The Fundamentals of Colour Theory Part 3 - How Colour Theory Impacts Consumer Behaviour

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

So now that you are a master of colour theory, how can you use this knowledge to promote a better impact on the behaviour of your consumers? With all of this new knowledge of colour theory in mind, what messages are you trying to convey to your potential customers? Which colour best suits your brand’s personality? Which one best encapsulates your company products or services?

The thing is there is no one-size-fits-all approach. One person’s reaction to a colour may be completely different to another person’s reaction due to personal influences, fashion ideals and preferences. We all have a favourite colour right? There are also different reactions based on culture. For example, white is a symbol of purity, cleanliness and simplicity in the West. However in Asia, it is often the colour of mourning. Something so seemingly simple such as as placing a gift in white wrapping might result in the recipient thinking of their own demise. The concept of green energy or an eco-friendly approach may not also be communicated in Asia in the way you might think. Whilst green is usually a safe choice for apparel, if you wish to avoid becoming a laughing stock in China avoid producing green hats at all costs!

Time also affects our perceptions. Millions of years of evolution have seen us react subconsciously in different ways to different colours. Red for example has evolved as the colour of passion and love (think red roses on Valentine’s Day) because of its association with fire, warmth and blood. But this also means perceptions of particular colours can change over time. Red was considered to be the colour for boys and blue for girls before World War 2!

With these caveats in mind though, there are a number of givens that creative agencies and designers understand as the secrets behind the language of colour. But before appointing a graphic designer to design your brand identity, think about your company’s personality and goals. Expect your graphic designer or advertising agency to discuss your company’s goals with you and the different target markets you are striving to reach.

Your designer will then be in a better place to design your marketing material and your overall corporate identity around a single colour, a pair of matched colours or a range that will appeal to your customer base.

With 93 percent of buying decisions based on visual judgement (Fohlio), the right colour combinations are vital. The secrets of how colours speak to us — and the various emotional responses they trigger — is one that great designers understand.

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