When creating your logo or the look of your website, color plays a crucial role in the snap judgments people make about your business. According to Emerald Insight, between 62 and 90 percent of that first impression is based on color alone. This means your color choice of logo or website could make or break a customer's decision to buy.
Yes, color is THAT important.
Well, that depends.
Nothing works better than red if you want to attract attention and create excitement. You may have noticed that many companies use red in their logos, including Target, Coca-Cola, Time Magazine, Pinterest, Lego, Kellogg's, Kmart, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, CNN, Netflix, Disney, Levi's, Coors, McDonald's, and so forth.
Red creates a sense of urgency and can even make you breathe a little faster. Think of the red tags used in clearance sales, the red of a stop sign, or red valentines. All of these have been shown to increase respiration and heart rate.
According to neuroscientists, red is the most visible color. Of all the colors around the world, red is the one color that is most noticed in any setting. Think of a city street crowded with people. Who do you notice? The woman in the red dress, of course. Or think of a rural scene with lush green fields and trees. What pops out at you? The red flowers, the red barn, or the red stop sign.
A red logo implies that your brand is robust and high-energy. And it stimulates action and impulsive behavior, including buying.
Keep in mind that red has both positive and negative connotations. Red can signal anger and aggressiveness as quickly as it can signal love on Valentine's Day and low prices on closeout price tags.
Have you noticed that many fast-food restaurants use red? That's because red stimulates appetite and hunger. Without even realizing what's happening, the color red makes you want to eat.
Fast food restaurants pair red with yellow to add a feeling of happiness. It's known to marketing professionals as the "Ketchup and Mustard Theory" of marketing fast food, and it certainly seems to work.
Yellow is used by many company logos as well. Think of Cheerios, CAT, Best Buy, Denny's, Hertz, Nikon, Sun Chips, and Post-it Notes. Yellow conveys happiness, optimism, and caution. Think of a yellow smiley face, and what do you feel? Probably cheerful and warm.
Green is used by brands that want to convey they are environmentally friendly, natural, and healthy. Green creates a feeling of relaxation and nature, making it popular with Whole Foods, John Deere, Starbucks, Animal Planet, Tropicana, and Morning Star Farms.
Want to lose weight? Use blue plates. You seldom see blue on food labels because it's known to curb appetite. Blue is the color of trust. In several studies sales, people were dressed either in blue or brown, and those in blue invariably outsold those wearing brown. And because blue is also the color of productivity, painting your office blue might not be a bad idea.
Companies that use blue logos include American Express, Dell Computers, General Electric, Lowes, Twitter, Ford, and Oral-B. Think of the sky and ocean, of serenity, stability, and peacefulness. Blue is the most popular favorite color of both men and women, making it universally well-liked.
Blue conveys that your brand is professional, secure, and trustworthy.
Because it's closely associated with being feminine, pink targets women. Pink is considered "sweet" and "fun," and it's used by brands like Victoria's Secret, Barbie, Baskin Robbins, and Dunkin' Donuts.
If you want to convey a more serious, elegant, and luxurious message, use colors such as black and purple or a deep burgundy with gold. These color combinations are associated with exclusivity and work well when targeting wealthier customers.
Purple, in particular, is the classic color of nobility and conveys luxuriousness, wisdom, wealth, and success. It also represents magic, mystery, fantasy, and imagination. If you want to attract people who want to be wealthy or wise, or perhaps those who enjoy magic or mystery, purple is your color.
Companies that use purple in their logos include Hallmark, Monster.com, Curves, FedEx, Cadbury, Wonka, and Syfy.
What about orange? Amazon, Crush, Fanta, Gulf Oil, Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, Firefox, Nickelodeon, and Payless Shoes all use orange because it's associated with playfulness and enthusiasm. Orange stimulates brain activity and is seen as being friendly.
If you want your brand to be seen as light-hearted and not overly serious but still confident, orange might be your color. Pair it with blue to tone down aggressiveness and instill trust.
Last but far from least is just plain black. ABC, BBC, The New York Times, BlackBerry, Prada, Tiffany and Company, Channel, and Gucci all use black logos to convey seriousness, sophistication, and exclusivity.
Even though black looks plain, it is often used for luxury products because it evokes a sense of elegance and glamor. Well-established companies such as The New York Times gravitate towards it as well to convey their robust and no-nonsense reputation.
Start by considering your perfect customer and the message you want to convey to that person. Do you want to appear serious? Playful? Exclusive? And what do you want that person to feel the moment they see your logo or land on your site? Spend a little time on this, and you'll realize that something as simple as color is rather complicated. You might even have the impulse to include ALL colors on your logo and website, and depending on your product, that might work for you.
But in most cases, you'll want to pick just one or two colors and weave them throughout everything you create: Your logo and brand, your headers, product covers, social media accounts, and so forth.
Spend some time on this. Narrow it down to 3 choices and make mock-ups. Survey your customers. Choose wisely, and you'll never have to do this again because your colors will be associated with your brand for as long as it's around.
Just think of Coca-cola. They've used the same color for well over a hundred years, and their look is as strong as ever because they made the right choice in the first place.
Join our monthly marketing magazine to receive the latest news and updates from our team of professional marketers and copywriters.
(Don't worry, your information will not be shared.)