(Updated: February 06, 2019)
“People make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products. About 62‐90 percent of the assessment is based on colours alone,” quotes a study published in Management Decision reports. “So, prudent use of colours can contribute not only to differentiating products from competitors, but also to influencing moods and feelings – positively or negatively – and therefore, to attitude towards certain products.”
In other words, we’re “not guided entirely by logic when making purchases. We tend to be driven by less identifiable factors such as emotions,” Paula Kaminska, UX/UI designer at blur Group explains. “If a website improves our state of mind, our relationship with a brand will deepen and the probability of a return will increase.”
Knowing this, how can you, as an advertiser, business owner, marketer, or designer, utilize colour to support your objectives? You can’t just slap some yellow on your product and assume it will make consumers feel joyful.
As Gregory Ciotti at Help Scout writes, “elements such as personal preference, experiences, upbringing, cultural differences, context, etc., often muddy the effect individual colours have on us. So the idea that colours such as yellow or purple are able to evoke some sort of hyper-specific emotion is about as accurate as your standard Tarot card reading.” Nevertheless, there are documented trends that can serve as a guide; for example, gender can heavily influence colour preferences, as outlined in a 2003 study by Joe Hallock. Such data can be used to narrow your advertising decisions; given that 0% of men reported purple as their favourite colour, you might not use the hue on your beard trimmer.
But rather than getting caught up in orange versus red, consider that academic studies on colours and branding tell us that “it’s far more important for your brand’s colours to support the personality you want to portray instead of trying to align with stereotypical colour associations,” Ciotti continues. Take for example Apple’s reliance on white and grey and how that reflects their famous simplicity of design.
Also important to consider is the psychological principle known as the isolation effect (or Von Restorff effect), which purports that an item that is notably different (i.e. in colour, size) is more likely to be remembered than other items. So, if you’re wondering why no one is clicking on your “Start a free trial” button, it could be because it’s the same colour as 20 other items on your home page. Or, if you’re contemplating why you’re not standing out among your competitors, it could be because you’re all using blue and grey as your colour scheme.
Although no colour scheme will have universal results, if you’re looking for a bit of guidance to kick off your branding colour exploration, Kaminska at blur Group notes the following trends.
Warm Bright Colours
Examples: beige, yellow, orange, pink, red
These are “active, eye-catching colours with a friendly nature that may induce a sense of courage and energy.” These shades also tend to visually enlarge objects.
Cold Bright Colours
Examples: lavender, silver, azure
These hues “enhance a sensation of modernity and professionalism if harmoniously combined with grey. It’s a nice composition for businesses, commerce, and service websites especially with health, cosmetic and medicine products.”
Cold Dark Colours
Examples: violet, blue, turquoise, green, navy
These colours “give a feeling of stability and quality.” While they don’t necessarily attract attention, “they emphasize the content.” Such hues are often associated with “ambitious and hardworking qualities with a special highlight for government, science, automotive and computer products.”
Warm Dark Colours
Examples: gold, purple, brown
These shades “express classics, tradition, luxury and relaxation. They blend well in expensive and elegant designs for young and rich.”
Examples: white, gray, black
Neutral colours create contrasts and “support their neighbours by playing the role of complementation on websites. Their use can be truly universal as they work well in a variety of applications.”
Considering all of these factors, are your colours in line with your brand’s personality? Are you standing out from the competition, whether that means other businesses or consumers’ limited attention spans? If the importance of colour in advertising is a bit overwhelming, contact us at McAllister Marketing at 250-380-2299 for guidance on getting your brand to deliver.