For those of us fortunate enough to see the entire color spectrum, colors can have a major impact on our purchasing decisions. According to research by the secretariat of the Seoul International Color Expo, 84.7% of people credited color as one of the primary factors when purchasing products.
It could be argued that color and visual presentation are more important than ever, in a time where the market is pivoted towards online purchases where customers can no longer rely on the tactile experience of holding a product in their hands. In fact, your clients make a subconscious judgment about your product within 90 seconds, with the surveyed group also saying that 62% to 90% of that impression is based solely on color.
Colors in Marketing and Advertising
Color psychology in blockchain marketing is subject to change over time. Pink used to be a “boy color” as it was considered a more child-friendly version of the fierce and aggressive color red. Blue, on the other hand, was a girl’s color, possibly inspired by the popularly-imagined Mother Mary’s blue cloak.
A more recent example of how color psychology has changed over time is brown. Long considered a big no-no in marketing and packaging alike owing to its unfortunate association with unpleasantries such as feces and rotten fruit, in recent years, brown has been adopted as an environmentally-friendly choice and today’s consumer is more likely to associate it with unbleached paper, natural products, and compostability.
These changes do not happen overnight and thus, it is not necessary to bring forth the crystal ball for your marketing and advertising efforts today.
How bold or muted color can be in marketing, however, is more subject to come in and out of fashion than hues. The trend in recent years has been moving towards less saturated tertiary colors such as sage and ecru (the color of unbleached linen). This has been noticeable in packaging and website design, possibly propelled by the use of social media platforms such as Instagram.
A Rundown of Colors and Their Implications in Color Psychology
As a long-time favorite among men, blue is a great color if you have a male-dominant client base. It can also be used if you need to inspire trust, making it a great choice for crypto wallets, exchanges, trust tokens, and banking platforms alike.
- The environment
- Good luck
Green is a great choice if you have a climate-smart business or if you sell products associated with health. Green is also a popular choice among casinos and sportsbooks.
- Honor (such as the purple heart)
Purple is often seen in marketing for luxury goods, items such as watches, and jewelry, perhaps due to a past association with royalty (purple dye used to be difficult to obtain, as they only came in small, expensive quantities from a rare snail!). It is or at least used to be popular among airlines, coffee, and chocolate producers. As neither a very masculine or feminine color, purple could work well for a large number of products and companies ranging from casinos, travel agencies to record labels. It is not overused and would therefore stand out.
With the longest wavelength of all the colors, red is the easiest to see. A dating site might go strong and bold with red while some companies, such as Norwegian Air, pair it with white to play it down. Red is an excellent choice if you want your logo to stand out or if you want a contrasting color in your marketing.
Orange is a warm and fun color suitable for any company that offers a fun experience such as a travel agency or a company that is serving a youthful crowd. Fanta, Nickelodeon, and MasterCard all use orange in their logos. Orange is also great as a contrasting color, as seen in the Amazon logo, as it is not as bold as red but not as hard to see against white as light shades of yellow.
- The sun
Yellow inspires movement and creativity but can be overwhelming if not used with caution. Think twice before going for an all-yellow website but consider it for packaging as it will jump out among other products. Snapchat, Nikon, and Mcdonald’s have yellow logos. Yellow is also used when something should be handled with caution and is associated with the work machinery brand CAT.
Pink is common in advertising aimed at women and can be a very vibrant or very muted color. Maybe most associated with brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Donut King, and Hello Kitty.
When Apple launched their all-white line, it was an avant-garde tech moment frozen in time. Nowadays, however, we are quite used to seeing white products, packaging, and cars. It is still a great choice for websites and goes well with isometric design elements.
Gray is not necessarily what comes to mind when you think of advertising or marketing in general but with the right complementing colors, gray could definitely stand out. As an example, turquoise and gray is a surprisingly well-paired combination. Gray is not unseen in logos either; brands like Nissan, Mercedes, and Wikipedia all use gray sometimes as a hint towards metals such as silver and iron.
- The occult
Technically the lack of color, not an actual color; the forever classic and fierce black is not likely to go out of style any time soon. Black offers a lot of contrast against most other colors except very dark shades such as navy and dark brown. Universally flattering in combination with other colors, black is quite versatile. A metallic gold against a matte black surface is a sure winner when it comes to luxury but black can also be used to make other colors pop if you are going for a more youthful feel. Be aware that too much black can come off as quite heavy so keep that in mind before going full-on night mode.
Last but not least, old trusted brown. As mentioned above, brown has seen a rise in popularity in recent years due to the all-natural trend. Different shades of brown look harmonious together and are soothing. However, it is hard to make brown stand out making it better for social media imagery and website design than a logo.
**Disclaimer: This post is highly aimed towards western culture preferences. If you are curious about other cultures or want a more in-depth article on the topic I recommend that you read this article on 99designs.
A Crash-Course in Color Theory
In short, color is the effect that happens when wavelengths of light bounce off an object and is perceived by the photoreceptor cells in the eyes.
In painting red, yellow, and blue are considered to be the three primary colors as the combination of these are used to make up all other colors. The three secondary colors are orange, green, and violet. If you mix primary colors with secondary colors you get six tertiary colors including more hard-defined ones such as turquoise.
Hue: Colors are sometimes described as hues, it refers to the specific color family it belongs to.
Tint/Tone/Shade: Describes how a color is different from its base hue. People use them interchangeably all the time but technically if white is added to a color it is a tint, if you add black it is a shade, and if gray is added you get another tone.
Chroma/Chromaticity: Chroma explains how “pure” a color is eg. the absence of white, black, or gray.
Saturation: Similar to chromaticity, saturation refers to the intensity of colors under certain lighting conditions. Low saturation means a more pale or weak color while a saturated color is bold and strong.
Value: Value is simply how light or dark a color is. The closer a color is to pure white the higher it is in value.
Complementary Colors: The opposite color on the color wheel is called a complementary color and generally they will make each other pop in combination. Basic complementing color pairs are:
Yellow – Purple
Red – Green
Blue – Orange