The Message in The Color

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Why Color Is Important for Branding And Logo Design
The effects of color on the human brain have been the subject of a multitude of studies, reports and debates overthe last century. A lot of that research has concluded contradictory results about the importance of color and how we perceive it. Some sources claim colors can evoke specific emotions and brain patterns, while others maintain that any psychological response is due to cultural and societal influences learned from birth. Regardless of the ultimate effect of color on the mind, our evolutionary history and stamina are owed to our ability to distinguish different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation as hues and contrasts of color. This advancement in biological functioning allowed our ancestors to become more social, find food faster, and notice a predator before it could eat us. Marketing experts have been taking advantage of this simple fact for decades and applying these principles to branding and logo design. Whether or not a color induces a specific emotional response doesn’t necessarily matter when you understand the other effects it has on the human brain.

Color increases brand recognition by 80%.
Brand recognition directly links to consumer confidence.
~ KISSmetrics

Case Studies and Research Statistics about the Effectiveness of Color in Advertising
A 2007 study by the University of Loyola in Maryland found that color used in brand and logos increased recognition by 80 percent. Another study of phone directory ads discovered that 42 percent of readers were more interested and fully read the ads that were in color compared to the ones in black and white. Back in 2002, a report published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology looked at natural colors and their effects on memory. The report found increases in the length and detail of memory when “living” or natural colors were used in images.

An interesting case study on the effectiveness of color on branding and marketing is with the Heinz Company. They introduced a new ketchup that was exactly the same as their main product except it was green and marketed towards kids. Within seven months, Heinz sold ten million bottles resulting in a total of $23 million in sales. At that point, it was the single highest increase in sales ever recorded in the brand’s history. But due to the fickle nature of children, sales of the green ketchup, and other colors, eventually dwindled and red ketchup remains a visually tasty standard.

A Color for Every Need and Desire
Even though researchers are divided and undecided on whether color or learned behaviors associated with color affect the mind, they all agree that there is an effect. Marketing experts have picked up on this and utilize color to great results in logo design.

  • Black – The color black represents power, prestige and class.
  • White – White is associated with cleanliness and purity. It can be used to suggest simplicity.
  • Red – Red is a power color. It’s used to immediately grab the attention of the viewer.
  • Orange – Orange is fun and energetic. It is associated with creativity, youthfulness and playfulness.
  • Yellow – Throughout the world and going back through history, yellow has been representative of the sun. It is joyful, happy and also associated with intellect.
  • Green – The natural world is green. Green symbolizes growth and fertility. It also has associations with money.
  • Blue – Blue is a powerful color for marketing and advertising. It establishes trust, confidence and loyalty.
  • Purple – Historically, purple has represented royalty. It combines the two power colors red and blue. It’s also associated with the power of nobility, ambition and luxury.

The use of color in advertising and marketing is essentially woven into brand recognition and is a great way to re-enforce your message. The human brain notices and remembers colors easier than any other representations. Because “a picture paints a thousand words” adding color to your image reduces the need for wordiness by creating a focused message for your targeted audience.

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