No doubt you will have noticed just how calming it can be if you are surrounded by a beautiful blue sky and how the sight of a red light invokes just a little bit of panic. In fact every color we see tends to evoke certain feelings and moods, the very reason why color is actually a far more important part of marketing than perhaps many people realise. In fact did you know that on average more than 85% of those who purchase a certain product – even something as simple as a box of cereal – will admit that the color(s) used in the packaging significantly influences their decision?
Colors and Their Influence
Just how does a certain color make many people feel? Here are some very common examples:
Red: Red is usually associated in the human mind with excitement, passion, strength and even a little bit of danger. The simple act of looking at something red has even been observed to cause an increase in both heart rate and blood pressure. Fast food restaurants, you may have noticed, often make use of red in their product packaging.
Blue: Is the color of trust, calm and stability, invoking a sense of peace but also of gravity and seriousness. It is also a color that younger people tend to associate with authority and maturity. This is why many of the most ‘serious’ corporate brands tend to make use of it a great deal.
Green: Green is most often associated with health, wellness and nature. It makes sense then that it is a color commonly used to promote ‘healthy’ or ‘natural’ products and some retail stores use it in their decor to promote a feeling of calm in their shoppers.
Purple: Many people associate purple with quality and luxury, often because it is also often associated with royalty and wealth. It is not an easy color to use in marketing, but many cosmetics companies use purple with great success for their ‘higher end’ products.
Yellow and Orange: These colors are energetic and often associated with happiness and energy. There is a flip side as well though as being surrounded by these shades can invoke a sense of both caution and urgency (the whole traffic light system is starting to make a lot more sense now isn’t it?)
White: White is naturally associated in the human mind with cleanliness and purity. It can also be used as a ‘spark’ to creativity and creative thought as in many ways it offers a ‘blank’ canvas and all kinds of possibilities.
Black – Black is another color to be used with care in marketing. In small doses it can easily convey power and authority but used too often it reverts back to being a color associated with sadness.
Choosing the Right Colors for Your Brand
The observations above can serve as a very basic guideline for those marketing products, services and even a corporate or company brand as a whole. And some companies make far better use of color than others.
Take McDonald’s for example. The company makes – and has for years – great use of red and yellow. That is because together the colors invoke feelings of urgency, energy and can stimulate the appetite, all the messages that the company wants to send about its food. Would the Big Mac be as popular if it came in a green box rather than a red and yellow one? The answer is almost certainly no.
The chart below demonstrates even more examples of the use of color in branding to help convey the ‘image’ that various brands want for their company and offerings.
Deciding where your company, product and services fit on this spectrum is therefore a very important part of branding design and a decision that should be given a great deal more thought than you might originally have imagined.