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Empowered with Color

With careful use, color can help your company logo and marketing pieces to create psychological responses or attitudes, set a particular mood, and target specific markets.  Well executed pieces can help increase your bottom line, by simply choosing the right color combinations.

Here are some examples of colors and their meaning in Western culture, as taken from Katherine Nolan’s article, “Color it Effective: How color influences the user”, January 2003:

Color Positive Negative
White Clean, innocent, pure Cold, empty, sterile
Red Strong, brave, passionate Angry, aggressive, dangerous
Yellow Happy, friendly, optimistic Cowardly, annoying, brash
Brown Warm, earthy, mature Dirty, sad, cheap
Green Natural, tranquil, relaxing Jealous, inexperienced, greedy
Blue Trustworthy, strong, authoritative Cold, depressing, gloomy

Color has power.  When working with color, careful consideration should be taken to ensure that you are creating the intended response. While there are no “bad” colors, one should consider the negative perception along with the positive when creating your marketing pieces.  The use of color will stimulate a psychological response, and can even have a physiological response. Let’s look at the color red, for example.  Red is a very emotionally intense color.  It has high visibility, and brings text and images to the foreground.  It has been found to actually increase respiration rates and raise blood pressure, how’s that for a physiological response?

Color has influence.  Colors can influence people both consciously and subconsciously.  Interestingly, it has been found that the use of a green color scheme in the workplace reduces absenteeism due to illness.  The color pink has been shown to reduce aggression and has been known to cover the walls in the opposing team’s locker room in sports matches.  Utilizing color to influence your client’s decisions or attitudes can be an effective marketing tool. 

Color has meaning.  Each color has a meaning that can vary from culture to culture. Knowing your target market is key when creating everything from your logo to packaging and marketing pieces.  A person from Western cultures will relate differently to colors than someone from Eastern cultures.  Sticking with red as our example, in the West, red represents love, passion, energy, while in Eastern cultures red symbolizes prosperity and good fortune. 

There is a vast amount of information and research available to delve deeper into the psychology of color to help find the ones that best represent your business and convey the message you want.  If you need additional help, contact a local graphic designer or printer. They would be happy to “empower you with color”!

Written by Tracey Papke

Tracey Papke is the owner of Potamus Press, a commercial print shop that specializes in offset and digital printing. For more information please visit or call (951)693-2136.

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