Color: Playing Favorites

pantone swatch

A lot of my clients say they know nothing about color in graphic design, and want me to make those choices. But when the time comes to choose from several logo options or to review a website design, they suddenly have fierce color preferences – proving that color can communicate.

Most people don’t think consciously about color; it affects us subliminally:

  • Green is soothing.
  • Blue is official and trustworthy – somewhat unemotional.
  • Red is exciting and a little dangerous.
  • Yellow can boost your mood.

Here’s a great infographic that goes into detail about what each color family means.

Who would have thought that orange would become the “it” color, now commonly used by tech and telecom companies?

The branding of orange has come a long way since KMart and schlock marketing. Pantone’s Tangerine Tango is described as “sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive” with an “adrenaline burst”. Still orange!

When talking color, you can’t get away from masculine and feminine connotations. Pinks, lavenders and purples are typically viewed as feminine and too soft for business. Blue is seen as the safe choice. Some companies think it’s the only choice.

But a color-preference study showed that purple was the #1 and #2 choice of all age groups. Used in context, pink and purple tones don’t have to convey “dainty”.

The next time you see a FedEx truck or package, take a closer look at their logo colors – purple combined with a red-hot orange. It’s become corporate-looking now.