27 Jun Four Ways Colour Creates Meaning For Your Brand
4 WAYS COLOR CREATES MEANING FOR YOUR BRAND
I recently read this interesting article about color and branding in Brand Packaging magazine, submitted by Plastics Color Corporation titled “Power and Authority: The Great Influence of Color” and it had me reflecting on how the consumer perceives color and how branding should be aligned accordingly.
Every individual has an opinion about colors — what they love, what they hate, what they think is appropriate. But color goes beyond that and it is vital information when strategizing on which colors to choose for your branding applied to your logo, package design, and every promotional piece.
It’s fascinating to consider how and why color affects human beings so deeply. Even if you are not an artist, graphic designer, fashion designer — someone who considers color professionally — color is a visceral response to each and every person with sight.
It is Canada Day this weekend and we celebrate our 150th birthday. Who chose red and white as our national colours and why? Keep this in mind as you read on. I may give you the answer at the end!
1. COLOR CREATES MEANING THROUGH OUR OPTICAL RESOURCE
The Eyes Have It
Back to Plastics Color Corporation’s article, they review some of the reasons color impacts branding and how consumers view a color. And by “view”, we literally mean physically processing color with our eyes. Did you know that,
“Researcher Israel Abramov discovered that male hormones affect the visual area of the brain during fetal development. As a result, men need a slightly longer wavelength of a color to “see” the same shade that women do”?
“Abramov also determined that men struggled to tell the difference between hues.” (So perhaps it is not worth overthinking your color selection process when your target market is men.)
And here is yet another twist: when seniors are your target market, consider the fact that our risk of cataracts goes up as we age, affecting a person’s ability to see colors in the same way we once did. When promoting sales to the elderly, brand in bright bold colors.
2. COLOR CREATES EMOTIONAL RESONANCE
Tap Into a Rainbow of Emotions
When researching for colors, you can be reactive and utilize what a particular color has previously generated, but we are living a world impatient for the next exciting thing. Many brands on the market compete by being proactive, in that they anticipate the next color trend. You may even go to great lengths by hiring a color and trend forecasting authority. Let’s take the color pink, for instance…
Plastics Color’s article states “Going with cultural norms, you would automatically choose blue for boys and pink for girls. Unfortunately, the tradition of gender identification is misleading. A 2003 University of Washington research project conducted by Joe Hallock revealed that blue was the overwhelming favorite color for every demographic surveyed.”
Regarding the color pink, Colour Hive — a color and trend forecasting authority — goes beyond any gender category at all and insists that “successfully abandoning previous gender associations, pink has reinvented itself as a neutral and is becoming increasingly ubiquitous.” specifically referring to a pale shade of pink, they assert that “this particular pink, a pale, chalky neutral with a warm tint…looks set to enjoy prominence this year.“
Then we get into the nitty-gritty of tints and hues to analyze so once you have finally settled on a color there are a myriad of shades from which to select! Architects and designers don’t pull these out of the sky; they rely on specifier kits and color posters. Which begs the question of who is the authority on color accuracy? Creating perfectly matched color charts, color cards, fandecks and so on is no small feat but companies like Duha Group rock the market.
3. COLOR CREATES MEANING THROUGH CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING
THE CULTURE CLUB OF COLOR
North American culture traditionally associates white with weddings and black with funerals. But of course every culture designates color symbology in their own unique traditions. In China white is the color of mourning, red represents celebration. In Indian culture, red is tied to a host of meanings, among them fear, wealth, and beauty. South African culture associates red with mourning, violence, sacrifice. Thailand links a color to each day of the week and red is the color for Sundays. (See Huffington Post link below.)
Do you need your brand to communicate to a particular culture? If so, ensure you do your research on color significance and ensure you hit the target on the kinds of feelings and responses you want to elicit from your consumers.
4. COLOR CREATES MEANING PHYSCHOLOGICALLY
CUZ YOU’VE GOT… PERSONALITY
But then we have Gregory Ciotti’s view on “The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding”.
“When it comes to picking the ‘right’ color,” he argues, “research has found that predicting consumer reaction to color appropriateness is far more important than the individual color itself.”
In other words, as long as the consumer buys into the fact that the color you choose for your brand is appropriate, right?
“Nearly every academic study on colors and branding will tell you that it’s far more important for colors to support the personality you want to portray instead of trying to align with stereotypical color associations.”
DOES YOUR COLOR STORY CONVEY YOUR INTENDED MEANING?
So what I am saying is that based on these insights, choosing one or more colors for your brand combines physical perception as well as visceral, cultural and psychological. At the end of the day all that matters is that the group of consumers you want to appeal to “gets” it. That it grabs their attention in a way they deem worthy of their time and money.
The best selling brands do not choose their colors arbitrarily. Scientific research and marketing experience is key to homing in on what speaks to your market. To whom are you selling? What appeals to them? What makes them feel a color belongs to a brand and most suitability?
Wow. Those were only four reasons color impacts branding. You can tell by the number of reference links I have provided on this blog that you could research this topic for months and years! Consulting an agency with marketing expertise does make more sense, however. Go to a pro with industry experience on how to reach your audience. I can recommend a great one with a “non-repro blue” logo!
Oh, Canada – why is your flag red and white?
Earlier, I teased you with the question about the Canadian flag colours. For me the flag colors stir a proud, positive emotional response. Red is a strong colour, especially positioned beside white as a starkcontrast. But why were red and white chosen over blue or green or black? Talk about your branding story! Read on.
“Red and white became Canada’s official colours as a result of the proclamation of the Canada Coat of Arms by King George V in 1921. However, the history of the official colours dates back to the First Crusade in the 11th century.” Back int those days, colors were limited to “tinctures” constituting a small palette of colors and patterns used in heraldry.
And so it came to be that the available choices of tincture came to represent specific attributes. In the case of white and red:
White represents peace and honesty. Red represents hardiness, bravery, strength and valor.
HAPPY CANADA DAY!
Flag image courtesy www.flaglane.com
By Eira Braun-Labossiere
Plastics Color Corporation article titled “Power and Authority: The Great Influence of Color”: http://www.brandpackaging.com/articles/85903-power-and-authority-the-great-influence-of-color
Wiley Online Library: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-459X.2011.00360.x/abstract
Help Scout’s “The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding” by Gregory Ciotti: https://www.helpscout.net/blog/psychology-of-color/
Government of Canada, Official Symbols of Canada: http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1444070816842#a9