Hidden Messages – How Businesses Use Color

Believe it or not, color influences our behavior, actions and expectations. Businesses use this knowledge to gain customers, build trust and brand recognition, and increase their profitability. Sometimes it is quite obvious and others are more subliminal. There’s a delicate balance in creating a memorable impression to play upon our emotions or inspire particular thoughts and actions. Let’s look at some examples of how color is being used on a daily basis.


But first, let’s play a game! Can you name each of the companies associated with the four photos above? Your subconscious mind has been trained to recognize brands. Many are instantly known by a particular color combination . Did you guess them all correctly? Read on to find the answers.

Day Spa
Day spas offer renewal and relaxation by reconnecting with Nature through pampering treatments set in rooms with earth tones, blues, greens and purples to soothe away the stresses of everyday life. The sweet floral scent of lavender is known to promote restful sleep and has an instant calming affect simply by smelling the fragrance.

Laboratory
The laboratory interiors are typically white to give the impression of cleanliness and purity even though we know there are millions of microscopic germs. Antibacterial wipe, anyone?

Bank Vault
There was a time when banks were red brick buildings, symbolic of strength, wealth, and confidence to weather any storm. Today bank’s branding colors include red (a power color and a nod to bricks of past), and green (the color of money and abundance.) Regardless of the colors your bank uses, the message is the same: “Your money is safe with us.”

Tiffany Jewelers
Tiffany & Co. is easily recognizable by its robin’s egg blue packaging, store displays, and interior accents. Many people refer to this color as “Tiffany Blue.” Because it is rather rare in nature, the color suggests bold but delicate designs in timeless jewelry to be treasured for a lifetime.

Leopard at Sunset
The jewelry designer, Cartier, often uses leopard print and their signature red packaging in their advertising, but as you can see from the photo, Mother Nature is the originator of this color, pattern and texture combo. It’s wild, exotic, and luxurious.

Na Hoku
Na Hoku, a Hawaiian jeweler, entices shoppers with a deep blue storefront dotted with shiny silver sparkles, and pairs of lit torches on either side of the entrance, which calls to mind warm tropical evenings under a star-filled sky. Inside, palm tree murals further that beachy vibe, while jewelry designs celebrate the beauty of this paradise found.

Tommy Bahama
Another name synonymous with the tropics is Tommy Bahama. Their merchandise and stores exude island charm with natural wood plantation shutters, vibrant floral decor, and exotic prints on everything from clothing to umbrellas and beach chairs. Sometimes the stores feature musicians playing guitars or steel drums to foster a playful, party atmosphere inviting everyone to come on in, stay a while, and take a piece if the tropics home with you today.


You would think that limiting yourself to a palette of pastel colors would restrict your options for creating new products and drawing new customers. Lilly Pulitzer has successfully accomplished this and is one of the most easily recognized brands in the world.

L'Occitane
The French company, L’Occitane, stands out among a sea of retailers because of its signature golden yellow color on its products, storefront and interior. Competition is fierce so it pays to draw attention with a bold presence. Back it up with fine quality and service, and you will have customers for life.

Coffee Shop
The warm, rich, layered flavors of coffee are echoed in the earth tones, wood grain and brick textures in this popular coffee shop. This down to earth atmosphere invites you to kick back and stay a while, as you enjoy a few cups of your favorite beverage and maybe a scrumptious, fresh-baked muffin too.

Fresh Produce
The green walls and brown display case suggest nature. The signage reassures shoppers it’s fresh and organic. The light purple labels and packaging are appealing against the reds, oranges and greens found in fresh produce. The better it looks, the more you’ll want to buy.

Refrigerated Foods
Food packaging depicts professionally prepared and photographed dishes to tempt you. The actual product may look nothing like it, but manufacturers pay consultants hefty fees to select the perfect colors for their products as well as the packaging. Supermarkets invest fortunes in colorful displays to entice shoppers to buy more.

Time Square
Time Square – Billboards, storefronts, and signage all vie for your attention in a very competitive world. Where will you spend your shopping dollars – probably at the shops with the most inventive storefronts and/or branding? Those advertising campaigns stick with you, and your brain is all too happy to supply you with purchasing options.

French Restaurant
You’re seated at a table in a fine restaurant sipping wine in an elegantly appointed room with red walls. Why? Studies show the color red stimulates the appetite, which results in consuming more food and drinks and more profits for the restaurant. Restaurant ambiance is created by combining many elements – light level, color scheme, lamp type, china color and pattern, linens, upholstery, etc. Nothing is by accident – it’s tailored to make you spend more.

