The Power of Color



One of the most powerful psychological elements of marketing design is the use of color.

The right use of color can increase brand awareness, make your message more memorable, increase reaction and bring attention to specific areas of your marketing material.

We relate to certain colors by our natural association with them.

Blue - sky, yellow - sun,  green - nature, and so on.  But beyond the obvious, this non-verbal language of color can also illicit feelings. Blue – calming, yellow – cheerful, green – tranquility.  These associations can be used to great effect in design to create a predetermined psychological response to your message.  There is no doubt that color can make your marketing more effective. It tends to cut through the clutter and enhance the visibility of your message. Research done by Pantonetm and the Pantone Institute notes that people are 78% more likely to remember words and phrases presented to them in color. People are 55% more likely to pick up a piece of full-color mail, and Loyola University School of Business reported in Hewlett Packard’s Advisor in June of 1999, that color in advertising outsells black-and-white advertising by 88%! There are obvious uses of color such as green for an arborist, blue for a boat company or red for a blood drive. But the more you understand color the better you can focus on the right combination for your target audience.

Here’s a list a basic colors and their associated emotional response.

  • Black can signify death or evil, but it is also a power color and can be sophisticated.
  • White is the color of purity, but can also imply coldness or sterility. Like black, white can be a classy color.pantone
  • Red suggests excitement and strong emotions. It’s a color easily recognized by the eye, so it’s good for getting attention.
  • Blue is the most popular color, especially among men. It’s calm, soothing, and businesslike.
  • Green is the nature color, providing a feeling of tranquility and calm. It can also signify wealth and stability. Today, it is associated with recycling and environmentalism.
  • Yellow is warm and cheerful. It’s the most attention-getting color, but can be fatiguing for the eye. Black type on a yellow background provides maximum contrast for short, high-impact messages.
  • Purple signifies wealth and royalty. It also carries an exotic feeling, however purple can be a weak color for design.
  • Brown is the color of nature, with a feeling of strength and warmth. It can be down-to-earth or sophisticated. It can also be boring or even evoke a 70’s feel.
  • Orange is the combination of red and yellow, so it’s energetic, warm, and enthusiastic. It is often used to draw attention.
  • Pink is typically associated with romance and love. It’s a calming color for most people. Just as blue is the “male” color. Pink tends to be the “female” color.

A few points to remember

When it comes to designing marketing items, don’t get carried away. Copy is more important than color, and the whole point of design is to make sure people READ the copy, Right?

A good designer can help you punch your message through with the undeniable “Power of Color.”

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