Colors and Feelings
Do you have a favorite color? Most people do. Surprisingly, studies show that the majority of people have the same favorite color. Blue. If your favorite color is not blue, you are part of a small majority who responds more positively to other colors. Many of us have a favorite shirt or pair of pajamas that we feel better in. It’s not just the garment, but the color of the garment that makes us feel relaxed, happy or content. Color and mood are linked.
Architects and designers have been using the psychology of color for decades. There have been a great deal of research studies conducted by paint companies, interior design firms, and psychologists to determine the connection between colors and feelings.
Colors and Advertising
The advertising executives on Madison Avenue who were charged with coming up with attention-grabbing ad campaigns used the psychology of color to create some of the most iconic images ever invented. Many of these survive today. The mental connection between the brand and the color is unmistakable. Let’s use Coca-Cola for example. The color red will automatically come to mind.
The Color Effect
We stop at red lights and stop signs. Red is one of the colors that we are well-programmed to pay attention to. Red is used to grab our notice and convey a strong message. Many food establishments use red in their decor and in their logo. This color has come to be associated with eating, drinking and the food and beverage industry in general. Some of the most iconic logos in the food industry use red as the main color of their logo.
Yellow is the color of flowers, sunshine and other pleasant associations. It radiates joy, optimism and healing and is often used in hospitals and other medical buildings. It is also associated with food. Many advertisers that use red will also use yellow as a second color in an ad or logo. Yellow is also associated with the intellect. Think of the phone book yellow pages.
Blue is considered calm, soothing, sedate. The color of the serene ocean, and the color of the sky. Blue is used a lot in schools and places of business. Blue is associated with loyalty, honesty and responsibility. Many medical and health related companies use the color blue. Think Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Banks and financial institutions also use the color blue. Bank of America, Citibank and nearly all social media brands use blue in their branding.
Primary vs. Secondary Colors
All color has its own meaning and interpretation. Primary colors are used for their bold ability to grab the consumer’s attention and make a lasting impression. Secondary colors have their own associations such as purple for royalty, or green for the Earth.
Depending upon the message you wish to convey to the consumer, a combination of primary and secondary colors tends to be the norm. T-Mobile broke that mold when they went for a pink logo/brand. It worked very well for them.
What Color Can Do For You
Color increases brand recognition up to 80%. 92.5% of people state that the visual impact is the first thing they notice when considering a product. Only 5% said that the physical feel of the object was as important.
Using color to convey your product and your message gives you a significant edge over your competition. Think about your company, your message, what you are trying to accomplish with your product. What colors come to mind? Is your product something bold like coffee? You want energetic, forceful primary colors to advertise your company.
What if you make body care products like massage oil, creams and lotions? The colors you want to use convey a calm and relaxing message to the customer but are strong enough to “brand’ your product with a memorable association.
Using Color in Your Packaging
How does all of this translate to packing your product for the store shelves? The next time you are in the grocery store, walk to the end of an inner aisle such as the laundry soap section. Quickly scan the shelves and take note of what jumps out at you. Is it the red, the yellow, blue and orange? All of the above?
Choose your packaging to set off your logo/brand to its best advantage. Try your logo against warm or cool colors to get the best contrast. Don’t forget about the impact that simple black on white can have. It doesn’t have to be flashy or showy to get your customer’s attention. Proper use of color labeling and choosing the color packaging can make that connection between your brand and the customer’s memory. Create that long-lasting association for your product by employing the psychology of color in your branding and packaging.