Color influences different emotions in people, and it is important to take that into consideration when choosing a color to represent your product or service. As marketers, we don’t close our eyes and randomly select from a color swatch–there is actually a method to our madness as we understand that colors stimulate different responses from individuals. We recognize the significance of color association and employ both psychology and research to determine the best color choices to use when branding a business or product line.
Kendra Cherry, author of “Everything Psychology” said, “While perceptions of color are somewhat subjective, there are some color effects that have universal meaning. Colors in the red area of the color spectrum are known as warm colors and include red, orange and yellow. These warm colors evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility. Colors on the blue side of the spectrum are known as cool colors and include blue, purple and green. These colors are often described as calm, but can also call to mind feelings of sadness or indifference.”
Color Influence in Business Applications
Jay Conrad Livingston, a business marketing expert, said “Lasting impressions are made within 90 seconds and color accounts for 60 percent of the acceptance or rejection. So don’t select the colors you love. Instead consider their meaning to prospects.” Gender also plays a bit of a role in color preference as research has indicated that men prefer bold colors where women favor softer tones. But, most importantly, personal experiences shape much of an individual’s response to color so it is difficult to pigeonhole a specific meaning or feeling to a particular color.
According to Livingston, the following is a list of what colors mean to people in their emotions and in a business context:
- Red evokes aggressiveness, passion, strength, vitality. In business, it is great for accents and boldness, stimulates appetites, and is associated with debt.
- Pink evokes femininity, innocence, softness, health. In business, be sure you’re aware of its feminine implications and associations.
- Orange evokes fun, cheeriness, warm exuberance. In business, it’s great to highlight information in graphs and on charts since it evokes positive feelings, sunshine and cowardice. In business, it appeals to intellectuals and is excellent for accenting things. Too much is unnerving.
- Green evokes tranquility, health, freshness. In business, its deep tones convey status and wealth; its pale tones are soothing.
- Blue evokes authority, dignity, security, faithfulness. In business, it implies fiscal responsibility and security. Plus it is universally popular.
- Purple evokes sophistication, spirituality, costliness, royalty and mystery. In business, it’s right for upscale and artistic audiences.
- Brown evokes utility, earthiness, woodiness and subtle richness. In business, it signifies less important items in documents.
- White evokes purity, truthfulness, being contemporary and refined. In business, it enlivens dark colors and can be refreshing or sterile.
- Gray evokes somberness, authority, practicality and a corporate mentality. In business, it is always right for conservative audiences.
- Black evokes seriousness, distinctiveness, boldness and being classic. In business, it creates drama and is often a fine background color.
All of that said, perceptions of color are subjective and it is recommended that companies conduct A/B testing or a consumer research study when selecting colors for significant things such as a corporate logo or a color to represent a product or service line. Cherry states, “Experts have found that while color can have an influence on how we feel and act, these effects are subject to personal, cultural, and situational factors.” That statement affirms the need to assess and examine reactions from consumers of your product. So, put down that color wheel and do some research before you choose a color to represent your business.
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