Colour…What’s Your Hue on it?
For centuries, Colour was considered to be a luxury for the royal and wealthy of society. Because of the labour intensive methods of extracting tints from the natural environment, colour was held in very high regard.
Fortunately those days are long gone, modern methods allow us to use colour to it’s fullest potential and in many areas previously not available. Colour is now affordable and we can truly use it to our advantage. Yet despite this, some companies are still unaware of how colour can influence their market. Colour can still be a mark of status – brand status that is. Applied to product design, colour can influence sales to such an extent that it can make or break the sales for that year. Applied to a brand, colour makes a strong statement about corporate strategy and philosophy.
Leading marketers follow colour trends and research colour options before launching a new product line. They hire colour consultants and participate in colour forecasting organisations like the international Colour Marketing Group. They also evaluate sales to determine which colours sell best and then trim or alter their product lines.
Does Colour Make a Difference?
Need more evidence that colour choice makes a difference? Consider these statistics from the Colour Marketing Group:
- Colour increases brand recognition by up to 80%.
- Colour improves readership as much as 40%.
- Colour ads are read up to 43% more than similar ads in black and white.
- Colour can account for up to 85% of the reason people decide to buy.
Humans can only process a limited number of stimuli at one time. In order for an object or communication to get noticed, it must catch our eye. Colour plays a critical role in drawing the eye and attracting our attention. For decades, researchers have tried to identify human preferences and associations with colour.
Results may vary, but there is no denying we have an inherent association with colour.
We often describe our emotions in colour; ‘Green with envy’ and ‘feeling blue’. We associate red with anger & passion, our police officers wear navy blue and our officials wear dark coloured suits. Interestingly red is still the colour of the ‘power-tie’. When choosing a corporate brand colour, many entrepreneurs choose with their gut, or follow the industry trend. Perhaps that is why so many brands are blue…
The best way to develop your brand, however, is to choose a colour that represents your philosophy and your audience. One way to do this is to evaluate your brand attributes and compare the results to recognised colour psychology associations.
Start with the list of possible brand attributes below and adapt as appropriate. Include an equal number of criteria that you believe define your brand and as well as criteria that don’t. Ask employees, stakeholders and interested friends to rate your company on a scale of 1 to 10 for each brand attribute. 1. Expensive 2. Traditional 3. Businesslike 4. Modern 5. Ground breaking 6. Caring 7. Technical 8. Natural 9. Lively 10. Fun 11. Sedate 12. Serious
Average the responses and determine which brand attributes rank the highest. Then review colour psychology literature to determine which colours best reflects your brand identity.
An excellent resource is Colour – Messages & Meanings: A PANTONE Color Resource by Letrice Eiseman.
Colour Creates Moods & Feelings…
A quick overview of common colour associations is found in the table below.
|Red||Proactive, passionate, romantic, sensual, powerful, dangerous|
|Yellow||Warm, ambitious, energetic, innovative|
|Green||Natural, fertile, conservative, wealthy|
|Blue||Dependable, loyal, clean, leader, technology, cold|
|Purple||Wealthy, prosperous, spiritual, creative|
|White||Pure, innocent, clean|
|Black||Authoritative, strong, powerful, aggressive, wise|
|Brown||Natural, stable, reliable, traditional|
Recognise that associations change drastically with the saturation and hue.
For example, light pink says romantic and nostalgic while a bright pink says energetic and playful. Dark green says conservative and wealthy while light yellowish-greens say natural and modern. Note, also, that colour associations can change with region and ethnicity on that later on).
Application of Colour
Another relevant consideration is the application of your brand colours.
Consider the different ways you might apply brand colour across a variety of mediums (e.g. uniforms, vehicles, décor, letterhead, and signage) as these decisions may influence your ultimate colour choice.
Colours make a product look new and catch consumer attention. When product development funds are tight, changing colours is an affordable way to boost sales. The consumer is more likely to notice the product and may perceive it as new and feel the need to purchase another one.
Colour can also be marketed as part of an exclusive palette to signify status. When Volkswagen offered premium priced limited edition Beetles in reflex yellow and vapour blue (available through online sales only) the car maker sold 2,500 vehicles in just over a month. Range Rover did the same thing, offering orange on of its most expensive models.
No matter what your market, one thing holds true—colour choices matter. Flip through a Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel catalogue, stroll the home goods aisles at Target, or key up the latest iPod® colours on your computer. These companies are leaders in leveraging colour marketing to stimulate consumer desire. They know that colour translates commodity products into objects of innovation.
Choose the right colour at the right time and your product sells.
We’ll say it again—colour choices matter. Look at your company logo.
Would it mean the same thing if the colour were pink or brown or orange? Colour adds a layer of meaning to your brand….
It’s one of the first brand elements customers will recognise and the last they’ll remember.
It’s a powerful tool.
What is it saying about your brand story?
Need some help with Colour….check out our Colour Choices for Embroidery & Vinyl Cut Print.