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Imagewerks marketing color branding

How to Win Customers and Influence People — With Color

Posted by Molly Geipel on February 29, 2016 at 8:30 AM

When it comes to making your brand stick, color can be the most subtle yet powerful component you consider. Color alone increases brand recognition by 80%, and nearly 90% of consumers identify color as a determining factor in their decision to buy a product. Like we said: powerful.

Color signals what to pay attention to, how you interpret something, and how much importance you should give it. By using color strategically, you can shape consumers initial judgments about products, overall opinions about brands, and ultimately buying behavior.


When designing your brand’s color scheme and making choices about how colors will appear on your website, there are two primary objectives to consider: what will certain colors communicate about your brand? And how can you use color to influence consumer behavior?

Color is a controversial topic in marketing. Much has been theorized about the so-called “psychology of color,” or how colors evoke certain emotions that can be used to influence customers. The trouble is that color associations are too dependent on personal experience for colors to be linked to universally translatable emotional responses.

That's not to say there aren’t patterns to how consumers respond to color. Just as color can trigger unconscious emotional and psychological connotations, it can also produce observable behavioral decisions.

There is no magical formula for creating a high conversion color scheme. However, there are a couple tips and tricks that can make your color selections as impactful as possible.

  1. “Fit”

Research indicates that the effects of color may hinge more on the “perceived appropriateness” of a color’s relationship to the brand than on the specific color(s) used. Colors dictate how consumers interpret a brand’s personality. The specific colors you choose aren’t as important as whether or not they fit the personality you’re attempting to cultivate for your brand.

  1. Audience

Studies show that color preferences vary across gender. While some colors are universally popular (blue, green, red), men tend to prefer shades (colors with black added) and women tend to prefer tints (colors with white added). Some preferences are unique to gender. For example, purple ranks as women’s second favorite color and doesn’t even register for men. When designing the color scheme for your brand and website, keep in mind the demographics of your audience. Your choices should appeal directly to your target consumer.

  1. Differentiation

You want to pick a color that fits your brand’s personality and competitive market, but not so well that your color scheme matches that of every one of your competitors. Consumers prefer brands they recognize; you can’t be recognizable if you don’t stand out.

  1. Contrast

Beyond branding, you can use color to influence your customers by guiding them strategically through your website. As you design your site, use contrasting accents to signal what visitors should pay attention to and how they should progress through the site. Creating a consistent hierarchy of a background, base, and accent color can direct attention to key elements on a page and teach visitors which color indicates a call-to-action.

  1. Scarcity

For maximum impact, use your call-to-action color sparingly. There’s a psychological principle known as the Isolation Effect or the “sore thumb principle” which says that whatever stands out on your page most is what people will pay attention to, respond to, and remember. Using your call-to-action color too often will cause its potency to quickly wear off. Don’t be the brand that cried, “Click here!”

Ultimately, there are no one-size-fits-all prescriptions for using color effectively in branding and marketing. Of course not, or the ones who get it right wouldn’t be so iconic. What it comes down to is how the colors you choose work for the context of your brand and your audience. It may take a little testing to get it just right. So go out and experiment.

Find out whether an orange button or a pink button gets more clicks, whether people can recall your logo better <link to logo blog> if it’s blue versus purple, or whether visitors linger longer on a white background over a black one. A great brand color scheme is hard to find, but easy to recognize. You’ll know it when you see it.

See more about the impact of color psychology in marketing and browse iconic brand imagery on our brand colors @ werk Board on Pinterest.


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Topics: logo design, color theory, brand strategy

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