From the Bondi blue on the first iMac to the introduction of metallics on the iPhone 7 and everything in between, Apple has never missed an opportunity to make a color statement. The new crop of iPhones for 2019, which were announced on September 10, are no exception.
The iPhone 11 (starting at $699) with a single screen size, iPhone 11 Pro (starting at $999), and iPhone 11 Pro Max (starting at $1,099)–both Pro models have two OLED screen sizes–arrived jam-packed with new features. Highlights of the new smartphones include: Longer battery life than previous models, a A13 Bionic processor, improved front and rear cameras and portrait mode, not to mention a new audio system supporting Dolby Atmos, new Smart HDR, spatial audio, night mode, and QuickTake, which allows users to take a video by holding down the shutter button.
However, it’s the fresh palette of colors that really tell a compelling story. The iPhone 11 comes in six finishes: Black, white, yellow, purple, green, and Product red. The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are available in four colors: Midnight green, space gray, silver, and gold (Pros also feature a textured matte finish).
SEE: iPhone 11: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Before you rush out to purchase an iPhone 11, consider that the hue you select communicates a message to the masses, as common color theory states that various colors are associated with certain emotional and visual responses.
“Colors tell stories, more specifically, they tell stories about who we are or who we want to be,” said Leatrice “Lee” Eiseman, director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information & Training and executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, which helps companies make informed decisions about color for their brands or products.
Whether you like it–or even realize it–your handy new accessory is telling the world a story about you.
Vanessa Peterson, color design manager for consumer electronics for PPG Industrial Coatings, explained that individuals use colors as an expression of self. “It allows one to say what they feel without speaking,” she said. “When consumers are given the options, they will usually buy products in a color that reflects their personality.”
What color story are you telling–or want to tell–with your new iPhone? We asked some color experts to find out.
iPhone 11 color choice: Green or purple (or midnight green for iPhone 11 Pro/iPhone 11 Pro Max)
“People tend to gravitate towards colors that communicate who they are,” said Sandy Sampson, executive committee member and vice president of communications and PR for the Color Marketing Group, a not-for-profit international association of color design experts who forecast color directions.
The association between nature and green is pretty well-known. Those who gravitate to a green iPhone may be concerned about climate change or just enjoy the soothing environment of the outdoors.
“Green could mean you are a eco-conscious worker, heavily into recycling and caring for the planet,” said Beck Beach, a lead UX designer.
Further, Beach continued, Apple’s new midnight green iPhone, may appeal “to members of the military or those people who don’t want to stand out.”
The opposite may be true for purple fans. Purple iPhone owners, said Beach, may enjoy “standing out at work and taking on multiple projects to showcase your expertise.”
Meghan Stewart, senior director of B2C sales and color consultant at Paintzen, noted purple’s regal flair, as it was once the color of royalty. The purple iPhone owner, she said, is a “reliable friend who is highly creative, sensitive and generous.”
Deeper colors such as purple and midnight green, she continued, “exude elegance, comfort and stability.”
iPhone 11 Pro/iPhone 11 Pro Max color choice: Silver and gold
For years the color of aluminum defined Apple products (Remember the first iPhone?). With this new batch of smartphones, Apple delineates away from the cold, stark metal color to softer, tactile shades of silver and gold.
“Light colors are soothing and make an object seem soft, even though it may be a metallic,” explained Eiseman. “The human eye is always fascinated by a shimmer or sheen. Social anthropologists proved that since people need water for survival, humans are subliminally comforted by nearby sources of water, and with its glimmer, metallics capture that similar undulated movement of water, and it captivates us.”
Further, metallics connotes heft and wealth. “If you love to feel prosperous and luxurious, then gold is your hue,” said Sampson.
Of course, let’s not dismiss silver proponents who equate metallics with technology or who want to pay tribute to Apple’s classic product color. “Business users who want to project nostalgia for the first-generation iPhone may get this classic, basic color,” said Beach.
iPhone 11 Pro/iPhone 11 Pro Max color choice: Space gray
Speaking of classic Apple hues, ever since the company introduced the iPhone 5 space gray–albeit in various shades–has remained a staple Apple iPhone color.
“Space gray is the color of the MacBook Pro that many tech professionals use at work,” said Beck. “Choosing this color may mean that you keep current on the latest tech trends.” (The MacBook Pro currently comes in space gray or silver.)
iPhone 11 color choice: Black or white
While neutral tones–like the combination of black and white–are timeless, separately each color conveys a distinctive expression or emotion. For example, black signifies something modern, sophisticated, and impactful. While white, on the other hand, is airy, angelic, and pristine.
“We have a psychological attachment to black and white,” explained Eiseman, who said that black stands for chic, elegance, and power. While white is the yang to black’s yin. It channels purity, cleanliness, or a blank canvas.
“Though it certainly depends on the individual, people who lean toward neutral colors are strategic decision makers,” added Stewart. “They are confident in their work as they are able to back up their opinions and business moves with logic.”
These individuals, explained Stewart, will most likely be in career positions using the logical side of the brain including analytics, research, and mathematics.
iPhone 11 color choice: Product red and yellow
Apple has raised over $160 Million for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, through the sale of Product red devices and accessories. Fans of this intense red tend to be bold, playful and creative. “This is someone who thinks outside the box and is committed to change and growth,” Peterson said.
Likewise, red is and will remain a powerful color, but, said Eiseman, recently it leans more toward representing empowerment. “Red is all about giving yourself–enabling yourself with more power,” she said.
Those who are drawn to bright colors tend to be more emotion-based and “gut-feeling” with their decision making, added Stewart. “People are more likely to view you as friendly and approachable when using brighter colors. A fun-colored phone is an excellent conversation starter in passing with a client or colleague.
For Sampson, “Product red iPhone lovers tend to be impulsive yet adventurous and stay on top of things.”
Like Product Red, yellow also reflects confidence, charm, and intensity. Yet, yellow also displays warmth, sunshine, and a happy-go-lucky-personality, said Stewart.
Fans of the yellow iPhone 11 “are people who may approach their tech in a playful, active, or bold matter,” describes Peterson.
And what color iPhone 11 would a color expert pick? “Yellow,” said Eisenman. “I think we all could use some optimism, and yellow has that effect on me. It’s a ray of sunshine, warm, appealing and has fun attached to it.”