I learned in my years in the toy business that more than 75% of snap judgments that are made about consumer products are often based specifically on the color of the packaging or the actual product. Also, whether or not a person purchases that product based on their decision is also based on whether or not they feel like the color that is being used for the product is appropriate for the particular product.
These colors dictate the consumer’s perception of what type of emotion that they associate with the color and then the product or service. For instance, a logo that is blue and white often causes a calm, soothing response from a consumer. The colors red, orange, and black will evoke a different emotion. I just recently bought a new car. The salesman tried to offer me a great deal on a yellow model, but I couldn’t see myself behind the wheel of a car that reminded me of a school bus. Now I know why, according to research 60 percent of consumers identified color as a major factor in their vehicle-buying decisions and automakers continue to sell a vast majority of cars (nearly 75 percent) in conservative colors such as white, black, gray and silver. I went with black.
You see, the human brain wants to use brands that are easily recognizable and the color is a highly important element when it comes to brand identity. When a brand is positioning itself against a direct competitor, choosing colors that differ from that competitors is almost as important as the product itself. The color is an integral part of creating a brand that will stand out among direct competition as well as other brands and services, while still creating a unique identity that is also supportive of that brand and identity. “Color has a transformative power that can build connections in the minds of consumers and even elevate or evoke certain moods,” explained Dee Schlotter, PPG’s senior color marketer at the company’s 2018 Global Color Trends Workshop. “Whether it’s the color of the car you are buying or the color paint you are purchasing for a new bedroom, color often reflects your personal style, while also transforming the ambiance of the space or product. Certain colors can also gain popularity or evoke specific feelings due to societal or economic trends. At PPG, we hold a global color trends workshop each year that brings PPG’s global color experts together to discuss insights, themes, news and feelings that have impacted color to forecast upcoming trends in various industries, such as automotive, consumer electronics and architectural coatings.”
So, how can you choose the right colors when you are branding your product or service? It starts with stalking your ideal consumer and gaining an understanding of the colors that will work for them. There are five colors that play the leading roles in every brand’s personality.
1. Blue: Blue is a color of sincerity, cheer, honesty and often represents things that are considered wholesome and dependable.
2. Red: Red is new, daring, exciting, and contemporary, often considered to be desired but slightly risky.
3. Green: Green is representative of a reliable brand that is fresh, imaginative and often organic in creation but successful and confident.
4. Purple: Purple is usually interpreted as unique, out of the box, and a little edgy but still dependable. Also, purple is likely to be considered expensive and high-end with a slight feminine charm.
5. Orange/Yellow: Oranges and yellows are typically interpreted as rugged and strong, cheerful and optimistic, full of life and with the expectation of longevity.
The supporting cast of colors on the spectrum are used in a more diminished capacity but also prove to be reliable when working with a very particular market, such as men or women. When it comes to different colors, most men were found to seek out products that contain bold colors and shades (colors with black added to them). Women, on the other hand, primarily sought out products containing softer hues and softer colors with a tint (white added to the original color).
Understanding what emotion and response each of these colors will ignite with the target market for your brand or service is the most important thing that a brand can do when it comes to designing the different aspects of the brand. Successfully predicting the action of the consumer and the emotion that will be invoked when the product is seen is the ultimate secret to creating successful brand packaging.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.