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COLOR MAGIC: How «universal» salespeople make us to choose

COLOR MAGIC: How «universal» salespeople make us to choose
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Illustration: Daria Nakvakina, «-moments of intimacy-» (fragment), canvas, acrylic, 100×80 cm, 2021


What is the oldest color? What colors do different nations paint the world in? Why did Ford think his factories should only produce black cars? What colors sell better? Are the colors and sounds in ancient incantations and modern advertising slogans random?

These and other questions will be answered in this article.




A new study on the consumer preferences of Americans who buy cars has found that body color matters a lot when buying one.

Portal iSeeCars provides data according to which there are such colors because of which your car at the subsequent resale may lose in value or, conversely, help save it. Before coming to these conclusions, analysts studied in detail the statistics of car sales in the U.S. secondary market for 3 years based on 6 million transactions.

They took the average depreciation for this period, which made 37.6 %, as a basis for estimation, and then compared it with the parameters of sold cars. Yellow turned out to be the most «expensive» and liquid color – these cars have lost only 20.4% for 2 years. Beige has taken the second place – 22.8%, orange – 27.1%.

The most widespread colors of car bodies – black, white and gray – practically coincided with the average. It was not without some surprising discoveries. Gold is the symbol of wealth and power in any culture.

But a car painted in gold color, for some reason turned out to be the most illiquid for Americans, having lost for 3 years 45,6 % of cost. Second place in the «cheapening» trend took brown – the body of this color has lost 42.1%, the third – violet, which has fallen in price by 41.2%.

In addition, the analysts compared the price with a combination of color and body type. And here again a discovery was waiting for the researchers: among pickup trucks yellow color was not quoted at all. The most «expensive» color was blue for minivans, and red for convertibles. When you buy a car, it would not hurt to take care of the color you will lose the least in time.




There is little data on the color preferences of Ukrainians, although it is obvious that they will be somewhat different from those of Americans. The perception of color we can trace and describe mostly only through language. And this is where studies comparing the effectiveness of certain colors in advertising, the addressee of which are different peoples and nationalities, come to the rescue.

Study of perception of the verbal elements of an advertising message showed that Russian- and English-speaking people are most sensitive to the yellow-green spectrum and the color blue. In terms of frequency in Russian and English texts, these colors are represented approximately equally – 60-62%. That is, they can be seen as «universal» sellers of advertised goods for the majority of modern peoples.

However, if we compare the linguistic and color picture of the world, here everything will look somewhat different. The main colors for us are black, white, blue and red. But the English language color picture of the world is different – green, yellow, red. In general, in the cognitive systems of people on the planet the leading role played only by 6 colors – black, white, red, yellow, green and blue.

So when Henry Ford said that a car could be any color as long as it was black, he was right. Different people and their linguistic pictures of the world are no match for taste or color. But black, for example, gives a car a certain predictable, «average» liquidity in almost all corners of the globe.




After studying with 98 languages, B. Berlin and P. Kay came to the conclusion that our system of color notation has had a long and complicated evolution. They counted 7 stages of lexical distinction in it: 1 – black and white: black as if absorbed all dark tones, and white – all light tones; 2 – red is distinguished, including such shades as orange, yellow, brown, pink and purple; stages 3 and 4 have variants – one after another, but not simultaneously, yellow and green appear; stage 5 – blue; 6 – brown; at 7 – pink, purple, orange and grey appear as separate colors.

If we are guided by this theory, the color picture of the Russian language will be more archaic than the English one. In Russian the colors of the 1st and 2nd stages will occupy 45.9%, while in English only 31.7%. In general, though, the white-black-red symbolism is universal for the consciousness of different peoples.

The most common symbols in English are white, brown, red, and black; in Spanish, bianco and negro; in German, weiss and rot; in French, blanc and noir; in Japanese, shiro and kuro; and in Russian, white and red.

Not surprisingly, the advertising industry uses this archetypal «trinity» (black, white, and red) to better promote goods, making them in demand on an unconscious level.

This effect is supplemented by the correlation between colors and sounds. For example, we associate high sounds with light colors, low sounds with dark colors, and bright sounds with loud sounds. The sound «a» for us is red, «o» – black or white, that is, perhaps, the most archaic and «universal». But «s» is felt by us as yellow.




Psychosemantics has long come to the aid of global brands. For example, the brand colors of the Schweppes brand before 2016 were yellow and blue, and after 2016 – black and yellow.

For the simple reason that research has shown: these are the colors that correlate almost perfectly with the sound and color associativity of the word Schweppes. The words and sounds of the brand slogan were also put through a similar procedure.

Colors affect our emotional sphere and even our physiology quite strongly. For example, blue, according to Lüscher, is peace and satisfaction, security, harmony and dreams. This color communicates with the subconscious, hypnotizing the intellect. The pulse slows and weakens, the sense of pain is dulled, muscle tone decreases…

And how not to remember that the vast majority of Eastern Slavic prayers and incantations are focused mainly on those vowels that are in the dark-light blue spectrum zone.

In this sense, advertising of many products is nothing but a modern conspiracy – the principle of influence on our subconsciousness and physical state is the same as that of an effective slogan.

And there is no mysticism in this influence. From the 1940s to the present, scientists have been conducting experiments that are increasingly revealing to us the mystery of the power that colors have over all life on the planet.

The subject is virtually inexhaustible. So in conclusion, the Huxleў Almanac wishes that the world around you was comfortable and bright. Manage your colors and sounds effectively, but don’t forget about psychosemantic safety.

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