The Importance of Color

Why Color is Important

What colors are chosen for a logo, an advertisement, a branding campaign or a business card, is as  equally important as the information they include and represent. Color is used to evoke emotion as a sub-conscious response in advertising; especially since we are all conditioned to do so to a wide spectrum of colors in design.

Do understand red to mean stop? Of course you do. When you see a baby in pink pajamas, do automatically believe the infant is a girl; or if in blue a boy? Of this there is no doubt. Does white represent weddings or baptisms for you? Sure, because we’ve been conditioned to the color as denoting purity? But these are just a few examples of how we as humans have been programmed to specific colors as triggers to prompt certain emotional responses; to which we totally unaware. Design firms and graphic artists have mastered this  crucial understanding of how certain colors — and color combinations — can affect the average consumer.

A client’s color choices says a lot about them, and often they are tempted to use their favorite colors in a brand, logo, or design to represent their business, and are totally unaware of what their color choice are saying about them, their business and their psyche. For example, say the client requests a bright red to create a logo or a brand vs. the same logo in a deeper shade of red; possibly because they believe bright red will make their presence stand out when advertising, or they just really like bright red. What they may not know is that bright red is often used to represent sexy, passionate, and dynamic, but it also stimulates an impulsive, demanding, dangerous and/or violent nature. Yet, by choosing deep red instead, they would be sending the message of being rich, sumptuous, elegant and refined. What message would you prefer to send to potential customers visiting your website?

Choose the right colors in your designs is imperative, and a client should choose their graphic designer(s) carefully. Pick a graphics artist someone who understands and knows how to evoke the right emotional meanings behind the colors used to represent your brand, logo and web presence.

Understanding Color

Now that we’ve established that color can have a major impact on your designs and how they are perceived by the public, you’ll need to understand the effects of color on your overall designs. When examining the various color pallets and options in a design, it’s always best to take a good look at other successful brands to get a better idea of how color schemes play a BIG part on how your color choices will be perceived.  . A company with strong brand recognition, altering the color scheme where it is expected to be maintained can have dangerous results, because color does matter and plays a pivotal role in a visitor’s recognition and visual experience of your brand, logo, and website.

How many of these brands or logos do you recognize? Would it make a difference if the colors where changed?

Color in Marketing

How important is color when recognizing and marketing a presence? According to the Secretariat of the Seoul International Color Expo in 2004, they assessed that 84.7% of the total respondents at the Expo believed that color accounted for more than half of the various factors consumers view as important when choosing a brand. They also determined that 92.6% of all those questioned that the visual factors in selecting a product was of the utmost importance on the visual factors when consumers seek out and select products.

Research conducted by the Institute for Color Research, known as CCICOLOR, also revealed people make a subconscious judgments about an individual, an environment, or a product within 90 seconds, and that between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based solely on color!

Henley Research International, in the United Kingdom, suggest through their research that 73% of all purchasing decisions are now made in-store; either because they seek out the colors of a product on the shelves, or because a particular color caught the shopper’s eye; conveying information effectively to the consumer, which is critical to a successful marketing campaign. As color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent (based on a University of Loyola, Maryland study).

Designed 1976 by Ron Wayne
Click Images to ENLARGE

By 1978 Apple had suffered $1.8 billion in losses for two consecutive years, when it was decided to bring COLOR into the marketplace; a point NOT considered very critical at the time. After introducing the iMac, Apple decided, “It no longer has to be beige,” and by introducing a splash of color, they invigorated sales, giving the brand new life. Today Apples sales are in the billions world-wide, and at an all-time high simply because they added color into brand and into their products.

Co-founder Ronald Wayne’s 1976 logo featured Sir Isaac Newton under an apple tree supposedly discovering gravity, however, the falling apple hitting his head was NOT recognizable. So it is clear that dropping the Newton logo and introducing a multi-colored apple instead, had a LOT to do with color recognition and Apple’s success.


Rainbow Version
by Ron Wayne

Translucent Version
by Rob Janoff
Mono Version
by Rob Janoff
Aqua Version
by Rob Janoff
Chrome Version
by Rob Janoff

Color Increases Memory Retention

We all know “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But if that’s the case, then a picture with naturally brilliant colors could be worth a million, as far as memory-retention goes. In a study completed in May, 2002 by a Felix A, Wichmann and an elaborate team of scientists from Oxford University, entitled “The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition,” and published by the American Psychological Association (APA) concluded by documenting their study, “The Contributions of Color to Recognition Memory for Natural Scenes,” that “living color” does more than just appeal to the visual senses. It also boosted memory retention and recollection of the natural world.

When vivid color is used by hanging an extra “tag” of data , the visual scenes of color stimulates interest and helps us to process and store images much more efficiently than colorless scenes (even black and white), which improved memory dramatically as a result. In their test group, those with colorful representation were able remember as much as 40% more, than the test group with only text on a white page. However, learning from what was read improved from between 55% to 78% percent, while comprehension rose by over 73%.

It should come as no surprise then that the visual cortex of our central nervous system requires a lot of input and stimulation to keep us interested. It’s because of this, people can become easily bored with the absence of colors and/or a variety of interesting shapes that when combined, will actually satisfy our basic need for neurological stimulation.

“It is probably the expressive qualities (primarily of color but also of shape) that spontaneously affect the passively receiving mind, whereas the tectonic structure of pattern (characteristic of shape, but found also in color) engages the actively organizing mind.” — Arnheim, Rudolf, Art and Visual Perception, University of California Press, Berkely, 1974.

So What’s Your Color

At World Nexus Publications we fully understand the way our natural senses respond to color stimulus, be it by Shapes and Symbols or carefully selected content. Here is where we will look at a client’s color selections at the most basic level, and analyze what colors would best suit your brand’s requirements for recognition; be it monochromatic (single color),  analogous (combinations of color), color combination practices, form, how color is used, and the best method for developing your brand accordingly. Make no mistake at it, brand recognition will make a good company succeed faster and make bad companies fail faster.

 Click Image to ENLARGE

Color Scheme Designer