We will update this blog post with guest blog posts on mind + body + spirit + business topics to help you align your work and life.
When picking color for your brand, choose wisely grasshopper…
July 30, 2017
©Renea Gallagher, 2017
Renea is the founder of Renea Lynzee Design and has over 20 years design/advertising industry experience. She has won several prestigious design awards including the National Sappi Design Award and the BMA Tower Award. Her work also has been published in “The Big Book of Logos”.
Renea has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Ray Vogue School of Design (now Illinois Institute of Art), with continuing education in Persuasive Communication from the University of Chicago.
Working as an art director for several years I found color to be an amazingly subjective issue. I wish I had a dollar for every time a client told me they had a personal distaste for a certain color. Even though there was statistical proof that a specific color would be a strong stand out option within their competing market they refused to use it.
Neuroscientist Bevil Conway once said, “Knowing that humans might…be hardwired for certain hues could be a gateway into understanding the neural properties of emotion.”
My working laymen’s theory is it all goes back to everyone’s first box of wondrous crayons, the amazing wax smell, the pristine tips and yes, the FAVORITE colors. If you were lucky you didn’t just get the basic green, red or yellow ones, you had the whimsical named ones like, cornflower blue, neon carrot or minty pine-cone.
Or maybe it is connected with something traumatic that happened in their life. A girlfriend broke up with them in a yellow sweater and they tie yellow into sadness, even though it’s proven to be a “happy” color. Oh, the reasons could be endless.
No matter what the reasoning is for why people like or don’t like certain colors, there are real facts on how color plays a big factor in your brand’s first impression.
According to WebPageFX’s research, people make subconscious judgment about a product in less than 90 seconds, and most of these people base their opinion on color. 85% of consumers admit color as the primary reason they buy a particular product and 80% believe color grows brand recognition.
And, if that those statistics don’t sell you on the importance of color, Colorcom did some interesting research on two brands to prove how color influences a brand.
Consider the phenomenal success Heinz EZ Squirt Blastin’ Green ketchup has had in the marketplace. More than 10 million bottles were sold in the first seven months following its introduction, with Heinz factories working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep up with demand. The result: $23 million in sales attributable to Heinz green ketchup. All because of a simple color change.
And the epitome of great design and branding, Apple Computer. Apple brought color into a marketplace where color had not been seen before. By introducing the colorful iMacs, Apple was the first to say, “It doesn’t have to be beige”. The iMacs reinvigorated a brand that had suffered $1.8 billion of losses in two years.
Color is definitely a powerful marketing factor that can make or break a brand. Here’s a cheat sheet to some proven psychological facts on color theory in the North American market to put in your back pocket:
Red communicates passion, love and emotion.
Blue communicates trust, conservative and comfort.
Yellow communicates joy, energy and sunshine.
Green communicates nature, peace and calm.
Purple communicates luxury, glamor and power.
Orange communicates creative, tropics and sunshine.
Black communicates serious, formal, and mystery.
Pink communicates sweet, nurtured, and feminine traits.
Brown communicates support, dependability and mother earth.
After reading the list you probably think this is such common sense information. But when it comes to deciding on colors for your brand, emotion and competitors can muddy up the waters.
If your color choice makes psychological sense, but all your competitors are using the same or similar color, all bets are off.
Choose another color that stands out but isn’t a total disconnect. For example, let’s say you’re in the financial business, a lot of your competitors are using blue, a strong stand out option might be green.
A not so strong option would be pink, yes you’d definitely be noticed with pink but it would communicate too cutesy and not serious enough.
If you’re lucky enough to be partnering with a designer, use their guidance. Anyone can pick a color out, but only the educated and experienced designer can help you make solid color choices. They know how the color will translate in print and online materials.
And the biggest piece of advice I can give is not to feel personally connected with your color choice.
It’s like playing Russian roulette with your brand. Be a logical professional and look at the psychological facts and what your competitors are doing and for the love of God keep your “Jazz Berry Jam” crayon for your adult coloring book.