Updated: Jun 25, 2020
“Color is a power which directly influences the soul.” – Wassily Kandinsky
Given the amount of research and conversation surrounding the topic of marketing and color, in our souls we know there is a connection between hues and hearts. Despite marketing researchers' "best" intentions though, conclusive evidence linking colors to purchasing or acting with intent to purchase doesn't exist. However, psychological experiments have linked color to mood. This post provides quick tips on picking brand colors to fit the mood you want to set and how to document colors in your brand book.
In a study titled "Impact of Three Interior Color Schemes on Worker Mood and Performance Relative to Individual Environmental Sensitivity"1997, researchers at The University of Texas, Austin, found that in alignment with psychology studies from way back into the 1950s hold up and that, at least in the United States, red elicits excitement and blue and green produces more calm, tender feelings. I my use of blue-green in my images and color palette. I want you to feel relaxed and calm, like you are in that Corona commercial with the wind blowing over the beer bottle at the beach. Blue-green, right? Also, physiologically, green provides less strain on the eye and blue is said to decrease blood pressure.
One approach you can use to determine your color palette is to think about the feelings you want your customers to have when they interact with your brand. Do you want them to feel youthful and excited, maybe a bright red is your color. Or, should they feel inspired, warm, and optimistic, maybe a big yellow hug from your brand is what they need.
Your color palette is very important, because although the impact of color on marketing is rather inconclusive, it is said that color can increase brand recognition by 80%. And again, like Kandinsky said, it's powerful. (Did you know that ancient Egyptians used to bath in color to heal ailments, I mean, they built the pyramids so...)
STEP 11: COLOR INSIDE YOUR BRAND'S LINES
If you've gone through the previous steps from my posts Judge a Brand Book by its Cover and Get to Know Yourself and Sound It Out, then congrats! You have a bunch of info to help you choose and document your colors. If not, no worries, no big deal, check out the blog posts. Need more help, feel free to contact me!
STEP 12: EXPLAIN YOUR BRAND COLOR THEORY
Just like every other component in your brand book, explain the why behind your decision. Your employees deserve it. They'll respect your decisions more and get why they have to stick with the color palette. My book says, "The palette is bold but calm and catches a breeze from the tropics. Why the tropics? because it's where people vacation and clear their minds."
STEP 13: PAINT YOUR BRAND BY NUMBER
Designers use different codes if they are creating a print project or a design for a screen. Find those codes. If you don't have a design program, you can find your color codes in just about any program, including Word! Here's a link to explain how. Once you have the RGB code, you get the other code by using tools like this.
CMYK - This stands for Cyan Magenta Yellow Black. These are the four basic colors used for printing images.
PMS or Pantone Matching System - Pantone colors are patented, standardized inks made by the Pantone company. They are used for offset printing only, for one or two-color jobs like letterhead and envelopes. (I didn't include Pantone because I don't intend to ever use it. I think that may be sacrilege, but hey, hakuna matata.)
RGB - This stands for RED GREEN BLUE and these colors make up the colors you see on your television, your computer screen, and your smartphone.
HEX - Used by developers and designers in web design, HEX codes look something like this: #4DC1B8. I also didn't include these because I don't use them. You can use RGB or HEX for your website. Developers seem to like them better though, so if you are working with a developer on your website, you may want to make their life a little easier by including them.
STEP 14: GET COLOR ON THE PAGE
Get all the numbers that create your colors and documented them in your brand book! Now you are on your way to color clarity!
In my last blog post I covered logo instructions in your brand book so that you can rest easy at night knowing that no one will mess with your identifying mark. My next post will cover typeface, a.k.a. fonts!
Brand books provide the calm that I know I needed as the marketing director for an incredibly busy non-profit organization. I can help you create the calm in the chaos. Message me here.
Until then…. Be Consistent. Be Clear. Be seen.