Understanding the psychology of colour in your uniform

Colour choice is an important factor to consider when selecting a uniform for your business. The psychology of colours and what they can mean to us is complicated, as it varies from culture to culture and has a significant impact on how we might perceive a brand. When implementing a new uniform, it is important to understand the significance of the colour scheme.

The psychology of colour for uniforms

Red uniform

Our perceptions of colour play a large role in how we view people in uniforms. A light blue colour scheme, for example, has connotations of safety and trust. Many individuals in healthcare use this colour for uniforms partly due to this, including nurses and doctors. A dark blue is often the colour for engineers, as well as being practical, it represents reliability and responsibility.

Yellow, on the other hand, is a warm colour that gives off feelings of joy and happiness. Some of the biggest brands in the world use yellow to effectively entice customers, from McDonald's to Disney. If you're looking to show your staff off as welcoming, warm and happy individuals, a yellow uniform could be a great option.

Black is an interesting choice as it is not actually a colour, but a lack of it. Hair-splitting aside, the colour black exudes professionalism and power. Police officers, judges and countless other business professionals choose black as their colour of choice because it portrays an air of class, sophistication and professionalism.

Red grabs attention and is associated with energy and positivity. Studies have actually shown that red stimulates the appetite, which may explain why it is a popular choice for restaurant brands.

Green is associated with listening and understanding, it is also a great colour for those working outdoors.

How colours can negatively affect perception

Blue and Red uniform combination

Although colours are a great tool to evoke an emotion subconsciously, they can work against you too. Black not only portrays professionalism but also death in western cultures, which can be a bad omen in certain professions, such as the healthcare industry. There are other negative connotations to consider when choosing the right colour for your uniform, such as:

• Blue - Cold, distant and uncaring
• Yellow - Eccentric and irrational
• Orange - Frustration and unprofessionalism

Cultural norms will heavily influence how colours might be seen, but they are often at odds with each other, but any negativity can be counteracted with how the uniform is put together. Combining colours is often a great solution, it means a uniform can work with your brand and also include colours that fit with industry perceptions and emotions you want to evoke. For example red can be seen as an aggressive colour, but combined with dark blue it gives a very different impression. Although when we think of red, many associate it with an iconic airline.

Consider complementary colours for your uniform

Try to use complementary colours when designing uniforms, as well as contrasting lighter and darker colours. This will let your logo stand out and give you the flexibility to choose a colour scheme that matches your brand. Try to avoid two bright colours together, as this will limit the visibility of branding and cause colour clashes. If you need help understanding the possibilities contact us - we are keen to help.