If you’re interested in branding or graphic design, have a small business or are thinking to start one, or if you’re just interested in how color effects you and how to use it in your home, this post is for you!
I think one of the most important, and often overlooked, aspects of design is color. Colors are connected with different feelings, meanings and moods; and when it comes to branding and effective marketing for your small business (or the business of your clients) picking the right colors can make a pretty big impact and help you speak volumes to your potential customers.
Knowing and applying these little marketing tactics to your own brand or the work you do for clients will make you stand out from the crowd. It will help you grow your business, and your clients will spread the word that you’re a brilliant designer and a marketing genius who really gets their brand – but what you really understand, is what colors mean and how to use them effectively.
Red is an emotionally intense color and has high visibility. It’s known to raise blood pressure as well as stimulate appetite so you’ll find it used often in the food industry. It’s commonly used as an attention grabber, (red tag clearance items and buy now buttons) and it’s a seen as a strong color – for example, The Staples Easy button is red – hitting that big red button gives you a sense of accomplishment or power over the task at hand.
Associated adjectives: powerful, strong, wrap, dangerous, brave, angry
Orange is still a powerful color but it’s not as intense as red. You’ll see it used as an attention grabber as well on road signs and in construction zones. It also provides a feel of health, sunshine, and fun so you’ll see it used for companies that deal in the outdoors, and with food.
Associated adjectives: fun, joyful, silly, successful, active, energetic, healthy, sunshine
Yellow is a close companion to orange. Taxi cabs and school buses are traditionally yellow because it makes them easy to spot and yellow is used for a sign of caution – yellow lights, caution signs, and yellow curbing. Men usually see yellow as a childish color so you won’t often find it used on luxury goods or in men’s clothing lines, but the color still portrays a bright and fresh atmosphere and pairs well with companies that pair their brands with children, attention grabbing, and fresh and youthful.
Associated words: sunny, cheerful, happy, hopeful, fresh, anxious, cowardly
Green is widely known as the color of nature and is has a strong emotional tie to safety, stability, and balance. It’s widely used in industries where the outdoors and/or natural products are the focal point. Darker shades are often related to wealth and luxury (the color of US currency and luxury cars) while lighter shades correlate to healing and calming atmospheres.
Associated Words: natural, healing, young, new, restful, jealous, sick
Blue is often associated with products that promote cleanliness as well as air, sky, and water (think airlines, cruise ships, and bottled water). The color is seen as trustworthy and dependable so it’s popular amongst appliance manufacturers and financial institutions. Men usually prefer this color so you’ll see it used with automobiles and clothing lines that project a confidence and clean lines, like Gap. It’s said to suppress appetite so you won’t often find it used in food packaging or the restaurant industry.
Associated words: confident, reliable, calm, peaceful, cold, sad
The color purple has been associated with wealth, royalty, and luxury for generations. It’s said to stir up memories and feeling of nostalgia (think watching tv on the weekends with family or a Hallmark card or movie) and is a fairly rare color to find in nature – making it exclusive by nature and somewhat mysterious. You’ll find it most often used to promote the idea of luxury or high-end goods, services, or foods.
Associated words: rich, royal, wise, luxurious, proud, famous, mysterious, magical, vain