I’ve written a few websites for some great start-up companies lately and I’m pleased to see increasing awareness of the importance of colour in communicating the right message to the target audience.
On emailing over the final web-page wordage, I’ve been asked a number of times for my views on what should be the dominant colour of the yet-to-be-built website.
Since I’ve always loved the interplay of colour and imagery with words, I dive right in with ‘Richard Of York Gained Battle In Vain’ as an aide memoire for my potted insight into the psychology of colour…
“Red: Exciting, intense, youthful
Orange: Playful, friendly, confident
Yellow: Happy, warm, optimistic
Green: Healthy, soothing, restful
Blue: Calming, trustworthy, reliable
Indigo, violet (purple): Sophisticated, spiritual, wise…”
And then the curved ball arrives. The new company logo has already been designed and it doesn’t feature the colour I’m recommending. It’s already on the letterhead and business cards.
Awkward. I add that it’s not a perfect science and trust that I’ve not caused too much concern. I extol the virtues of white open spaces, a minimalist approach to colour, complementary colour schemes and the use of a nice accent colour. Egg on face.
Lesson learnt. From now on I’m first going to ask whether the logo’s been finalised yet, before I get all excited going on about colour. There is though an important lesson to be gleaned. Colour psychology starts with the logo and not with a website.
Consider some of the most well known global brands, say Apple, BP, Coca Cola, Dell, you don’t need to guess the most dominant colour of their websites. You know their logos and what colour they are.
There’s an expectation of how their websites will appear therefore and more often than not, it’s fulfilled. Everyone’s happy.
The human eye’s colour receptors are red, green and blue and we’ve more of the red ones. No surprise a stop light’s red then. Then there’s natural associations to take into account, ‘green is trees’ etc. and more cultural effects, ‘red is danger’ in the West and ‘red is luck’ in the East etc. So there is actually some science to consider.
A quick Google on the topic reveals apparently that anywhere between 60% and 90% (true?) of our decision to buy a product is based on colour. You know it’s serious stuff when Cadbury continue to protect its trademark purple colour (pantone 2685C) with unregistered rights. And we all know Harrods’ green, that’s protected too.
A company’s identity and personality is though clearly not all down to colour. What you say, and in what tone of voice you say it, is equally important in establishing the right brand perception in the eyes of the beholder.
And there is of course the small matter of the type of product or service a company sells, its quality and standing, the publics it’s being sold to. Colour though clearly has an increasingly important role to play and it merits some close consideration.