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Positive and negative colours

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by boyse7en, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. boyse7en

    boyse7en New Member

    Opinions sought!

    I'm creating a map of the UK to show annual sales changes by region.

    The map is roughly divided into counties, then each are is coloured depending on its improvement or reduction in sales - from -30% to +30%

    I'm trying to decide on the two principle colours to indicate positive and negative results (the colours will be tinted for the other results eg. if -30% is 100% Cyan, then -25% would be 80% Cyans, -20% would be 60% Cyan and so on.

    My initial thought was to make positive results green and negative results red, but some people in the office think that red is a more "positive" colour

    Anyone got any thoughts on the most positive and negative colours to use?
  2. spottypenguin

    spottypenguin Active Member

    Don't know about more positive, psychologically red is linked with anger, danger, rage BUT in terms of a map it will be more prominent than green.

    Maybe use cyan for your negatives (blue - cold) and a red / orange for the Ups? (I currently have a thing about orange, I go through strange phases).
  3. boyse7en

    boyse7en New Member

    Yes its a tricky one, as so much of it is personal perception.

    I quite like the orange/cyan idea. (bit like the colour scheme of this messageboard)
  4. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    Red is used for luck and money in China (thank you HSBC adverts). Generally, I would consider green to be positive and red to be negative.

    Have you thought about adding pattern to represent different things? I used to have to create maps that served a similar purpose to what you're asking, but they had to work in black and white. We used different patterns to distinguish between stuff with a key demonstrating what each one represents.
  5. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    Red through amber to green works for me - everyone's familiar with the rules here and the stop/stall/go scheme would work for the information described: they may not be the most elegant set of colours but they have readily grasped meaning. Also, red may be more prominent than green but reduction in sales would, I assume, be a more serious/alarming statistic than growth in sales.
  6. daytona

    daytona Member

    I think red and green work well, with red being the negative. Yes your attention would perhaps be drawn to the red more than green, but isn't that a good thing? don't you want to be drawn to the problem areas so you can fix them :)?
  7. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    I agree with above....
  8. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    Me too. Definitely wouldn't associate red with being a positive colour. Especially in England.
  9. Steven Hughes

    Steven Hughes New Member

    If you were using Illustrator, you could create global colours and try them instantly across the whole map.

    I could see blue and orange working though
  10. Minuteman Press

    Minuteman Press Moderator

    In accounting - red is certainly unlucky and green lucky! Does have an association across certain disciplines.
  11. boyse7en

    boyse7en New Member

    I'm using illustrator, with global colours.

    I've tried a green (positive)-amber-red spread of colours, and the argument from the editor is that the red is more 'eye-catching' and therefore looks more positive.
    I tried a red-grey-black spread (red being positive) but he thought that looked dull and lifeless.

    I'll try the orange-blue spread and see if that garners a more positive (sic) result

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