It is sensual, warm, secure and abundant. A combination of red and yellow is stimulating – bringing together the physical and emotional. Very simply, it is a ‘fun’ color. Think Nickelodeon, Hooters, Harley-Davidson. Too much orange, though, can suggest frivolity.

We recently worked on a Crispin Rosé booth, where we used the actual Pantone colors in their label to match real roses – which hung from an elaborate chandelier poised at the tippity top of their exhibit.


Pink is physically tranquil, with a nurturing warmth and femininity. It is sexual, a representation of the survival of the species. T-Mobile, Victoria’s Secret, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Hello Kitty are all massive brands that tap into soothing, powerful pink. Incidentally, the color red is the only color with an entirely separate name for it’s lighter shade – all other colors are simply called ‘light’ blue or ‘light’ green.


Grey is psychologically neutral – just look at Apple, Wikipedia, Mercedes-Benz and the New York Times. All behemoth, yet sleek companies. The color grey is the only color that quite literally has no direct psychological properties whatsoever.


The color black is sophisticated, and efficient. Chanel, UnderArmour, Nike – even Playboy – all use black to harness feelings of glamour, substance and uncompromising excellence. Technically, the color black is all colors, completely absorbed into one, creating a perception of weight and seriousness.


Brown is serious, warm, and natural; it is reliable, and supportive. UPS, M&M’s, and Born all use this earthly color to make their consumers feel supported.


White is hygienic and sterile, and represents clarity, purity and simplicity. It is often used in the blank spaces rather than as a main color in branding – hence, the phrase ‘white space’. But white can also give a heightened perception of space. Many of the same companies that use a black logo or branding pair it with white space to elicit clean lines.

Each color represents it’s own specific, psychological properties, with the power to make your consumers feel very intentional emotions – if you use them correctly. When planning your next event, use this guide to make sure your space evokes the best feelings in all your guests.

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