Colours are considered the ultimate storytelling tool because even before anything happens, they set the mood for whatever it is to come. They propel and convey ideas and emotions and are well known to have a psychological effect upon people, with each colour having its own unique effect.
THE COLD ONES: Blue, Green and Purple
Where warm colours remind us of heat and sunshine, these cool colours remind us of water and sky, even ice and snow. Cold colours make you feel calm, relaxed and refreshed. Let’s find out how they affect us, and why.
STORYTELLING WITH BLUE:
Blue is the world’s most popular colour, according to surveys. It’s a calming, peaceful colour, thanks to its associations with the sea and sky. Films and commercials have taken advantage of this, often using the blue colour scheme to evoke feelings of serenity. But, of course, blue is also associated with melancholia, sadness and loneliness (which explains the expression ‘feeling blue’). Let’s see some examples of films and commercials to see how directors have used this beloved colour.
1) EVOLUTION OF A CHARACTER IN MOONLIGHT:
Moonlight follows the story of Chiron, a young boy born into poverty in a drug-riddled neighbourhood of Miami, who is bullied for his sexuality. In the scene here above, after teaching Chiron how to swim in the ocean, Juan (a local drug dealer who became his father figure) tells him a story from his youth about an old lady who told him, “In Moonlight, black boys look blue. You Blue. I gonna call you Blue.” This colour will remain significant throughout the rest of the movie. Growing up, this colour will become more and more prominent, signifying how Chiron is slowly becoming more like Juan, even though he is not there with him his influence was still there. It’s also to be noted that blue is also used to depict loneliness and melancholy.
2) THE HEAT IN BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR:
As you might have guessed from the title, the colour blue is used extensively throughout the film—from the lighting in the gay club Adèle visits, to the dress she wears in the last scene and most notably, in Emma’s hair and eyes. For Adèle, blue represents emotional intensity, curiosity, love, and sadness. Adèle also references Pablo Picasso a number of times, who famously went through a melancholy Blue Period. As Emma grows out of her relationship with Adèle and their passion wanes, she removes the blue from her hair and adopts a more natural, conservative hairstyle.
3) THE LONELINESS OF BLEUE DE CHANEL:
In the Bleu de Chanel commercial, Steve McQueen uses the colour blue to emphasize the loneliness of the main character, together with wide empty space to exaggerate the solitude.
4) FREEDOM AND ESCAPE IN BRAZIL:
Director Terry Gilliam uses Blue to in the dream sequences of his nightmarish dystopian film ‘Brazil’. The protagonist dreams of being a winged hero and the bright blue sky he flies through is a relief from the dark grey world he is stuck in during his waking life.
5) INTELLIGENCE AND SOPHISTICATION IN THE ‘SAMSUNG GALAXY’ ADVERT:
Blue is also associated with class and intellectualism. This makes it an ideal colour for technology companies. Facebook, Dell and Samsung have all chosen blue as their company colours. Samsung used a very blue colour scheme for their Galaxy S8 advert.
STORYTELLING WITH GREEN:
Of course, the primary association we have with the colour green is nature, and therefore green has become an excellent choice of colour to when it comes to environmental messages or products that are ecological. It is also a calming colour like blue, associated with simplicity. However, different shades of green can suggest boredom, obsession, sickliness, evil and disgust.
1) OBSESSING ON VERTIGO:
Green is associated with Madeleine and the main character’s obsession with her. The colour becomes more and more prevalent, and eerie, right through the film’s conclusion.
2) THE EVIL IN DISNEY MOVIES:
If you watch a Disney movie and you see the colour green, you are probably in the presence of unfathomable evil. It all began with Snow White with the Evil Queen and her green eyes and the green potion. Green eyes are also sported by the evil stepmother and Lucifer, her horrible cat, in Cinderella. Let’s not forget Scar green glare in the Lion King. Hercules has to swim through the lime green river of souls to save Meg’s life. In the Princess and the Frog, Dr Facilier says “It’s the green that I see” when he conjures his friends on the other side. Ursula the witch takes away Ariel’s voice with terrifying green lightning hands in The Little Mermaid. Last but not at all least, of course, is Maleficent: perhaps more than any other Disney Villain, Maleficent embraces the evil lime-green glow. It even surrounds her castle.
3) ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLINESS IN ECODUCA’S CAMPAIGN
Ecoeduca’s global warming campaign shows a disturbing image of a homeless polar bear with her cub. Notice how the green colour is still used here despite the absence of trees or any other vegetation that are naturally green.
4) BOREDOM IN THE MATRIX
Green was used for a number of reasons in the colour scheme of the Matrix. The scenes that take place in the virtual world have a greenish tint, while the scenes in the real world do not. The directors have said that this was inspired by the greenish screens of old computers. It also serves to make the protagonist’s day job seem monotonous and miserable. The greenish hue gives the characters, and workplace, a sickly pallor.
5) SIMPLICITY IN SPOTIFY
This Spotify advert it’s a fun dynamic explanation of how a product works. Green is a great choice of colour. The use of green gives the ad an upbeat feel and a simplicity, that implies that Spotify is an easy-to-use, and fun app.
STORYTELLING WITH PURPLE:
Purple is less commonly used than green, blue and red, maybe because it’s also the rarest colour in nature. It can, however, have a powerful impact on the viewer when used well. It is a lush dreamy colour and is often used in scenes of romance. It also brings to mind fantasy, imagination and magic.
1) ROMANCE IN LA-LA-LAND
Yes, we spoke about La-La-Land (this exact scene actually) in our previous post for the opposite colour of the spectrum, yellow, but we couldn’t help ourselves: this movie is a colour fest. Director Damien Chazelle uses a stunning purple sunset as the backdrop for the first dance between his protagonists Sebastian and Mia, where they begin to fall in love. It’s a dreamlike scene, and the purple background gives it the dance the romantic fanciful feel it needs. Emma Stone’s yellow dress matches it perfectly. The purple was so effective it became the central colour of the films advertising campaign and poster art.
2) QUIRKY FANTASY IN THE CADBURY’S GORILLA ADVERT
Purple can add a lot of quirkiness to an advert. This can be seen in the Gorilla Cadbury ad, where a musical savvy primate drums away to a Phil Collins’ song. It also ties in the brand’s main colour.
3) EROTICISM IN ‘BLADE RUNNER 2049’
Purple is a sensual colour, a cross between the passion of red and the serenity of blue. This makes it a colour that is often associated with eroticism and sexuality. Director Denis Villeneuve does this brilliantly in a stand-out scene from his sequel ‘Blade Runner 2049’. The protagonist is walking by himself, the blue colour of the scene matching his loneliness, before a purple light washes over his face. We then see a giant purple hologram of a nude lady, an advert for a virtual girlfriend called Joi, promising the buyer happiness. It’s a hugely memorable moment and a stunning use of colour.
4) THE DUALITY OF THE PURPLE LIGHTSABER
As Luke Skywalker taught us in the original trilogy, a good guy can feel anger and hate sometimes without fully giving over to the Dark Side. What better way to represent this duality than with a cool purple weapon? How the colour purple is created by mixing red and blue says a lot about the Jedi wielding it.
5) LUXURY AND FANTASY IN THE VIRGIN AMERICA CAMPAIGN
Virgin America is a brand that uses colour in an unusual way. Their logo colours are red and white, but their brand colours are purple and pink; in this campaign, everything from the plane cabin lights to their billboards to their website reflects this colour scheme. In this print ad, they use the colour purple to drive home a feeling of luxury, exclusivity, and imaginativeness while maintaining their trademark humorous visual tone.
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