Let’s paint with broad strokes. When most people think about the intersection of color and business, they conjure up visions of professional stylists, artists, and designers — people who literally play with Pantone for a living.
But that’s not the full picture.
Color has a deep impact on a wide range of industries, especially when it comes to branding and marketing. In fact, studies show that color increases brand recognition by 80 percent, and nearly 85 percent of people surveyed agree that color is the primary influencer of purchase decisions.
Take Apple, for example. In 1998 the company took a huge leap forward by introducing vibrant colors into its product line. Heralded by a press release announcing, “It doesn’t have to be beige!,” Apple’s iMacs were available in an array of hues: Bondi Blue, Strawberry, Tangerine, Grape, Lime, Blueberry, Graphite, Ruby, Indigo, Sage, Snow, Flower Power, and Blue Dalmation.
The result? Apple secured 150,000 pre-orders, and within the first six weeks, the firm had already sold 278,000 units. The rest of Apple’s success is, of course, history.
The use of color can have huge implications for small businesses and bloggers too. Your color scheme is the first thing visitors will notice when they land on your website, so it’s important to get it right. To that end, we’ve researched every shade of the rainbow to help you choose the right hues.
Red is fun, youthful, bold, and the color of winners. Studies show that athletes wearing red have a competitive advantage over opponents dressed in other colors. Perhaps, that’s why red is also considered provocative and energetic. Brands like Target, Virgin, Lego, and Netflix use crimson to reel in customers.
In addition, ruby hues induce hunger, which is why so many major food brands and chains — like Coca-Cola and KFC — use red in their logos and marketing materials. In fact, the next time you walk into a fast food restaurant, take note of the color of the walls, furniture, and menu. You’ll likely be seeing red.
Orange is a happy hue. It creates feelings of cheerfulness, playfulness, and boldness. If your brand equals fun — think of Nickelodeon, Crush, and Shutterfly — use tangerine in your logo.
Orange also instills confidence in customers, and Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, does that well. In 2015 Amazon handled $107 billion in sales, so it’s clear the company has a lot going on logistically. Orange helps Amazon convey to customers that it can handle even the tiniest details.
Sunshiny yellow communiates optimism, light, creativity, and warmth, which fits the light-hearted persona of brands like Sprint, IKEA, Shell, and National Geographic. Additionally, yellow pairs well with red for food brands. Top brands that use both yellow and red include McDonald’s, In-N-Out Burger, and Denny’s. It’s important to remember, however, that yellow is the least favorite color worldwide.
Green can go in two very different directions. Some brands, such as Whole Foods and Tropicana, use green to reflect health,
freshness, and serenity. Other brands, particularly luxury retailers or financial firms, use dark green to signal affluence and prestige. Examples of this group include Fidelity, Mint, and Land Rover.
Green also sparks creativity, according to recent research. German scientists conducted studies to determine what effect colors have on inventiveness. The results: participants who were shown green before engaging in tasks produced much more creative work than those who saw other colors. So if you are looking for an innovative vibe, keep green in mind.
Nearly 33 percent of businesses use blue as their primary brand color. That’s because blue signals trust, loyalty, and security — important values for banking and payment institutions, like Bank of America, PayPal, Venmo, and American Express.
On top of that, blue conveys strength and dependability. Top examples of brands using blue for this reason include Dell, HP, Lowes, Oral B, and yours truly, Bluehost. Another important element to consider: blue is overwhelmingly the dominant favorite color of both men and women.
Purple is the color of sophistication and wisdom. That’s why many educational firms and tech companies use violet shades. Some examples include Yahoo!, Syfy, and Monster. One brand that really uses plum well is Welch’s. Matching company colors to your products — in this case, Welch’s purple logo with its purple grape juice — is a great branding strategy.
Brown’s natural vibe speaks to earth-friendly consumers, making it a favorite of brands like Mr. Coffee and Seattle Coffee Box. Brown also represents durabilit and reliability. UPS, for example, had one of the most popular brown logos of all time. In fact, the company’s slogan even referenced the color: “What can brown do for you?” The delivery service has since rebranded, but its focus on reliability remains.
Black and White
Color theory gets complicated with black and white (are they really on the spectrum?), but one thing is certain: these shades result in timeless branding. The New York Times, Chanel, Apple, and Nike all make use of black-and-white logos. That’s because this simple combination reads as classic and professional.
Cracking the Color Code
While this guide can help you start the design process, nothing can replace researching your audience’s preferences; studies show it’s vital to pick colors based on how your customers will react. So are you ready to let your brand’s true colors shine through? After all, it’s those hues that will convey your message, tone, and values to customers.