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The Psychology of Color in Marketing

January 23, 2023

Color in branding matters. A study from Kissmetrics shows that a whopping 93 percent of consumers place visual appearance and color above all other factors when shopping. What’s more, 85 percent say color is their primary reason for buying. So what does that mean? What should you do with that information? We’re going to break it down for you on what each color means and the color trends we’re seeing for 2023. Before we get into it, no matter what emotion a color may elicit, it’s important to always stay true to your company's style and brand look! 

Every year WSGN, a trend forecasting company, partners with Coloro to present their key colors which are developed with influences that will drive consumers, including a focus on wellbeing, creativity, the environment and technology. In their studies, they found that as consumers continue to grapple with ongoing economic, political and environmental crises, a sense of uncertainty about the future will remain a dominant force. As a result, their Global Colour Forecast aligns with influences that will drive consumers as we head into the upcoming years, including wellbeing, creativity, the environment and technology. The TLDR of this: consumers are going to be drawn to relaxing colors ( like pastels and earthy tones), that promote tranquility and calmness.

The Key colors picked are Intense Rust, Midnight Plum, Sustained Grey, Cool Matcha and Apricot Crush. Consider adding these colors. Consider adding these colors into this year's marketing campaign. Additionally, every year Pantone graces creatives with their ‘color of the year’, this year’s is the lovely Viva Magenta! Viva Magenta is a bold pinkish red, but this isn't your Barbie pink. Viva Magenta is a saturated shade that's not for the color-shy. The confident color is "inspired by the red of cochineal, one of the most precious dyes belonging to the natural dye family as well as one of the strongest and brightest the world has known," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

For a more general overview of colors and their meanings, we broke down the most used colors and what they can represent in marketing:

  • Black: For a clean and modern look, shades of black and gray are recommended. These shades can also signify authority and power. Be careful with how much black you use, as it can imply evil. In marketing materials, black stands out the best against other colors. However, it’s not to be used as a background on websites, as it makes them too hard to read.
  • White: White is clean and symbolizes innocence and purity. It’s simple and light; other colors stand out best against white. Too much white, however, could come off as stark and cold.
  • Red: Red attracts attention and projects energy and excitement. It can also convey intensity and sometimes anger.
  • Green: Green is calming and can symbolize luck, generosity, peace, the environment, and wealth. Green and white look great together. Green is positive and nurturing. On the negative side, the color green can imply materialism and a possessive nature.
  • Blue: When people are asked their favorite color, “blue” is the most popular answer. Blue puts people in a good mood and creates a sense of calmness. Watch out, though: Some shades of blue can seem cold and institutional.
  • Yellow: Yellow is cheery and stimulates the brain. It is the color of new ideas and inquisitiveness. But it can also be overwhelming if there’s too much or if it’s too bright.
  • Purple: Purple shades have been shown to help balance the mind and calm fears. Purple can also convey royalty, wealth, femininity, and wisdom. Combining the energy and strength of red with the spirituality and integrity of blue, it stimulates the imagination and inspires.

If you have specific emotions in mind, here are some color recommendations:

  • Striking: Use attention-grabbing and energized colors such as reds, oranges and yellows to jump out and encourage consumers to take action. Think hazards, warnings or stop signs. 
  • Soothing:  Evoke soothing and creative sensations with greens, blues, and purples. 
  • Calming: Weave in some relaxation with baby blues, lilacs and neutral tones to make buyers feel at ease. 
  • Energizing: Incorporate alert and enthusiastic colors such as bright reds and yellows, neon greens, and enhanced oranges. 
  • Elating: Incorporate sunny colors and pastel shades like peach and light pink to uplift moods and encourage smiles. 
  • Stimulating: An aura of energy representing bravery, speed and courage in all tones of red.

Want to learn more? Reach out to us at hello@harperandscott.com.

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