TCT Brainstorming Meeting

Secrets to Using Colors in Advertising and Design – Part 4

Marketing and the Use of Color

The use of color in marketing has been around for many years.  However; it’s improper use has caused many problems with products and the public.  It has also created problems overseas were colors sometimes have a significantly different meaning than in other parts of the world.  So deciding on the right color can help in a products success.  Over the years colors.  Over the years color has been associated with specific products such as cool and light colors that can be found on bathroom items; while the warmer and darker colors are used to promote sophistication in quality.

Color impressions are made within 90 seconds and accounts for at least 60% of the acceptance or rejection of a product.  The response also depends on several factors which includes age, sex, intelligence, geographic location and education of the fire.

TCT ColorWheel

American consumers preferred the colors in order of importance: blue (trust), red (excitement), green (nature), White (purity), pink (sweetness), purple (loyalty), Rh (1) and the yellow (happiness) with gold (expensive) and silver (prestigious).  Consumer shopping habits have been tracked through market research studies and indicates that impulsive shoppers respond to royal blue, red-Orange, black and white.

Product Colors

Product color branding is a surefire way of building a powerful visual preference in today’s market.  Product recognition through color has been proven with time test results.  For example; most consumers are aware that Brown is the color of UPS.  Choose a color that is symbolic of your product as did coke when he chose red — which is symbolic of food and appetite.  And choose a color that is opposite of your major competitor.  Pepsi made the mistake of choosing red and blue; so people did not pick up the Pepsi since they had become so used to seeing the red Coke can.  Pepsi finally decided to use blue.  Other examples of color branding are that Kodak chose yellow; so Fuji film went to green.  Total cereal creates an eye-catching design with a blue package with a red logo.  The packages are designed to draw attention to them by the use of color.  Of course; who could forget the big blue company of IBM?

Other popular corporate colors include hunter green and gray.  Of course; keep the design simple and use only two colors to help with the color branding process if you need more than two colors stay within the same palette… i.e. red and green with shades of red’s and greens.  Too many colors will confuse the consumer and not help in identifying your product.

Psychological Impact

Psychological impact should always be included in a new design regardless of any new color trends.  A product that remains color conscious; even today is the robins egg blue box of Tiffany.  Women knew what product that box held simply from its recognizable color.  Consider Tiffany changing the highly recognize color due to a new color trend — the little colored box that brought much excitement would no longer have the same effect.  A great choice of color branding is with FedEx.  Everyone knows that the orange and purple truck is FedEx even without seeing the name.

Of course; if your product suffers from a color Fed decision of the past he can still be re-positioned in the marketplace.  How?  Simply by changing the fact color to a color within the same range.  For instance; if the color is red; change it to a radish plum and that would eliminate the fad connotation and create a new color awareness on the part of the consumer.  You can revitalize your product with a new color or color combinations.

The economy also has an effect on consumers buying habits.  During an optimistic economy; consumers choose more products with vibrant colors, while during a pessimistic economy they go for the neutral colors.  This is not saying to change or color during economic conditions; but to keep the idea in mind when planning color choices.  Also, when selling products to the baby boomer generation considered that as adults get older, the lens of the eye yellows and alters color perception.  So, if you’re selling to an older generation; remember that high chroma colors are hard to read and cool colors need to be brightened.

Geographic Location

But most of all consider the geographic location where your product is being sold; especially if it is in another country.  A good example of poor planning came when Pepsi decided to sell its product in Asia and use the light blue for the color.  Unfortunately for Pepsi; light blue is a sign of bad luck so their sales fell flat.  So, in a reorganized and tried another color strategy — yellow.  Once again they fell flat since yellow is (in most overseas countries) symbolic of a God you probably wouldn’t expect a God to be selling products.  Finally after some serious cultural research they decided to use red which was a sign of good luck.  No need to explain the results.

Keep in mind that many countries still have ancient cultural color believes that are still followed today.  Do your research and find out which colors are taboo or sacred and which are safe to use as a marketing tool..  Here are a few cultural color points to keep in mind:

White is the color of death/morning in Chinese culture.
Purple represents death in Brazil
Yellow signify sadness in Greece
Yellow signify jealousy and France
Yellow is a sacred color in China
Green is a sacred color to Muslims
Light blue is a sign of bad luck in Asia
Red is a sign of good luck in Asia
Red represents death in many African countries
Red is a positive color in Denmark

Always check the geographic locations for your clients marketing to determine color choices.

A lot of  business fail due to poor design and color choices. Be sure to give your client the best possible colors to enhance and promote their product in the best light possible.


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The Creative Tablet Staff


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