You’ve got a great name, a top-notch product and a well-laid-out marketing plan. You may think your startup is ready to go, but before you present yourself to the world, there’s one important element of your brand presence that you can’t afford to overlook: your color scheme.
On the surface, color may seem like a minute detail that’s discussed only in the logo- and website-design phase. But your brand’s color palette is often the first thing consumers will notice about your brand, and it can heavily influence the impression they form of your company.
“The science behind color processing is extremely powerful because it affects people’s emotions on a subconscious level,” said Steve Baker, CEO of Brandfolder, a digital asset management company. “Studies show that humans may react specific ways to certain shades — a fact that marketers and designers should leverage. When used correctly, color can influence a consumer’s perception of your brand, and can persuade someone to purchase your product.”
Pamela Webber, CMO of 99designs, agreed, noting that customers’ responses to colors are influenced by three major factors: aesthetics, learned associations and programmed associations.
Aesthetics: Some color combinations harmonize well, while others clash and turn the customer off, Webber said. On the other hand, consumers will tune out bland, too-similar color palettes.
Learned associations: Deeply ingrained cultural associations, such as brides wearing white as a symbol of purity or funeral-goers wearing black to embody a somber occasion, can also affect how a person perceives color.
Programmed associations: Researchers suspect that at least some color associations are the result of evolution, Webber said. For instance, few people choose brown as a favorite color, and that’s because of the hue’s association with rotting produce, while red is a universal sign of heightened, passionate emotions. [See Related Story: Designing a Logo That Brands Your Business]
Colors and consumers: What people think of your palette
So what kinds of connotations do your branded materials have? Webber shared the results of research by 99designs, which showed the following associations people make with certain colors:
- Red – passion, vigor, speed, anger
- Orange – invigoration, energy, fun, liveliness
- Yellow – friendly, youthful, cheerful, happiness
- Green – nature, refreshment, growth, balance
- Blue – knowledge, tranquility, security, trust
- Purple – royalty, wisdom, spirituality, authority
- Pink– nurturing, warmth, friendliness, softness
- Brown – seriousness, reliability, earthiness, toughness
- White – purity, cleanliness, virtue, peace
- Black – formality, luxury, secrecy, glamour
- Gray – impartiality, compromise, maturity, composure
According to the company’s analysis of more than 500 industry leaders’ logos, blue (55 percent) appeared most frequently, followed by white (46 percent), black (42 percent) and red (34 percent). The specific combinations of colors, however, will largely depend on the industry and the message that businesses hope to convey — or avoid conveying.
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