The science of colour has been an area of increasing research for the past few years and has changed how colour is viewed by businesses throughout the world. We now know that colour is one of the most important design aspects of any business, it will decide how memorable you are, how responsive your target market is and most importantly, the impression you will give your visitors.
According to Shopify, when a customer enters your business they make a subconscious judgement about your retail environment and product within 90 seconds of the initial viewing – between 62% to 90% of this judgement is based on colour alone! Similarly, your business colour palette could be the key to increasing your sales, for example; when Heinz changed iconic ketchup from red to green its sales increased by $23 million in the first month!
The Influence of Colour
You may not realise it, but every day our subconscious is affected by the colours around us, influencing our decisions, likes, dislikes, memory, understanding, behaviour and emotions. However, in terms of our businesses we want to use colour to make our customers remember us, as well as feel and react in a certain way, for example making a purchase.
Colours can be divided into two different categories; warm and cold. Warm colours are generally associated with energy while cold colours are more about calmness and security. Every colour causes a different response from humans. Studies have shown how each of the following colours affects us…
Red evokes a passionate response. A 2004 study showed that football teams wearing red were statistically more likely to win than teams in other colours, while in 2008 a study showed that people found photographs of the same group of women more attractive on red backgrounds than those on white. It is a colour that stimulates, increases our heart rate, makes us breathe more rapidly and have an increased appetite. It is energetic, provocative and attention-grabbing and therefore is popular with food, technology, car and agriculture businesses.
Purple is sophisticated and mysterious. The richness of the colour is often associated with royalty, elegance and spirituality. Purple reigns supreme in the beauty industry, especially with anti-ageing products. You may have noticed that if something is packaged in purple or black it is assumed that it will cost more. It is becoming increasingly popular for finance, technology and healthcare companies.
Blue is arguably the most popular colour for businesses. Blue is considered trustworthy, dependable, secure and responsible. Blue can be reminiscent of the air, sea and sky and therefore is often associated with being peaceful, calm and contemplating. This makes it very popular with travel, healthcare, energy, finance, technology and agriculture industries.
Green can affect our moods differently depending on the shade. Darker greens are often associated with affluence whereas lighter green evokes feelings of serenity. In general, green is calm, fresh and healthy. Often retailers will employ this colour to attract eco-minded clients. It can be seen as a dependable and balanced colour making it popular with technology, energy, finance, housing and food companies.
Yellow is uplifting and fun, it can evoke hope and optimism as well as increasing confidence and expression. It stimulates creativity and energy while its brightness captures the eye. It is incredibly popular at fast food restaurants as yellow, like red, increases appetite and evokes energy. It is most popular for energy, food and technology businesses because of its positivity, brightness, warmth, motivation and creativity.
Orange is bright and cheery like yellow but with the energy and boldness of red. It is full of life and excitement, often promoting physical confidence and enthusiasm. Sportsmen and adventure-seekers relate particularly well to orange. It can also stimulate two-way conversation as well as appetite, therefore being a popular choice for eating areas.
Brown represents stability, structure, security and nature. It can be reassuring and comforting as well as being wholesome and practical. It is popular with clothing, car and agriculture industries due to its earthy, protective qualities. However, use with caution as the colour seems to be commonly associated with dirt.
Black is used to boast a classic sophistication and works well for expensive products as it gives the impression of prestige, value, timelessness and sophistication… think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Black dominates high-end brands and is becoming increasingly popular for makeup packaging. Equally the majority of customers consider a product better or more up-scale if it is black making it a popular choice for clothing, technology and cars.
White is associated with purity, simplicity and cleanliness. It also stands for modernity and honesty, which may be why Apple swears by it! White is considered a new beginning, a clean slate which could explain why over 75% of top skin-care brands are packaged in white. It is most popular with healthcare and child-related businesses.
Marketing and Colour
Hopefully, it’s now clear how colours can affect a business and how important it is to choose the right ones! According to a study published in the Journal of Business Research, customers are 15% more likely to return to businesses with blue colour schemes compared with orange colour schemes because, as mentioned before, it evokes feelings of trust and dependability. Similarly, research published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Psychiatry has discovered that when a person sees pink it slows the endocrine systems and relaxes tense muscles. This is because we associate pink with feeling relief and calmness and therefore many companies that sell products to relieve an ailment will often be pink.
You may also have noticed that many sale signs are red? This is to grab customers attentions and encourage them to take action. According to a study published in the journal Emotion, professor Andrew Elliot found that people react faster and more forcefully when they see the colour red, with the primary reason being that the colour enhances physical reactions, programmed in our psyche as a cue for danger. Therefore when we see a red “Sale!” sign our reaction is to buy now (fast and forceful) before anyone else has the chance (danger).
Equally, colour makes a huge impact on a brand’s target market. According to an infographic by Yellow Duck Marketing, marketers use colours to target different demographics and elicit emotions, for example, fast food restaurants, shop outlets and sales target impulsive shoppers and therefore generally use red and orange whereas yellow is popular to attract children and convey happiness. Regardless of your chosen brand colours, it’s important to integrate them across the board – in your logo, home page, product and more. Colour is the first thing a customer will notice about your business so make it count!
Furthermore, one of the main qualities a company strives for is to be memorable. According to PR Daily, brand recognition increased by 80% due to colour, which strengthens consumer confidence. Colour plays an important role in how often adverts are read. In general coloured ads are read about 42% more often than those in black and white. Similarly, comprehension, learning and reading are boosted by significant margins due to colour as well. Research shows that businesses believe that colour can assist in attracting new customers, giving a competitive edge and appear more successful!
Gender And Colour
According to a 2003 University of Washington research project, the sexes are generally in common when it comes to colour. Females tend to love blue, purple and green but tend to dislike brown, orange and grey while men love blue, green and black but dislike brown, orange and purple. The study also showed that blue and green are the favourite colours of both men and women. However, women tend to favour cool, soft shades of green while men prefer brighter clearer colours. Also, green, like orange, decreases in preference as both genders age.
So, to conclude, we suggest that you experiment with a test group of your typical customers to see which colour schemes work best before redesigning any branding.
[question]What colours work best for you? Tell us in the comments below![/question]