What is Design Psychology?
Design psychology is a 4-group system based on art, science, and psychology that removes the subjective nature usually given to making design choices. Each of the 4 groups is associated with specific personality types which correspond to colors and design elements. This framework gives creatives, business owners, and entrepreneurs confidence knowing that they are sending the intended messages with their design choices.
This natural system was discovered by color psychologist Angela Wright of Colour Affects. Understanding it starts with understanding color.
Color Influences Many Areas of Our Lives
Positive & Negative Effects of Color
Each of the eleven main colors has positive and negative aspects that we instinctively recognize. These aspects transcend demographics - they are innate.
For example, studies have shown that the color red increases our heart rate and blood pressure. This is a physical property of red that transcends cultural boundaries.
That is not to say that we don't have learned associations with certain colors that we pick up through culture. The difference is that the cultural associations can be unlearned or changed, and the innate responses we have to color cannot.
Each color has the ability to trigger either a positive or a negative response in humans, dependent upon the other colors around it. Color harmony can be compared to musical harmony. If there is just one wrong note out of key, it can throw off the entire piece of music, and it is the same with color. One wrong color in a piece causes disharmony, triggering the negative response of that color.
Evolutionarily this worked to keep us safe. You know the difference between green rotten food and soft green moss to sit on. What surrounds each work to communicate which to avoid and which to gather.
The 4 Personality Types
The key to being able to style a brand, a wardrobe, or an interior begins with simply being able to identity which personality traits you want to express.
Each of the four psychological design groups corresponds to four types of personalities.
We break these down seasonally, into groups Spring (Group 1), Summer (Group 2), Autumn (Group 3), and Winter (Group 4).
Discover which personality traits you want to express, and then choose colors and design elements from that group to style your brand, wardrobe, or interior.
Full of light, sparkling, bubbly, and outgoing, the spring is all about youth and the promise of things to come. Spring personalities don’t get bogged down in the details. People are naturally attracted to the spring personality (babies are just so cute!!) as they are full of life and liveliness.
SPRING PERSONALITY TRAITS:
✨Friendly ✨Warm ✨Outgoing ✨Cheerful ✨Bubbly ✨Effervescent ✨Youthful ✨Energetic ✨Quirky ✨Twinkling ✨Exuberant ✨Lively ✨Sparkling ✨Simple ✨Breezy ✨Charming
Elegant, graceful, and nurturing, with an eye for detail and love of organization, summer is more mature than starry-eyed spring. Absolutely dependable with a classic, timeless appeal.
SUMMER PERSONALITY TRAITS
🐚Calming 🐚Caring 🐚Responsible 🐚Graceful 🐚Timeless 🐚Nurturing 🐚Ordered 🐚Balanced 🐚Perceptive 🐚Intelligent 🐚Compassionate 🐚Elegant 🐚Faithful 🐚Gentle 🐚Understated 🐚Disciplined
The autumn personality is friendly, intelligent, and passionate. They have a love of history and research,
and care deeply about people and the earth.
AUTUMN PERSONALITY TRAITS
🔥Historic 🔥Healthy 🔥Organic🔥Colorful 🔥Conscientious 🔥Earnest 🔥Practical 🔥Fiery 🔥Intelligent 🔥Passionate 🔥Intense 🔥Substantive 🔥Earthy 🔥Abundance 🔥Richness 🔥Natural
High end or low cost, there is nothing in the gray area when it comes to winter. The winter personality is all
about extremes. Dramatic, discriminating, modern, forward-thinking and respected. Winter promises not to bother you with fluff or frills.
WINTER PERSONALITY TRAITS
❄️Dramatic ❄️Extreme ❄️High-end ❄️Fashionable ❄️Respected ❄️Perfectionist ❄️Efficient ❄️Daring ❄️Forward Thinking ❄️Discriminating ❄️Innovative ❄️Modern ❄️Powerful ❄️Grand ❄️Logical ❄️Objective
The 4 Harmonious Design Groups
The four harmonious design groups were discovered by world-renowned British color psychologist Angela Wright, who runs the color consultancy Colour Affects in London. Within these groupings, each color has properties that are similar to those properties of others in the same group, and dissimilar to all those outside the group. The properties they share are based on their lightness, saturation, and value.
The four groups Angela identified are Group 1: Spring/Morninglight, Group 2: Summer/Dreamlight, Group 3: Autumn/Firelight, and Group 4: Winter/Starlight.
Group 1: Spring
Spring colors are clear, delicate, and warm and contain white.
Spring Design Elements
Group 2: Summer
Summer Design Elements
Group 3: Autumn
Autumn Design Elements
Group 4: Winter
Winter Design Elements
Creating Harmony with Design Psychology
Design professionals and entrepreneurs can use design psychology as a short-cut to choosing color palettes, typography, photographic styles, fabrics, and anything else that contributes to an overall style. You simply decide on the personality of what you are working on, and it points to one of the four groups.
If you combine colors and design elements that are harmonious, they will communicate the positive aspects you want to communicate.
If there is just one color or design element out of harmony, it will throw off the whole piece. If it is a color out of harmony, it communicates the negative aspects of all the colors used in the design.
If you want your piece to cause disharmony, you could use this to your advantage and make sure to include colors from at least two of the harmonious groups. However, if you want people to respond positively to your design, then it is important to choose one harmonious color group and choose all your colors from that.
The Brilliance of Color Psychology - An Overview
We dive into the brilliant system of color psychology and how to apply it to your business in this interview I did with Prosperity Strategist LaFaye Pye of the Business Builders Lab. After watching, come post what season you think would work best for your business in the Attractive Branding Secrets Facebook group. See you there!
The difference between brands, fashion, and interiors that naturally pull people in and the ones that get looked over lies in the visual signals they are physiologically sending to our brains and hearts.
Get the 4 Seasonal Design Elements Cheat Sheet Bundle
Discover the personality traits, colors, fonts, shapes, patterns, and textures of each of the four seasonal groups and start implementing today!