As kids, our earliest learning involves understanding various colours and shapes. Learning colours helps us understand the world around us. We use colours to differentiate objects, emotions, and the environment. We also use colours as a form of self expression. As we grow, our intuitive understanding of colour and its associated meaning deepens. Through adulthood, use of colour becomes a shortcut for our subconscious to attach meaning and value to stimuli around us.
Colour psychology is widely used in marketing and branding because of these intuitive associations. Colour has been linked to persuasion and conversion, where marketers often use the success of distinct campaigns to influence colour selection in brand design. However, in this great article and video from entrepreneur.com, Gregory Ciotti makes the point that it’s not the specific colour that determines successful conversion, but highly contrasted accent colours.
As a result of our experiential attachment to colour, it is the most subjective part of branding. During the conceptual stage of branding, we often hear clients say, “I don’t like that colour.” Our memories and emotions will often influence our personal preferences – especially when selecting a colour for a brand – but it is important that personal taste does not determine the best colour choice for your brand. There are a number of factors to consider to ensure you select a colour that creates a unique and authentically bold brand.
While it is important to select a colour that has synergy with your industry, it is more important to select a colour that differentiates you from the pack. If you were launching a new soft drink range, it would be unwise to choose the colour red, given our sub-conscious, immediate association with Coca Cola. This association will actually lead your customer away from your new and unknown product. However, choosing a unique, vibrant, playful, and energetic colour will create that vital link to our intrinsic understanding of the soft drink industry. It’s about offering the same answer to the consumer’s question, but presenting them with a new, exciting path to walk down.
If you are seeking to launch a product internationally, it is vital that you look into the cultural meanings of colour psychology in different countries. Sensitivity is key here, both for the success of your product and your reputation as a brand. For example, in Western culture yellow is widely received as a positive and optimistic colour. However, in certain shades we might associate yellow with emergency or hazard. In Egypt, yellow represents mourning, and in some European countries it can represent duplicity and jealousy. The key points are to know your market, how far you want your brand to reach, and to honour the nuances in shade and tone.
Today, colour consistency and management for your brand is more complex than ever with the various mediums we use to take our brand to market. Pantones are used for print material, CMYK for digital print, RGB for computer screens, TV screens and smart devices. As these are all governed by differing laws of colour source, it is crucial that your colour choice can and will translate successfully across all mediums. This will help to solidify ongoing brand recognition as you take your product to market.
Keen for more? Check out another great article from entrepreneur.com
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