A simple colour change in the marketing and design process can make a whole world of difference. When consumers subconsciously make a decision about a product after 90 seconds, there isn’t much room for mistakes.
According to The Institute of Color Research, 90% of the product assessment is based on colour alone.
Global firms have to be especially careful in their colour choices as colours represent different values, feelings and images for consumers in different cultures around the world.
Take red, for example, which to the Chinese signifies good luck, contrary to South Africans who link the colour red to mourning. In Korea pink means trust whilst making Westerners think of love, blue on the other hand indicates immortality in China, spirituality in Iran and depression or sadness in Western countries. Finally, white in the west links to brides, angels and do-gooders, the opposite of that in India who tie the colour to unhappiness.
The type of image that a company would like to portray can be altered dramatically depending on the colour used. According to a Maryland study, colour increases brand recognition by 80%, which links directly to customer confidence in a brand and product.
The Logo Company put together a great infographic, ‘colour emotion guide’ (see below). Which states that generally yellow translates feelings of optimism, orange is connected to friendliness, red links to excitement, blue to trust, green to peace and health and grey to balance.
In terms of product packaging, and logo design in particular, black tends to connect with premiumisation. Some successful examples of branding in black include Prada, D&G and Blackberry. Red on the other hand stimulates feelings of energy and boldness with Coca Cola, Lego, Virgin and Pinterest as great role models. Yellow encourages optimism and positivity examples including Ikea, Subway and McDonalds. Green shades often link to health, growth and freshness; shown in Landrover, Tropicana and Whole Foods. And finally, blue creates feelings of trustworthiness and dependableness. Brands such as Dell, American Express, Oral-B, Waterstones and Volkswagen have chosen this option to subliminally connect with their customers.
When choosing a colour it is vital to keep the audience or target consumer group in mind. Where are they from, how will they interpret the colour and how will they connect with it emotionally? Secondly, product packaging especially should stand out on the shelf but not be off-putting – it’s all about finding the right balance.