A series exploring over 50 core design concepts, from the 80/20 rule to storytelling, all based on Will Lidwell's landmark design books, Universal Principles of Design.
- [Instructor] Hi, I'm Jill Butler, and this is Universal Principles of Design. In this movie, Green Effects, or the science of getting back to our arboreal roots. The H.J. Heinz Company has been making ketchup, specifically red ketchup, since 1876. But in the year 2000, a bit of a seed change occurred, or rather of ketchup change. Heinz introduced a ketchup of a different color, EZ Squirt Blastin' Green, and they sold more than 10 million bottles within the first seven months of its existence.
This was the biggest jump in sales in the brand's history. And the lesson Heinz learned? And I quote, "The tremendous success of Heinz "EZ Squirt Blastin' Green showed us "that kids love decorating their food "with colors that are bright, wild, "even a little funky." So based on this Heinz decided to introduce a rainbow of colored ketchups over the next few years including Funky Purple, Passion Pink, Awesome Orange, Totally Teal and Stellar Blue.
And then in 2006 the product was discontinued. Colored ketchup now only exists as a nostalgic memory in the minds of America's millennials. So what happened? In a classic case of doing the right things for the wrong reasons, Heinz drew the wrong conclusion about the cause of Blastin' Green's success. When EZ Squirt Blastin' Green was introduced, the color was unique for ketchup but it still made sense with what we know about tomatoes.
There are green tomatoes so green ketchup works. Also Heinz co-branded their new green ketchup with the release of Shrek, an animated movie that was hugely popular and a big moneymaker at the box office. Shrek is a hilarious green ogre with a Scottish accent who eats gross things. Green ketchup was attractive to kids because it looked kind of gross which fit in well with the Shrek promotion. And green ketchup didn't seem that gross to parents because of their association with green tomatoes, so far so good.
But now consider pink, purple, orange, blue and teal ketchups. Colors not associated with tomatoes or naturally occurring foods of any kind for that matter. Without a Shrek-like hook to drive appeal for odd colors, most kids found them gross and not in the cool way. And without a color association with tomatoes, parents also found them gross. Also not in the cool way. Sales plummeted in the years after Shrek.
Shrek Two didn't come soon enough and the product was eventually discontinued. This case study in green ketchup reminds us of the complexity of color selection. People respond to colors differently in different contexts and on many different levels at once. So it's helpful to know some universal responses to colors in your designs. And we have over millions of years evolved a special connection with the color green. After blue, because of water and sky, green is the color we see most in nature.
It is perhaps for this reason that our eyes and our brains can discriminate between more shades of green than any other color but can the color of hope and springtime affect how we think and feel beyond colored ketchup? Let's explore green effects in more detail. Green Effects are a set of cognitive and behavioral effects triggered by exposure to the color green. And the bulk of these effects are rooted in the color's connection with nature. For this reason, green is the color of choice for brands and products trying to convey associations with nature like all natural, safe, organic, healthy and sustainable.
This is also why green is strongly linked to a phenomenon known as approach motivation, meaning it generally tends to make us want to approach things. Green things are intrinsically appealing and inviting which is likely why traffic lights use green to signal go all over the world. But why would humans universally respond to green in this way? The basic idea is that early humans who are drawn to the green oasis on the horizon, who are able to associate green with rich sources of food and water, had a selective advantage over the tribes that didn't.
And today this instinctive attraction to lush vegetation is triggered by one of its key indicators, the color green. Approach motivation affects how we think and feel. It reduces our stress, opens our minds and frees our thinking. For example, in one study college students were given a basic memorization task. After performing the task, participants were shown a 10-minute slide show of either lush green nature scenes or dense urban scenes.
Then they repeated the memorization task. And what happened? The subjects who viewed the nature slide show performed significantly better than they had before, but the subjects who viewed the urban slideshow saw no such improvement. This research has been replicated with walks through parks versus city blocks and with posters of nature scenes versus abstract imagery. Green reduces our anxiety, frees our minds, and helps us focus.
So what can designers do with green effects? Use green when creating signage and controls to indicate safe passage and non-dangerous functions. If you're designing a product that contains all natural ingredients or is environmentally friendly, green is an excellent choice for branding and messaging. Use green to reduce stress and mental fatigue. In environments where stress is high like hospitals, consider decorating with images of nature scenes, painting with varied shades of green and adding plants, lots of plants.
If you're designing a new office, consider placing windows and orienting a building to take advantage of naturally scenic vista views. You can also use green to foster creativity. In contexts requiring innovative problem solving like a design studio or school classroom, that light green accent wall can reduce stress and help people focus. And in contexts where attractiveness is key, avoid green clothing. A person in green is rated less attractive than all other colors except yellow.
We have strong innate associations with green skin and illnesses like anemia, organ failure and nausea. Green clothes trigger these unhealthy associations. So whether you use your knowledge of green effects to make products and environments more welcoming, to reduce stress and facilitate creative problem solving, or to create the next revolution in colored condiments, remember the science of getting back to our arboreal roots.
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Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.