How Color Impacts Marketing

Wheel with tabs with alternative colours you might use for marketing.

Understanding how colour influences people can help make your marketing materials more effective, because colour has a huge impact on how people will react to them. Studies have shown that reactions to different colours are a deeply personal thing, created by each person’s life experiences.

We ascribe meaning to everything, even colour so, while one person may love orange because it reminds her of a happy time cuddling with her grandmother in an orange chair, another person may react negatively to the same colour because he broke his arm falling of his orange bicycle. There’s really no way to predict how any one person will react.

Predictable Responses to Colour

Despite this unpredictability, some scientists believe that our brains are hardwired to respond to specific colours in certain ways. Many people respond positively to blue because it denotes a clear sky and good weather. Brown, muddy greens and yellows signify illness and may be the reason why they are not popular colours.

Also, we’ve been conditioned by marketing and society to associate some colours with certain ideas. For example, green has come to be associated with the environment, white with clean design and red with warnings.

Target Audiences and Colour Choice

Studies also show that there are clear gender preferences when it comes to colours. For instance, men usually don’t like purple, but most women do. Men tend to like bolder, darker and more saturated colours, while women prefer softer, gently tinted colours.

Cultural beliefs also have a lot to do with how people view colours. For example, in Japan, red signifies good luck and in China, white is associated with death. These beliefs are important to keep in mind when thinking about your target audience.

Colour Impacts Consumer Decisions

We know that colour is incredibly important and influential when it comes to how people make decisions. Up to 90 percent of snap judgments about a product are based on their colour and 84 percent of consumers say that colour is the main reason they bought something.

Colour ads are read 42 percent more often than those in black and white, so the colours you choose for branding and printed marketing materials do impact consumer decisions.

Colour and Branding

One of the most important decisions you can make involves choosing a colour scheme for your brand. Think about the qualities you want your brand to be associated with and stand for.

People are more likely to respond positively to a product when the colour makes sense to them and is appropriate for the product. For instance, Caterpillar bulldozers would look ridiculous painted purple. You also want to be sure to colour your brand so that it’s memorable and different from your competitors, so consumers will remember your brand and your product. 

How to Choose Colour

Choose a colour family for your printed material is important. Pages that have colours with similar hues prompt a positive response from customers. The most important information or calls to action should be done in contrasting colours. The colours that are next to each other on a colour wheel will combine harmoniously. Drawing a triangle from that area, you’ll find the two contrasting colours that will really stand out and create a bold statement on the page, without clashing with the harmonious ones.

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