When mapping out ideas and schedules for blog posts for 2012, I thought that I would cover a wide range of subjects; including the basics of design. I thought that touching on the basics of what we already know, and use daily as a design company may help our clients and readers get some ideas for their own business and marketing plans. This week, I’m going to begin by sharing my knowledge of business branding with you, in parts.
Part 1 – Color
Any designer knows that the right typography, layout and colors are important, and if you are a smart business person, you have probably consulted with a designer at some point to help put your marketing plan into motion. That’s because a good designer knows that marketing material is most effective when it’s designed with their client’s target audience in mind. The right design can grab the attention of an audience, make them feel good about purchasing product or service and even help them remember a business name long after they’ve seen an ad, poster, website, or billboard.
Most people love color. Color can attract and entice them; or make them feel at ease, powerful, happy, excited, or trendy. If you haven’t done so already, choosing a color or two to represent your product or service can make your business stand out. That’s way so many companies use distinctive colors. In logo design, especially, color is a critical component in the representation of a business – it sets the mood and tone for all marketing material and the business itself.
Let me give you an example. The colors below are each a main representative color for four large companies. From left to right, can you identify them?
Did you figure out which color belongs to which company? These four colors have been the basis for that company’s logo and all there marketing material. You’ve seen it before, so much that now you may recognize the color and understand, probably pretty easily, what you’ve learned to associate each color with. These colors could very well be from anything but you most likely thought of the companies that they represent. Cool, huh? That’s because these colors have become synonymous with the company’s name, logo and ultimately, their brand.
The Character of Color
Why do you think Starbucks for example, uses the color green (above)? Well, the color green is often associated with the words, “natural, earthy, healthy, beauty, fortune, wholesome, nurture, life”. Starbucks is a company has prided itself on being “green”; using post-consumer materials and supporting causes like green energy, conserving water and resources and supporting such causes as well as providing rich, healthy foods and coffees to their consumers.
What do you think of when you see that color?
If you haven’t already, think of a color or two for your business, or to represent yourself with that color’s emotional reaction in mind. Here are a few color associations:
Blues and purples: sophistication, royalty, stability, wealth.
Greens: wholesome, natural, earthy, caring or nurturing, good fortune, strength.
Yellows and Oranges: Happiness, excitement, energy, vibrant.
Reds: passion, power, boldness.
Pinks: flirtatious, fun, feminine, sweet.
White: Simplicity, purity.
Black: Fullness, confidence, sophistication, mortality, experience, boldness.
For the Colorblind
As you have been reading through this post, you have probably thought of those who can’t see colors the way they may have been intended to be seen. Unfortunately, we cannot change how colors are seen in some people but what we can do is use contrasting colors our advantage.
Contrast is the difference or unlikeness between colors. Black and white, for example are contrasting and are easily distinguished from one another. So to make sure that your colors are accommodating to your entire audience, make sure that they have a fair amount of contrast between them.
A good way to do this is to remove the color and view your material in black and white. Can you still tell the colors apart? Is the difference between them still clear? If so, your colors are contrasted well.
A Note on Matching Colors
If you are planning on using more than one color (other than black and white) for your brand and are unsure how to pair them, consult your designer or a color wheel (below).
Here are the three basic rules on matching colors:
First, the two colors opposite each other on the color wheel are natural compliments, for example.
Second, any two or more colors that are immediately next to one another are monochromatic, and also go together but be careful of your contrast when using them.
Third, you may use three colors that are compliments; here’s how you find them:
Directly on top of the color wheel, draw an imaginary triangle that spans the wheel itself. The colors where each point of your triangle falls are called, split-compliments and also work nicely together.