Choosing Logo and Signage Colours
We are primed to respond to colour as historically, our survival has depended on it since the colour of certain plants and animals dictates how safe they are for us. Colour shapes our thoughts on a conscious and on a subliminal level and this has its advantages when it comes to choosing logo and signage colours in the business world.
We know from marketing research that consumers are heavily influenced by colour and form when making choices. This influence is swift and the processing is automatic. Because of this rapid perception, colour is used in road signs to communicate a range of information. We react more quickly to the colour red in a stop sign than the word ‘stop’ itself. This phenomenon can be utilised to effect any business in a positive way through the use of colour in logo design and signage. The right colour fascia and sign with a well-designed logo will draw customers and clients in.
There are some universal rules for choosing the right colour for your business, but there are also individual differences. Because various groups of consumers have diverse responses to a particular colour, if you select the wrong colour for your business including logo and signage on your premises, you could end up driving a group of customers away. At the same time if you get it right in terms of colour, you could motivate people to choose your business over a competitor who doesn’t have your superior knowledge.
If you are thinking about choosing a particular colour for a logo and sign then it is worth considering the following guidelines:
Because of its precise, strong and powerful associations, black is a wise choice for the oil, manufacturing and construction industry. Brown is also a useful colour in construction (as well as for ecological companies, real estate and any organisations working with animals) because of its earthy, nurturing and reliable connotations. Some qualities do overlap. Natural, nurturing, youthful and calming green is best for ecological type organisations, medicine, science, tourism and human resources. Blue is often used in the legal, corporate, IT, scientific and healthcare sectors because of its clean, credible and calming qualities. We often see purple signage and logos for products and services evoking well-being and healing because of its link with mystery, magic, religion and sensuality.
Moving further around the colour wheel, the dynamic, energetic, creative and child-like connotations of orange is best utilised in sports, education, childcare, entertainment and recruitment. The responses to yellow are similar to those regarding orange with the additional characteristics of positivity, brightness and encouragement. Consequently, this colour is also appropriate for the childcare and entertainment industries as well as food and drink, car dealerships and ecommerce. Red conjures up danger, hunger, warmth and excitement and so it is ideal for signage advertising food, sports, entertainment, public relations and the emergency services.
The associations certain colours have with how they can be utilised in branding has been researched extensively. The founder of The Colour Research Institute, Louis Cheskin was a psychologist who made great marketing breakthroughs in the mid twentieth century and he wrote about the power of colours and shapes in his book ‘Why People Buy’. His research still influences marketing decisions today.
Cheskin stated that colours are symbolic with different associations and can be used effectively to represent brands and thus increase sales. The way a consumer perceives products and services is directly related to colour and design and it is this ‘sensation transference’ that you can consider when choosing the colour or colours to reflect your business perfectly.
This technique within colour recognition theory has been utilised commercially for years. Cadburys chocolate even trademarked Pantone 2865c having used this particular shade of purple for over 100 years. Because the association of this colour purple with chocolate is so strong, somebody seeing a purple object completely unrelated to chocolate may be subconsciously reminded of chocolate and buy a Cadburys product without even knowing why.
The meaning of colour and its influence is not just about consumer preferences it is also about context and association. Is your company located in one region? If so, the predominant culture should be accounted for because research has highlighted the influence of cultural backgrounds on colour preference. No matter what their race, people from the same regions will prefer the same colours. It is worth remembering that colour preferences found in one region may differ from another within the same country. Even with these regional differences, there are cross-cultural similarities concerning the association of particular emotional states with colours such as red being linked with strength and activity.
A bold and heavily saturated colour like red will grab attention, but can seem brash whereas softer tones suggest sophistication, though they are prone to fading into the background. Women tend to prefer muted tones and men deeper shades, but both genders are drawn to fleshy tones. Children gravitate towards primary colours, but this preference changes over time whereas adult tastes in colour tend to be inflexible.
Bearing in mind these complexities of colour psychology, how do you know when it’s time to take the plunge and change your logo and signage?
If you feel that your logo and signage doesn’t represent your company appropriately then a rebrand may be in order. Furthermore, if you simply don’t like it then chances are other people won’t either. With so much competition in the marketplace, your company needs to stand out and if it doesn’t, it may be worth changing how it looks. Signage might need to be updated either because it is old fashioned or the organisation has outgrown the design. Sometimes the physical metalwork on the exterior of a property has deteriorated and this can be a good time to reassess branding along with refurbishing the whole façade. After choosing logo and signage colours, a good on site paint spraying company can re-spray signage fascias on any commercial building.