The web. Social media. Televsion. Print. Outdoor. Brochures. Papers. We are increasingly bombarded with information, entertainment, and noise—all in a rich mix of words, color, and imagery.
One of the most important components of design that can help entities get noticed, blend in, convey the right message, OR get lost in translation, is color.
Understanding how color works and translates can help you reach the right audience in the right tone and help build brand afinity. Out of the millions of products and services vying for the attention of a single user, color applied right to a product or an entity can be a highly influential tool for marketing success.
1. Color helps boost brand perception
Brand recognition can lead companies to succeed just as fast as the lack of brand recognition can lead to failure. An audience has a tendency to gain a sense of attachment to a particular brand based on visual and color perception alone.
According to a study conducted by Loyola University Maryland, color increases brand recognition by over 80%. Selecting a specific color or a color scheme for your brand can contribute to a positive or negative reception from your audience.
Colors can make your brand seem intriguing, exciting, appealing, and an agent of goodness, just as it can make your brand seem pretentious, lackluster, greedy—or in some cases, even evil.
2. Color attracts attention
Simply put, color demands attention. Recent studies show that black-and-white images sustain interest for less than two-thirds of a second, and colored images hold attention for two seconds or more.
If you’re not using color as a part of your strategy to stay in the minds of potential clients or consumers, you are missing out.
Successful companies are capitalizing on the opportunity that color presents. One of the best examples of this is Apple’s use of color for the iMacs. Apple brought color into a marketplace where color had not been seen before, famously coining the phrase, “It doesn’t have to be beige.” The colorful iMacs reinvigorated a brand that had suffered over $1.8 billion of losses in two years prior to the product’s launch.
Don’t get me wrong… Not all attention brands get from color will be positive. The wrong choice of color can be a catastrophic failure for a brand.
Take, for instance, Pepsi’s blue crystal drink. Crystal Pepsi was discontinued after merely a year of being launched because of the negative reception of it that lead to poor sales.
In some cases, what is good for the purpose of catching attention doesn’t directly translate to product or brand success.
An example of that is Heinz green ketchups. Though the chartreuse-colored ketchup garnered hyped and captured people’s attention, sales of the product plummeted after the first few months of its unveiling.
3. Color can help emphasize or conceal information
Perhaps the most obvious example of how color can emphasize and de-emphasize information is the manipulation of color in fine prints. You know–that tiny legal disclosure type at the bottom of your credit card statement. It’s not enough that fine prints are tiny; they are also typically colored in grayscale to avoid catching the eye of readers. You wouldn’t see fine prints colored in vibrant hues unless they are perfectly camouflaged within the text.
Consequently, color can affect your conversion rate. Highlighting fields and information with a striking color can make a difference, just as much as coloring unwanted information as subtly as possible.
4. Color helps you appeal to the right audience
Research shows that different colors appeal to different demographics. The color spectrum that catches the eye of women is not the same spectrum that appeals to men. Similarly, children and adults react differently to specific colors.
Designers must have a comprehensive understanding of the properties of color, what they represent and to whom. Using color schemes that appeal to the type of audience you are looking to target is an important part of effective design.
5. Color helps the audience digest information better
Color leaves a lasting impact on memory and perception. A study exploring the power of color found that the use of color can improve readership by 40%, learning from 55-78%, and comprehension by 73%. Color makes up more than half of the information your audience takes in.
Colors are attached to universal color perception.
For example, the color blue evokes a sense of trust, dependability and strength. Yellow projects a sense of clarity, warmth, and optimism. Orange is friendly, cheerful and confident. Green projects growth, health, and peace. Red is youthful, bold, and exciting.
Choosing the right color schemes for your design is an important part of crafting a strong and effective brand image. At StimulusBrand, we use these perceptions as a foundation when planning Visual Branding Guidelines for our clients. We carefully assign a color scheme that is individual and appropriate to each client branding assignment. These colors then display consistently through all marketing and designed materials for that clients brand.