BY: Shay Harbaugh, Assistant Art Director, Veugeler Design Group
As children, along with learning our ABC’s and 123’s, we also learned about our reds, yellows and blues. While growing up we used colors to help identify objects and shapes. I can hold up a card that has just the word banana and one would immediately think of the color yellow. Even as adults, we still use color association with shapes, but instead of looking at a flash card you may be looking at a logo or a print ad. Colors play an important role in our lives; such as effectively illustrating our emotions, weather and culture, just to name a few. One of the most important roles that colors have today is a starring role in communication within advertising and marketing.
Over the years, communicating through colors has become more important than ever in design and advertising because colors play a huge role in brand recognition that is important for a brand’s identity. Take for example the Target logo: if you take away the text and just have the red and white circles, you immediately recognize it as the Target brand. If you change those red circles to blue, it would become less recognizable even though you just changed the color and nothing else. If a company decides to change the color scheme of its logo, it can have a direct negative effect on the business. By changing the color, you are risking changing the mood and tone associated with your company, which can also change the mood of your audience, and how they look and react to your business.
Choosing the right colors for your brand and staying consistent has been proven to be very influential among consumers. In fact, a study has been done that shows colors can help “increase brand recognition by up to 80 percent.” (Source: University of Loyola, Maryland study). When choosing th right color combination for your brand, the type of business you have should be considered. Many restaurants, for example, use reds in their logos and branding because in the psychology of colors, the color red has been linked to appetite and hunger. Various doctor’s offices use blues in their marketing because blues represent trust and cleanliness; and when I think of a hospital, I immediately think of two words: clean and sterile.
The right color combination can help your business grow and assist in conveying your message. That’s one of our many jobs as graphic designers; to learn about color theories so that we can help your business succeed by using color as a nonverbal communication strategy in your brand. Personally, I love color and am not afraid to use it as a designer; in fact, I garner inspiration from color and embrace my passion by conveying it in my designs. Like Robert Henri said, “Color is only beautiful when it means something.” So, when thinking about your brand ask yourself, do my colors have meaning and make sense? Do they communicate the right message? Most importantly, take a look at your business’s logo; would it have more of an impact with a different color?