Choosing the right colors

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Imagine, for a moment, that you’re talking to a person you’ve just met. After a few minutes of conversation they say, “You are exactly how I thought you would be” How would you interpret that statement? What if they said it with a genuine looking smile on their face? What would you think if they looked angry when they said it? You would judge their intent, by their tone, facial expression and body language. In the world of advertising, the equivalent of non-verbal communication is color and layout. In this article I will focus on color.

Colors are chosen for a many reasons, some are chosen for visibility, like traffic warning signs. Among teenagers we see another use for color, as an easy way to identify or belong to a group. Here is where understanding color helps us in marketing.

One of the industries that seem to understand this concept best is professional sports. A prime example could be the Oakland Raiders, their colors are black and silver. They have a huge following of “bad boys” that love to wear the team’s colors. More and more, we see teams using black as one of their colors. As a society we equate the color black with being tough, mean, or rebellious. So the color black, used with silver gives the Raiders the image they are looking for, a tough team to meet on the field. Imagine for a moment if their colors were pink and sky blue, would anyone think of them as tough competitors? Would we see overweight men, painted in pink and blue dancing in the bleachers? Thankfully, we probably wouldn’t .

Now think of your own business. What kind of colors should you use? What color will best carry your message to your clients and prospects? One answer is really quite simple, think about your clients and picture what colors and styles of clothes they wear. A motorcycle dealer would use black with another strong color to offset and accentuate the black. Their logo would probably have sharp edges and might involve an animal like an eagle or wolf. A day care facility would use pastels, probably pink and light blues, for the little girls and boys.

Take a moment now and think about your clients. What colors do they seem to like? Should your colors be “soft” or “hard”? Would certain colors actually repel your potential clients?

Once you’ve identified some good colors you’ll want to make sure the colors don’t clash or already belong to some other business or group. For example, red, yellow and green are already associated with Reggae and wouldn’t make a good choice for a country western clothing store.