Monday, September 13, 2010

Honing Your Message Through Color

Continuing our exploration of the impact of colors on the psychology and physiology of your customer, we are going to examine the secondary colors of orange and green plus brown, which is usually considered a tertiary color. 

With the primary colors of persuasion that we discussed in the last blog post, we found we could use them to energize or relax your customers, stimulate their minds or fire up their emotions. With the colors we’ll discuss today, you can appeal to their sensitive side; you can focus their desires; you can appeal to their desire for stability. 

Green is the color of giving and receiving. It is a color that is readily associated with nature, abundance, and healing. It appeals to one’s feminine side, one’s sensitive nature. It is a color that draws out the friendly, receptive attributes of your customer. Green is the color naturally associated with moving forward: green traffic lights, plant growth. 

If the success of your message depends on your ability through branding and marketing to 
tap into your customer’s desire to be responsible, whether environmentally, financially, or ethically, then green is a color that you may want to incorporate into your design. The impact of the various shades of green depends on whether it has a greater concentration of yellow, which is more stimulating or blue, which is calmer. 

Orange is the color of focused intentions. It is a color that brings people together and gets them talking. It is invigorating. Orange is considered a masculine color because it is often associated with achievement and intellectual activity. 

A secondary color derived from red and yellow, orange uses the creative attribute of red and the progressive attribute of yellow to open your customers up to new ways of doing things. 
If your business or your product is going where “no one has gone before,” orange is the perfect color to encourage the acceptance of change. 

Brown is the color of stability. It is associated with the earth, with wholeness, which are calming influences. It’s a comfortable color. It is often considered a neutral color because it does not evoke high energy reactions that compete with other emotions. It feels safe. When used in your branding materials, it gives the customer a sense of security about you and your products or services. 

Although you might consider brown to be too “drab” for your logo, consider UPS. Their brown trucks are recognizable the world over, and it’s certainly not because of the artwork on them. Rather, it’s because they used color in a simple and powerful way to connect with the primary need of their customers. Their customers need to feel secure about handing their valuables over to UPS to deliver. The color brown achieved its purpose for them. Using a shade of yellow with the brown in their logo served to stimulate their customers’ acceptance of new ideas regarding shipping and continues to do so today. 

If you learn to use it effectively, color can be your most powerful design tool. Whether you are developing ideas for company branding or products, you are actually selling an idea. Color is the way you clothe that idea so that it elicits the reaction you want from your customer. In the next post we’ll talk about the ways in which white, black and gray contribute to your design.