Why the Right Colour is Crucial on Building Exteriors
We perceive colours more quickly and from a much greater distance than we can process words or images. Emergency services have been counting on this speed of colour recognition for years where colour is utilised to ensure we recognise a vehicle more quickly than we would if we had to rely on the words ‘fire’ or ‘police’ alone. We investigate why the right colour is crucial on building exteriors.
You can take advantage of this phenomenon in your business by effectively using colour on the exterior of your building to captivate customers more quickly than if you depend solely on the name of your company. This is partly because the influence of colour is usually an automatic process in that colour captures people’s attention subconsciously before they consciously pay attention to it.
Colour is not only automatically evaluated once it has been perceived by a person, but the process of evaluating hue then forces a change in behaviour.
The exterior of your building may well be the first encounter a customer has with your company, so it’s crucial you grab their interest especially if you are competing with other businesses on the same street or in a shopping centre. We all know that external characteristics need to attract customers and even though this is obvious, a surprising number of businesses get it wrong and inadvertently repel them.
Research has shown that particular colours on commercial shop fronts can encourage customers to enter into the building and this is the first step to increasing your profit. If you want your business to stand out in a crowded street, choosing a colour scheme that has a big impact is a way of ensuring your business isn’t overlooked. Not only is hue important for attracting the attention of the passer by, it also influences their buying behaviour, but before randomly slapping on some left over paint onto your building it is important to understand some basic principles underlying colour psychology.
Colour can have meaning and this meaning is either learnt or biologically innate. Built in preferences for colour is thought to be instilled through the way we have evolved in particular surroundings, consequently blue is reminiscent of the sea and green of grasslands, so there are certain colours that have a more universal appeal. However, individuals are also influenced by factors specific to them such as their environment, culture, religion, nationality, gender and their past experiences which in turn dictate the psychological effect of colour on them. In order to maximise the number of customers utilising your service it is crucial you match the colour of your building to the characteristics of your ideal consumer because different colours will appeal to various groups of people and not to others.
Even though there are individual preferences when it comes to colour, it is the association that colour has with particular products or services that is most important. If a colour is inappropriately linked with a product or service then a customer is likely to be repelled from the business, however if used wisely colour can tap into subconscious associations with particular goods or services. This is why health food shops are often painted green to provoke the association with vegetables. A travel agent painted in cobalt blue is reminiscent of an azure Mediterranean sky and crystal clear sea. A violet spa would work in invoking regal and spiritual associations triggered by purple and shops selling fine wines are often painted red because of the strong association with red wine. Gender can certainly be an issue and a bridal shop painted in pastel pink is unashamedly feminine.
Not only is it possible to piggy back on branding that already has strong associations and tap into markets by using colours that have been used in other successful brands, your brand can also be reflected by more than one colour. It is important to remember that a colour combined with others can have a totally different impact than that colour on its own. On the whole, consumers have a preference for colours with similar hues or a combination of colours that are nearby on the colour wheel such as a pale blue with a darker blue. Nevertheless, a brand name that is in a contrasting colour can have a greater impact and contrasting colours for branding are preferred by some people. However, because fewer prefer contrasting hues on the colour wheel than those who prefer similar colour combinations, the prevailing advice is to keep the number of visible colours to a minimum.
If you do decide on a combination of colours then you also need to consider the position of heavier and lighter shades. It is not simply the actual colour used, but where the colour is placed on the building that is influential. It is usually more aesthetically pleasing to paint darker colours nearer the base of the building and lighter colours higher up as it helps to make the building look grounded.
This is known as ‘architectural order’. ‘Typographical order’ changes the weighting by placing a heavier colour at the top. This is ideal for a shop wanting to emphasise their brand by creating the effect of a banner above the entrance.
Whatever the decisions, the investment in the exterior of a business will be worth it. A neat exterior, positive signage and the perfect use of colour will directly attract your clients or consumers into your premises which is important for developing business.