Marketing is a critical component to the success of a business. As such, the venture is often time and money consuming. It’s important that that time and money doesn’t go to waste.
From word choice to layout, there’s a lot of factors to consider when planning and designing your marketing campaign. But perhaps the most critical to consider is the influence of colour. There are many studies that show how emotions and connotations are garnered from different colours. They can inspire trut or spark a sense of urgency. There are further studies that imply memory can be swayed by colour, from recalling a brand to remembering an offer.
Here, we outline the various ways colour can impact your marketing design.
Colourful marketing design
While the psychology of colour is an age-old debate, its impact on marketing and advertising is a rather recent matter. However, there have been many scientific studies into the connection between shades and sales that appear to show a strong correlation. According to a Canadian experiment, nearly 90% of snap decisions regarding consumer products are based solely on colour.
The use of colour can have a different reception depending on the viewer’s gender, so say some studies, so keep this in mind if you’re designing a piece with a primarily male or female audience. For example, a study published in the Journal of Retailing found that men believed savings were much greater in value if they was advertised in red rather than black, while the difference was much smaller among women. The imbalance of colour psychology between males and females was also apparent in the study, Colour Assignment. Although blue was popular across the board, this study found that purple was a second-favourite colour for women but the second-least favourite among men. Similarly, other studies on colour attractiveness found that softer hues are preferred by women, while bold shades were liked by men. Are you using the right hues for your main consumer?
Depending on the purpose of your design depends on the colour that should be used. For example, studies have shown that yellow is utilised to grab attention and should perhaps be the colour of choice in store windows, while red is most people’s key indicator of discount prices and ‘urgency’ and should be used on clearance sales posters for optimum effect. Also, both these shades are warm colours. According to an experiment, these are better at sticking in a viewer’s memory than cool colours (like blue and green). So, it might be good to use them on promotional ads to keep consumers thinking about your offer for longer, as well as your brand logo itself to ensure you come to mind when they next need a product or service you offer.
You also need to reflect on how contrasts and different hues can be used. Another study found that contrasting shades also improved readability — essential, for example, for vinyl banners for businesses to be seen by more people from a greater distance.
Research also notes the importance of culture and personal memories and experiences on the connotations of colour, but beyond this, there are more general vibes you can make use of with colour. It is worth your consideration when it comes to the few seconds you have to catch a consumer’s eye and attract them to your brand.
Let’s take a look at the importance of colour in the most important marketing icon: the logo. According to research compiled by Kissmetrics, 85% of shoppers surveyed say colour is a primary reason for buying something. Also, it was found that colour boosts brand recognition by around 80%.
When rebranding or starting up, it’s important to consider how colour will affect the reception of your logo. Here are the emotions associated with each colour and examples of the successful brands that use them:
|Yellow||Optimism and youth||Chupa Chups and McDonalds|
|Green||Growth and relaxation||Starbucks and Asda|
|Pink||Romance and femininity||Barbie and Very|
|Purple||Creative and wise||Cadbury and Hallmark|
|Black||Power and luxury||Chanel and Adidas|
|Orange||Confidence and happiness||Nickelodeon and Fanta|
|Red||Energy and excitement||Coca Cola and Virgin Holidays|
|Blue||Trust and security||Barclays and the NHS|
Here, we can see how certain brands are reflecting a colour’s message correctly for their service. For example, inciting trust for a bank is important, which may be why Barclays chose blue, while Starbucks wants you to relax at their coffee shops and Virgin Holidays wants you to get excited about booking a trip.
June Mcleod, author of Colour Psychology Today, comments: “One of the greatest assets and one of the easiest ways to sway decision or attract an emotive response — or alienate a consumer — is through colour. Purple with Cadbury; Shell with Yellow; National Trust with Green — they all work and work wonderfully well.”
It’s not that you can make a wrong choice when it comes to your logo colour, but you can potentially pick a less effective shade. Consider the statistic that 80% of clients think a colour is accountable for brand recognition. If you want your customers to gain a sense of loyalty and familiarity with your brand, the colour should reflect your brand’s products, services and character.
The best use of colour
No matter what you’re designing for, set some time aside to research the psychology behind any colours you pick. Take beer company, Carlsberg, for
example. The marketing team here worked to rebrand using colour with great success. Using white for its Carlberg Export packaging and changing its formerly green bottles to brown; the company achieved 10,000 new distribution points and a sales increase of 10% in the 12 weeks leading to summer in 2017.
Let’s explore how to channel these findings into your marketing designs:
- Capitalise on the advantages of red and yellow: use these on your large print ads to increase the chances of catching the eyes of passers-by.
- Contrast your colours: as we discovered, using opposite shades (e.g. red and green) can improve text clarity — essential considering you have just seven seconds to make a bold first impression and get your point across.
- Consider your demographic: there are clearly some difference in how men and women perceive colour. Who do you mainly sell to? If it’s men, perhaps take these gender studies on board and avoid purple…
- Work out your brand’s ‘personality’: studies clearly show an affiliation between colour and emotion. Determine what you want consumers to think about your brand and choose a colour that reflects this ethos — whether it’s opulent (black) or fun (orange).
Elevate your design work with the power of psychology and colour choice!