Shaping the future using colour psychology and behavioural design

Karen Haller 01
Karen Haller

One of the exciting projects I’m working on at the moment is a collaboration with Boxx Creative and Michelin star chef Oliver Marlow to envisage a 2035 dining experience.

It’s for this year’s Sleep & Eat virtual show and I recently wrote an article for them on the five reasons why colour psychology and behavioural design will shape the future of hospitality. 

My article was first featured on their website but I’m sharing it with you here as it gives an insight into how colour and design will be shaping our future not just in the hospitality industry but many other industries as well.

Here are the five ways that colour and design psychology will be impacting our future.

Human connection

As a result of everything we have experienced over the past four months during Covid-19, the focus into the next decade and a half will be on human connection. People will want, more than ever, a sense of connecting, of belonging and to be surrounded by things that feel familiar. 

Feeling alone and isolated is a global issue now and it’s more prevalent because of what we have just gone through with Covid-19. It’s something that the hospitality and design industry will focus on – how to create that human connection and how to make the customers feel like they are welcome and belong.


To support that sense of belonging, to create that feeling of acceptance, which are basic human needs, we are going to move towards far more personalisation. Hotels, restaurants, cafes are all going to be looking to use colour psychology and behavioural design to create unique spaces and experiences that speak to their ideal consumer.

We are going to recognise even more how much choice we have as consumers. Hospitality spaces are going to be deeply attuned to this and will use colour and design to speak to the customers they want to attract and use it to say, ‘this is your place – we get you, we understand you, you belong here’. And that kind of subliminal draw is really going to help hospitality spaces stand out and be successful in 15 years’ time.  

Branding for belonging

To support that sense of belonging, brands are going to go well beyond a logo. They are going to connect the brand, the interiors, the entire customer journey to how it makes people feel and what emotions it evokes in them. Colour will be used as a way of communicating to the subconscious. 

We are continually being influenced by colour which is why it’s becoming such a major influence. When we can speak directly to our consumers’ emotions on a positive level, we can make them feel at home, at ease, like they belong, to stay longer, and to influence buying behaviour. The more positive they feel the more likely they’ll be drawn to your brand.  All colours (except brilliant white) exist in nature so every brand can remain unique and provide a personalised experience to their ideal customers.

Artificial Intelligence 

Whilst we are going to be craving more connection and more belonging, we are also going to find artificial intelligence becoming a permanent feature of our daily life. So we can’t ignore technology!

AI is moving quickly from holdable, to wearable and it’s likely in 15 years’ time it could be implanted. AI is going to increasingly be a part of hospitality, so we’ll be using colour and design more consciously to ensure we still have a positive human experience. That we are supporting our consumers to have the efficiency and the ease of dining that they want through the support of the technology but at the same time making sure they maintain human connection and the experience that we want as humans.

Back to nature is the future

One of the key ways we maintain our humanness is by connecting back to nature. As humans we respond really well to nature. Humans have a deep subconscious connection to nature. It’s why as people we enjoy the sensation of bare feet on the grass and walking in nature. For most of us living in high density urban environments we really miss that connection.

When it comes to hospitality spaces, we’ll be creating this connection by using harmonious colour combinations, textures, patterns and shapes as nature intended which are familiar to us and therefore make us feel safe, secure and a sense of belonging.

Our greatest challenge in 15 years time is going to be finding the balance between technology and humanity. Making sure we get the best of both worlds whilst maintaining individuality, choice and what it means to be human.

If you would like to know more about Sleep & Eat 2020 virtual event which is taking place 17-19 November you can check it out here.
To read the original Sleep & Eat article, you can find that here.

Image credit: Designer Credit: Boxx Creative | Photo Credit: Laura Rhodes

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