Go VIBGYOR: Color Matters

Before we learned to understand the world around us or scribble, as toddlers we could decipher colors and could color outside and inside the lines of our drawing books. We often subconsciously make a judgment about something basis the color—According to the Institute for Color Research, we do so within as less as 90 seconds and more than two-thirds of any first-impression judgment relies on color.

Cultural differences, context, upbringing and personal experiences shape our perception about different colors to an extent. However, there are certain colors that have made way into branding, which has greatly influenced how we think about them. Here’s how:

Yellow: Cheerful, positive and optimistic. (Think McDonald’s, Subway and IMDB)

Red: Bold, youthful and energetic. (Think Levis, Coca-Cola and Netflix)

Blue: Trustworthy, strong and honest. (Think Twitter, Oreo, Oral-B and Facebook)

Green: Health, peace, growth and nature. (Think Animal Planet and Tropicana)

Orange: Warm, friendly and enthusiastic. (Think Fanta and Nickelodeon)

Silver and Gray: Balanced, sleek, modern and ornate. (Think Audi and Swarovski)

So as you can imagine, colors play a huge role in purchases and thus branding. The purpose of colors in branding is not only to attract the audience but to ensure it goes well with what the brand (logo) is trying to communicate. Standing out from the competition is also way more crucial that we presume. Sometimes breaking the mould of stereotypes and going with a different color or colors appeals to potential customers, considering you can justify why—subtly! Remember saying “Green means calm” may go against you as it’s not a powerful statement and if you are a firm that is based on wellness services, you may rather want to use a strong tagline such as “Wellbeing matters” (A financial firm could use green for obvious reasons, which may oppose “green means calm”).

Research in studies on color perception and color preferences shows that men prefer bold colors while women prefer softer colors. Also, men are most likely to select shades of colors (colors with black added), whereas women are inclined toward tints of colors (colors with white added). Who is your target audience?

We may see a red “call-to-action” button often on a page (for example, “click here”) and it may seem more appealing than a green button, but it may not be because red has some super powers, but rather because of the contrast with the rest of the page. Contrast works wonders.

Pro Tip: Also, as strange as it may seem, if you are describing a color on social media, do choose a fancy name—aqua blue may work versus sky blue, the same case as any commodity or service. You can choose a variety of colors for the same logo but remember the colors may not look appealing on all merchandise and different formats. You can think of keeping three versions—colorful, white and black for different media.

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