Sunday, October 28, 2012

How Color Impacts Your Company's Branding

There are several large companies that can be identified just by their brand colors or color combinations. When you think Home Depot, you automatically think orange. Mention Dunkin Donuts and everyone can visualize the exact pink and orange hues in their logo. See a brown truck pulling into the driveway, you know it is UPS even before you see the name on the vehicle. Smaller businesses can learn a lesson from these corporate giants by using color effectively and strategically in their brand messaging. A brand’s strength lies in its ability to pop and which colors you chose for your business is an important decision

I like to chose interesting and unique color combinations when designing a company logo. It really makes a business stand out from a crowd and get noticed in today’s competitive marketplace. For instance, not every attorney has to have navy or burgundy logos. There are lots of green or grey hues that are not only professional and conservative but striking as well. Think outside the box! Dare I even say that a regal purple would work quite well too! You may be surprised. If the corporate symbol is very conservative, interesting colors might be just the thing to kick it up a notch so people take notice. Conversely, if the design is a little more bold, I would probably suggest a more conservative color palette. It is all about the balance - looking professional yet forward thinking.

I also advise clients to use their brand colors on everything that they put in front of clients or potential clients to achieve the highest impact. If it is a professional office, then make sure your colors are consistant on all stationery, brochures, and direct mail. Tie in the colors to your email marketing and website too. If your business is retail or restaurant use the colors in the decor, on shopping bags, menus, uniforms and promotional items too. Stay away from any colors that your biggest competitors are using to avoid any confusion.

Make sure that your color selection for your brand is appropriate for your company. It's hard to envision a sunny yellow being appropriate for a funeral home or a drab brown for a restaurant. There are all types of data available on the psychological responses to colors but keep in mind that color is also very subjective and not everyone has the same responses. Also, the hue and intensity of a color can make all the difference. When you think green you might think nature and calmness, but if it is a neon green it can be quite jarring and have the opposite effect.

Color selection is vital when branding your company, but be aware that even the best color choices will not save a logo that is poorly designed. In preliminary design concept meetings with clients, I always prefer to show clients designs in black and white first. If the concept works great in black and white (which is important for faxes, newspaper ads etc.) then color selection becomes the icing on the cake. Plan something delicious with your branding and people will take notice!

By guest blogger Michele Kelly
Principal of Graphicways Design
Orange, CT