Color theory is the art and science of colors, our understanding of how colors mix, how people perceive colors, and the message the colors communicate. It provides us with a common ground for understanding how colors can be used, arranged, coordinated, blended, and related to one another. Color theory is about why some colors work together aesthetically, while others do not.
Are you aware that colors can impact your feelings and actions? Color ads attract 42 percent more attention than those in black and white. Prospects hold on to colored business cards 10 times longer than standard white cards.
Branding and color have a particularly symbiotic relationship when it comes to marketing and communications. Research shows that colors, branding, and tying them together create an opportunity for consumers to recognize your business or brand quickly.
Color theory is built upon three basic components: the color wheel, color harmonies, and color context.
The color wheel is based on the 12 colors found in the visible spectrum. It is the most basic tool for combining or mixing colors.
Color harmony is the process of matching colors to create a color scheme. Using the color wheel provides a basic set of rules to help determine which colors – or clash.
Colors and Branding
When you’re strolling down the soft drink aisle scanning the shelves filled with 82 million cans and bottles and trying to find your six-pack of Coke, what do you look for? The scripted logo or that familiar red can? People decide whether or not they like a product in 90 seconds or less. 90% of that decision is based solely on color. So, a very important part of your branding must focus on color.
While different colors yield different interpretations based on the person, many colors get similar responses from a majority of people. Drive past any string of fast-food restaurants in America and you’ll see plenty of red and yellow – colors that typically induce appetite. Blue is often used to depict trust, expertise, and strength (i.e. American Express, many hospitals, medical practices, and law firms). Green, the color of nature, symbolizes harmony, freshness, health (i.e. Whole Foods). Orange indicates efficiency and speed.
Color relates to persuasion because it evokes an emotional response. Persuasion is a marketer’s friend. In fact, 90% of snap judgments made about products, brands, or businesses can be based on color alone, according to research conducted by the University of Winnipeg.
Using Color in your Marketing
With the above information in mind, how can you use color to influence your potential customers? Whenever you are not in front of the customer personally to negotiate the sale, you can use color to be persuasive.
Take your target audience into consideration to decide which colors to use. For example, men may prefer bold, bright colors while women prefer softer tones and pastels. Men also tend to shy away from purple, for example, so ads targeting men should not use that color.
Major color contrasts can draw the eye to a specific element on a page or ad, like your pitch or call to action. Deviating from the ad’s color scheme can create a focal point that draws eyeballs like a magnet.
The colors you choose to represent and market your brand are your first impressions on customers. Understanding how those customers perceive your brand goes a long way toward converting potential customers and growing your business.