Ahhh, color. What else in the design arsenal is as powerful and as dangerous as color?
Dangerous? Yes! When properly implemented, color can give your marketing materials a polished, cohesive look. But if you don’t handle color with care, your stuff will look terrible, or worse – be confusing.
Your Visual Message Should Speak the Same Language as Your Words
Color can support what you say in your marketing messages, or it can have an odd, disconcerting effect.
Here are some imaginary businesses. Can you pick the best color palette for each? [Hint: Visit this page for questions to ask about each group].
- Your business sells products to a high-end demographic group. These folks are big spenders who buy luxury items and are used to elegant environments. Which color palette do you choose?
- Your business is geared toward 18-24-year old males who devote every spare moment of their time to surfing. Which color palette will “speak” to these dudes?
Here’s one more: you have created a line of products you hope to sell to eco-conscious women in their 30s and 40s.
Were you able to see the best combinations? In all cases, the second color palette is more effective. The colors in the second group support and reinforce the marketing message because they appeal to what motivates the audience.
The high-end luxury buyers will associate rich, deep hues with quality. The surfer dudes see the ocean blues contrasted with bright color as a reflection of seaside living and excitement. The eco-conscious women equate green and brown with the environment they want to protect.
This isn’t science, of course, and you may have a different opinion. Do spend some time thinking about what colors naturally appeal to your audience. Make sure your colors “speak” the same language as your words, so that everything works together to communicate a cohesive message.
This is the fifth in a series of ten lessons called “Design 101.”
The next lesson will be about using white space, and why leaving some areas blank can be the best use of space.
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