Fast Food McDonalds
McDonalds enlists the help of the color red to encourage eating more, but it’s combined with yellow so don’t get too comfy. Hard seats and dense table arrangements ensure guests will make this a short stay. The subliminal message: Eat fast and go!

Cheesecake Factory
The Cheesecake Factory – What will you do to pass the time while you wait for a table? You’re hungry. You could take a look at the menu, but most customers peruse the Takeout Desserts counter, which is filled with the most tempting cheesecakes and sweets. The rich chocolate browns and caramel colors, in the interior as well as the foods, entice your taste buds. You’re not walking out of here without buying dessert.

Eddie Bauer
What could be more outdoors than forest green accents, river rocks, and lots of natural wood trim? Eddie Bauer immerses customers in the great outdoors long before their adventures begin.

Take a look at your office, the local super market, and the stores you frequent. What kind of atmosphere are the colors and textures creating? How do they make you feel? If you could make one change, what would it be? Hopefully this has given you some food for thought. If you have any ideas to share, please note them in the comments section. Until next time…

Happy Crafting!

Gemstone Healing Traditions

Gemstones
Gemstones have been admired throughout history. They have been worn for their beauty, carried for protection, and ground into powder for use as pigments in makeup, dyes, and paints. Gemstones have been used for healing since ancient times. Below is a list of gemstones and their associated healing properties, followed by a list of Birthstones, Zodiac signs, and the Feng Shui Bagua with corresponding gemstones.

Gemstone Healing Properties
Agate – strong healing, good fortune, balances body mind & spirit, calming, nature

Amazonite
Amazonite – calming, improves sleep, intuition, creativity

Amber
Amber – success, decision-making, achievement

Amethyst – calming, protection, restful sleep, self-confidence, intuition, meditation
Apatite – intuition, meditation, energy
Aquamarine – balances body mind & spirit, nature, water, calming, purifies body

Aventurine
Aventurine – balance, optimism, relaxation, purifies mind, nature

Azurite & Malachite – stress relief, intuition, creativity, heaven & earth, energy
Bloodstone – healing, energizes, purifies, strengthens heart
Calcite – mind, body, & spirit, nature, energy, harmony, healing

Carnelian
Carnelian – creativity, energy, protection

Chrysocolla – balance, stress reduction, intuition, calming, heaven & earth

Citrine
Citrine – abundance, confidence, hope, energy

Diamond – abundance, clarity, fidelity, deflects negativity
Emerald – dreams, healing, balance, protection traveling, prosperity

Fluorite
Fluorite – healing, concentration, grounding

Garnet – passion, remove negativity, hope, purifies
Jade – prosperity, dreams, healing

Picture Jasper
Jasper – balance, healing, attaining goals, nature, nurturing, relieves stress

Kyanite – optimism, healing, creativity, loyalty

Lapis Lazuli
Lapis Lazuli – intuition, balance, inspiration, protection, creativity

Malachite – healing, abundance, relationships, dreams, reduces stress
Moonstone – fortune, protection for traveling, compassion, female power

Mother of Pearl
Mother of Pearl – female power, nurturing, motherhood

Nephrite – creativity, protection, attain goals, dreams
Onyx – intuition, dreams, protection, achievement, endurance
Opal – balance, harmony, spirituality

Pearls
Pearl – female power, truth, heaven
Peridot – prosperity, harmony, relationships, intuition

Clear Quartz
Quartz – spirituality, harmony, creativity, prosperity

Ruby – love, self-awareness, renewal, spirituality
Sapphire – clarity, intuition, protection, soul mate love, fidelity, meditation

Snowflake Obsidian
Snowflake Obsidian – balance, concentration, repels negativity

Sodalite – delegation, intuition, creativity, calming, protection
Sugilite – calming, healing, reduces stress, spirituality

Tigerseye
Tiger’s Eye – confidence, healing, concentration, grounding

Topaz – creativity, self-expression, spirituality, renewal
Tourmaline – healing, spirituality, energy, renewal, protection

Turquoise
Turquoise – protection for traveling, strengthens, verbal communication

Unakite – feminine, abundance, harmony

Birthstones
Birthstones

Signs of the Zodiac
Zodiac

Feng Shui Bagua with Gemstones
Bagua

Mother Nature has produced a remarkable collection of gemstones. Cultures around the world have created and shared their gemstones traditions throughout the ages, and will continue to do so in the future. Each stone has a unique story. When choosing a gemstone, hold it in your hand and ask yourself: How does this gemstone make me feel? If your answer is “empowered,” “inspired,” and “amazing” – you have found the perfect match. Wear it in good health!

Happy Crafting!

Daily Dose of Color

Butterfly
Color plays an integral role in our daily lives. It affects our moods, decisions and actions. Let’s take a look at our activities on a typical day to observe how influential color can be.

