05 Jun ROY G. BIV – What Do Your Colors Say About Your Brand?
Color is something that nearly every person interacts with, at some level, every day. From nature to traffic signs to advertising, color is everywhere, so much so that it is easy to take the use of color in your company’s logos and designs for granted and simply pick a color because you “like” it. But what color you choose sends an implicit message to your audience, this message can’t be engineered, or even intentional, it just is.
Ever heard of Baker-Miller Pink? It’s also known as “Drunk Tank Pink” and is used in the holding cells of jails across the country to calm agitated, drunken prisoners. Research suggests that it is physically impossible for the heart rate to rise above a certain level (i.e., the level required for physical agitation) if an individual is surrounded by a certain shade of pink. For a more refined example, think of as many luxury car brands as you can. Now think of their advertising and collateral pieces. What’s the predominant color? In most cases, it’s black, silver, or both. Black and silver, especially when combined, convey a message of status and luxury, as well as dependability and quality. Some of these color associations are learned (blue for a baby boy, pink for a baby girl) and some seem to be hardwired into our psyche (Red is the color for urgency and is capable of increasing a person’s heart rate just by viewing it). Sight is the human being’s most highly developed sense, and as such about 90% of a potential customer’s assessment of a product is based on sight and color.
So…what do your brand’s colors have to say about you?
Reds Red conveys urgency, importance and passion. It has the power to increase heart rate and grab the viewer’s attention. It is also an appetite stimulant and is popular in the decoration and logos of fast food restaurants. Red is the most emotionally intense color and is the color to use to make sure your brand is noticed and remembered.
Yellows While it is normally associated with the sun, and considered a cheery color, yellow may not always live up to its reputation. Studies have found that people lose their temper more often in yellow rooms and that babies cry more frequently in yellow rooms. Yellow also commands focus (the reason legal pads are traditionally yellow) and engages the brain.
Oranges Oranges combine the focus and engagement that comes from the color yellow with the stimulation and excitement associated with the color red. Orange also denotes heat and tropical climates and is often considered a happy color. Younger audiences react well to orange.
Greens Green’s most obvious association is nature. Trees, grass, and flowers all have some shade of green associated with them. But it is also associated with wealth in certain societies where their money is printed using green ink. Physiologically, green can be a calming, welcoming color and is used in retail stores to calm and relax the customer.
Blues Blue is also a calming color and is known for producing the opposite reaction to the emotions associated with red. Including its association with food, blue is one of the least appetizing colors, as in nature it rarely occurs in food sources that aren’t spoiled or poisonous. The color of the sky and the ocean, blue is the most omnipresent color in nature as well as in design; it conveys professionalism, stability and reliability to potential customers.
Pinks As mentioned before, pinks have a physical calming effect, almost to the point of tranquilization. Apart from the “drunk tank” pink, there are also suggestions of sports teams painting the locker rooms of opposing teams a shade of pink to tranquilize them before the game. Pink is also known as the most romantic of the colors and tends to portray femininity.
Purples Traditionally, purple is the color of royalty and tends to imply wealth and prosperity. It can also imply femininity (similar to pink). Because of its rarity in nature, it should be used with caution as it can send a message of artificiality.
Black Black has perhaps the most contrasting interpretations of all of the colors. In clothing it can be seen as fashionable and timeless, or overwhelming and foreboding. It can be a symbol of assertion, or submission (the reason priests wear black is to symbolize submission to God). It can also denote luxury, steadfastness or quality.