Colours

From Heliotrope to Avocado Green: Why Colour Matters in Marketing

In a world where visual cues dominate, we cannot deny the influence of colour on brand perceptions.

After being a part of the Elephant’s team for over a month, I have observed the many nuanced ways brands build their image and mould their consumers’ perceptions of them. From stellar product innovations to positive social media engagement, there’s a lot that goes into a business’s identity. But one thing on my mind is the role colour plays in brand building.

My interest probably has something to do with the fact that I have been re-reading Kassia St Clair’s The Secret Lives of Colour (which I would highly recommend to fellow colour AND history lovers!). The sheer number of tints, tones and shades, from heliotrope to avocado green, reminded me that the world of colours is wonderfully complex. Which means choosing one – or more – for your brand is no easy feat.

When creating a brand, the question of colour is one you will encounter early on. What hues will make up your logo? Your products? Your website? What colours do you want your target consumer to associate with your brand?

The answer will set the tone for your business going forward.

Yet, with all the colours of the rainbow (and everything in between) to choose from, is there an ideal way to pick the perfect pigment? Cadbury’s might tell you ‘yes’, since they patented the purple hue of their chocolate bars, and Mcdonald’s might agree, with their internationally-recognised ‘golden arches’. But for many brands, there probably isn’t a fool-proof formula aside from getting into a bit of colour theory and doing plenty of research.

Take yellow for example. On one hand, yellow might be considered a ‘happy colour; it is eye-catching and fun. On the other hand, too much of it is straining for the eyes; you likely wouldn’t want to use it as the main colour for your website, social media platforms and ads. Consumers will quite literally get tired of looking at your brand.

Colour theory isn’t black and white (unsurprisingly), and colour psychology will tell you that our associations with the rainbow is far from one dimensional.

So, when you are picking colours for your logo, website or new product, ask yourself the following questions:
  • What are the connotations of the different colours?
  • Do your chosen colours align with your desired brand message?
  • Where and how will you use your brands colours?

And, for the brands looking to go international, another consideration you might want to make is the cultural differences in perceiving the same colour (keep an eye out for more on this topic in a future blog!). After all, colour in context could make or break your brand.

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