Sunrise
Most of us rise with the sun and sleep at night. Our internal clocks are preprogrammed for this routine. During the gray days of winter, it’s tough to get motivated. We need that burst of sunshine to jumpstart our morning activities. The longer days of summer encourage more outdoors events, bringing us closer to nature, which energizes our minds and bodies. Vacations are most popular in summertime.

Peach Bedroom
In our homes, the walls, floors, and furnishings vary in color from room to room, often based upon our activities. For example, sunrooms are usually a cheerful yellow, while bedrooms and bathrooms promote relaxation in soothing tones. Choice varies by individual preferences, and emotional responses to those colors, which are affected by memories, experiences, upbringing, culture, etc.  (Photo courtesy AMS Interiors, LLC.)

Fabrics
What about your wardrobe? What colors do you see when you look in your bedroom closet? Do you prefer the warm tones of red, orange and yellow, or do you lean more towards the cooler greens, blues, and purples? Perhaps more neutral colors, such as white, tan, brown, and black are to your liking?  Whatever the colors, you feel good when you wear your favorites and it shows.

Breakfast
You start the day with breakfast, and a great view if you can get it. Fresh fruit brings a natural burst of color and sweetness to an otherwise ordinary bowl of cereal. Maybe you prefer bread or a bagel. It has to be toasted to that perfect shade of light tan or golden brown – nothing else will do.

Kid's Breakfast Cereal
If you’re a kid, you hope breakfast will look something like the photo above. Kid’s cereals are great examples of how color attracts attention, even from the younger members of the family. Hiding a toy inside the box doesn’t hurt, and if it’s part of a collectible set, boxes will practically fly off the shelves.

Traffic Lights
On the way to work, or running errands, drivers are directed to go on green and stop on red. Yellow seems to be a bit confusing. For some it means proceed with caution, but others believe it’s time to stomp on the gas pedal – some more successfully than others.

Police Lights
Depending upon your driving habits, you might see flashing lights like these in your rear view mirror.  As you pull over to the curb, you breathe a sigh of relief when the police car flies past you.  Whew!  That was close!

Gas Pumps
Gas stations have installed color-coded gas pumps to ensure motorists select the correct type of gasoline for their vehicles.

Grocery Store
A quick stop at the grocery store offers a multitude of selections. With so many products competing for your attention, how will you ever decide?

Fresh Produce
When selecting produce, color is the first determining factor for freshness.

Salad
What’s for lunch? Maybe today you’ll have a salad. Notice the amazing combination of colors, shapes and textures. Remember we eat with our eyes first. Looks delicious!

Parking Garage
How about a trip to the local mall? Finding your car in a crowded lot can be a nightmare. Color-coding in the multi-level parking garages saves us a lot of time and frustration. We might not notice what floor we parked on, but the color is easily remembered.

Ski & Outdoor Gear Shop
Inside the shopping mall, retailers vie for your attention and dollars with colorful displays and eye-catching signage.

Coffee
A much needed jolt of caffeine to boost your energy through the afternoon. The brown cup and saucer, and use of aged wood countertops reinforces the natural connection of coffee beans growing in the forest, and builds anticipation for the rich creamy flavors of this hot delicious coffee.

Cheese Burger
The arrival of summer means it’s time to fire up the barbeque grill. Crisp lettuce, and juicy slices of tomato with two kinds of melted cheese on a soft bun make this hamburger a mouthwatering sight to behold.

Sunset
Watching the sunset or sunrise is a worldwide activity. We may not speak the same language, but we share an appreciation of natural beauty. People go to great lengths, traveling vast distances to reach the best vantage points, often atop mountain peaks, where visitors have to stand in freezing cold temperatures, to watch the sun rise or set at the horizon in royal splendor. All those fiery reds, oranges, and yellows in the mornings and magnificent blues and purples at night flash across the sky in a dazzling performance remembered for a lifetime.

Family Room
In the evening, most people unwind in a comfortable family room or great room, surrounded by colorful family mementos, sharing stories of the day and joking about the silly plots of whatever is on television. Earth tone walls, flooring, furniture and furnishings promote relaxation.

Pajamas
It’s time to get ready for bed. You wrap yourself in your favorite pajamas, or sweat pants and a t-shirt – you know the one from your first concert, 10 to 20 years ago. With that wild logo on the front and tour dates on the back, that t-shirt has outlasted the band that inspired it. The color may have faded, and it may be a little ragged around the edges, but it still has years of wear and lots of fond memories attached to it, and no matter what anyone says, you’re not going to part with it! Sweet Dreams!

Happy Crafting!