THE INFLUENCE OF COLOR
IN VISUAL BRANDING AND ADVERTISING
JULY 2017

It is no secret that color is one of the most prominent features of life. The different shades and values on the color scale that we are exposed to daily is innumerable, even more so with the accessibility of the internet and computer-generated variations of the classic ROY-G-BIV range.

That being said, I want you to think of a color, any color. Got it? Great.

Now define it.

It’s a pretty daunting task, especially without using a physical point of reference. The reason for this is because colors aren’t defined the same way we have learned to define objects and things. Instead, we have learned to associate colors with universal parts of life, mixed with our own unique experiences and preferences. For example, we have culturally accepted the rules of the road: Green signals mean ‘Go,’ Red signals mean ‘Stop,’ and Yellow signals mean ‘Speed up before the light turns Red.’ Okay, technically that last part isn’t an “official” rule, but you get my point. It is human nature to relate colors to experiences, rather than concrete, fixed entities.

So knowing this, how can the use of color potentially bridge the gap between successful and unsuccessful advertising campaigns?

To start off, let’s talk about basic color theory. There is a lot of truth in the relationship between color scales and the effect they universally have. Colors in the family of Red, Orange, and Yellow are considered to be warm, while colors in the family of Blue, Purple, and Green are cooler. Warmth is associated with vibrancy and energy, meaning that they are more likely to stand out to the average consumer. Cool colors, on the other hand, are much more refined and relaxed. Neutrals, such as Brown, Black, and White, are good base colors to pair with a Warm or Cool for an enhanced effect.

Once we get past the basics, to truly gauge the impact color might play in an advertising campaign we have to look at various external and internal factors regarding the consumer. These factors could include personal color preference, age, location, and many other influences. For the best estimate of how the colors in your advertising campaign will influence your target market, it is important to focus on both color theory, as well as personal influence, as a package. Knowing and understanding the target demographic of your brand will give you valuable insight into what commonalities your consumers share, which you can then translate into effective and educated color decisions.

To truly maximize advertising potential, it is equally important to know not only color and your consumer, but your brand personality as well; whatever color chosen should ultimately reflect the brand personality and enforce it in the consumer’s mind. If a brand does not have a clear sense of their company culture, it will be immensely difficult to make an educated choice on what color scheme will best enhance their presentation to consumers. As a brand, your advertising campaign will be much more effective if you can sell a well-developed package, including colors, than just the color itself.

Taylor Berringer
Student, West Chester University
Summer 2017 Intern, 78Madison

78Madison is a full-service marketing communications firm (advertising agency) located in Orlando, Florida (Altamonte Springs-Longwood, Florida)

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