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September 2019

Can colour encourage better bathroom behaviour?

Written by Nathalie Leblond
Hygiene Specialists, Technology and Trends, Bathroom Hygiene

Have you ever felt anxious when walking into a room and not known why? Or perhaps you’ve felt inexplicably calm and relaxed in a different space? The artist Pablo Picasso once said that "colours, like features, follow the changes of the emotions." Artists and interior designers alike agree that colour can dramatically affect your moods, feelings, and emotions.

The study of this phenomenon is called colour psychology:how colours affect human behaviour, mood, or physiological processes."  Advocates of colour psychology (amongst them most modern marketeers) firmly believe that specific colours can “influence our buying choices, our feelings, and even our memories.” 

Measuring the effects of colour can be tricky though. Colour perception is very subjective: different people have different ideas about - and responses to - colour. 

There are various factors which influence colour perception - such as age, gender and culture - which make it difficult to determine if colour alone is impacting our emotions and behaviour.  A good example would be the colour white. In most Western cultures, white is the colour of purity, cleanliness and peacefulness.  In Eastern cultures, however, white is the colour of grief, sadness and death.

Whilst it may be hard to establish a direct cause and effect relationship between colour and behaviour, some generalisations about colours and their associations can be made.  Warm colours (red, yellow, orange and pink) are thought to stimulate exciting emotions, and cool colours (blue, violet, and green) are associated with calmness and tranquillity. This is backed up by research which clearly showed that colour does “indeed have an effect on whether people feel warm, cool, calm, invited, relaxed, or uninvited.”

Colour specialist Leatrice Eiseman says that “colour is often called the ‘silent salesperson’ and in many cases must immediately create a brand identity.”

She believes that how colour affects us correlates to colour in nature. (We explored this topic in a previous blog post: Yellow Banana Good).  Eiseman asked thousands of people what they thought of specific colours and found many patterns. For example, blue is almost always associated with blue skies, and from an evolutionary perspective, blue skies meant no storms coming and good sun for crops. She maintains that this is why blue reminds us of stability and calm.

Eisman also maintains that “colour within the business, retail or personal environment is also a critical factor in creating mood, image and a productive atmosphere that elicits a positive, favourable response.”   

We couldn't agree more and have applied this thinking to our new Signature COLOUR range of bathroom products, working with a colour psychologist to determine the best colour choices to offer our customers. 

The COLOUR range offers hygiene products in nine striking colours, and 2 different finishes (either gloss or matt).  Here are the behaviours and emotions that our colour psychologist believes each colour can inspire in bathroom users. 

Initial's signature colour hygiene range

Which one will you choose, and why?

  1. Red: Red is a bright, warm colour that evokes strong emotions. It is stimulating and energetic and provokes a lively reaction. It has the potential to drive enthusiasm from both employees and customers.

  2. Blue:  Blue is most often described as calm and serene. Blue affects bathroom users mentally, engendering feelings of trust, whilst stimulating clear thought and efficiency - a key attribute of employee productivity.

  3. Yellow: The strongest colour psychologically, yellow lifts the spirits and inspires confidence. This, in turn, raises self-awareness that has a positive impact on personal hygiene standards.
  4. Green: Reassuring green is the colour of abundance, refreshment and harmony. Increased awareness and feeling of refreshment have the real potential to encourage good hygiene practices.
  5. Black: In marketing and branding psychology, black is associated with boldness, formality, mystery, strength, luxuriousness, and seriousness. Besides being sleek, black is versatile and can be combined with any other colour. It embodies sophistication, substance and elegance.

  6. Champagne: The ultimate expression of refinement. Need we say more?

  7. Turquoise: Possibly the most inspiring of all, turquoise sparks an instinctual reaction that runs deep. Often reminiscent of the ocean, turquoise is fresh, clean and motivational.

  8. Pink: The colour pink is thought to be a calming colour associated with love, kindness, and femininity. Soft and warm, the pink Signature range displays a caring approach to hygiene best practice. Pink expresses a nurturing instinct and heightens feelings of wellbeing.

  9. Purple: The embodiment of luxury, purple Signature units express authenticity, quality and vision. Purple has been chosen to heighten awareness of employee value and brand perception. 

For more information on the Signature COLOUR range, as well as our other hand hygiene services, sign up to our blog for regular updates on products services and everything hygiene related. 

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Nathalie Leblond

Nathalie Leblond

I joined Rentokil Initial South Africa in 2004 as the PA to the MD, and after 6 months maternity leave I re-joined the Company in 2009 as the Marketing Co-ordinator for Rentokil. I'm now the Marketing Communication Manager for Rentokil Initial. I'm still terrified of cockroaches (Americana's only!) but the rest of the creepy crawlies we deal with don't really bug me (see what I did there?), so I guess I'm in the right industry! I am passionate about what we do here at Rentokil Initial and also write for our Hygiene Blog, which can be found at blog.initial.co.za, and our Ambius blog - https://www.ambius.co.za/blog. Life outside of Rentokil Initial mostly revolves around my daughter, who has just turned twelve, and my husband (who is a bit older). I love living in Cape Town and wouldn't trade living here for anywhere else in the world.

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