Picture courtesy of Mark Mawson

By Syahiirah Junaidi

The world is more than just 50 shades of grey. There a different hues and mix of colours with names we rarely hear. There’s cerulean, heliotrope, glaucous, zaffre, nadeshiko pink, ochre and so many more. Using colours in your marketing strategy is an added advantage, since it is a powerful element to get customer’s attention and interest, and it might just provoke their desire and action.

Why we see colours

It’s very interesting how different wavelengths emitted by objects can influence our thought processes and decision-making. Our brain interpreted these wavelengths as different colours in the spectrum; thanks to the light-sensitive photoreceptors inside our eyes that capture light waves. These highly differentiated cells are called rods and cones and when waves reach them, they send signals to the brain, which then interpret them as the many colours we see in front of us right now.

Colours in consumer personality

Purchase is not always a logical decision. Many times it is driven by emotions or social influences. Colours can change our mood and emotions without us noticing it. Psychologists and marketing experts have found out that colours affect us more deeply than we think, though the meaning and usage behind it might differ according to culture and generation. White is worn for weddings in the West, but is also worn in traditional Korean funerals, for example.

According to marketing expert Bernice Kanner and website designer Paula Kaminska, several of these colours are associated with certain personalities:

Blue: Commands respect, authority. Their shades include navy and turquoise. Dark shades of blue are often used in business-related website, signifying hardworking and ambitious qualities. Blue-packaged coffee is perceived as mild.

Yellow: Caution, novelty, temporary, warmth. It’s the colour that warns traffic and painted in many road signs, because the eye registers this wavelength fastest. It is a colour that commands attention and energy, therefore too much of it can cause fatigue and confusion in used in one design. Yellow-packaged coffee is seen as ‘weak’.

Green: Secure, natural, relaxed and easy-going, life. This colour is synonymous than none other than nature, but it also gives the feeling of a good work environment. Selling fresh food items or feminine products with this colour can give out a sense of organic and natural stimulants to customers.

Red: Exciting, hot, passionate, strong. Its associates, pink and orange, also gives out the same emotions. These colours are energetic and friendly. It makes food ‘smell’ better and increases appetites. Red-packaged coffee is perceived as ‘rich’.

Brown: Informal, relaxed, masculine, humble. Coffee in dark brown can is perceived as ‘too strong’. Men tend to seek products packaged in brown. Warm dark colours such as brown and plum emits classiness, tradition and luxury in web designs. They blend well in expensive and elegant designs for the rich.

White: Goodness, purity, chastity, refinement, formality. In food packaging, this colour suggests reduced calories and wholesomeness. In bath products, it suggests cleanliness and femininity.

Black: Sophistication, power, authority, mystery. The saying goes that ‘You never go bad in black’. It is a simple colour but has so many meaning attach to it that it can be used to either sell luxurious yet affordable items or even high-tech electronics.

Silver, platinum, gold: Regal, wealthy, stately. Jewelleries and high-end products usually use this colour to denote premium price. However, silver, platinum and grey can also be combined with other colours as support, delivering a classic look.

These colours might not guarantee the same result on every customer since again, it depends contextually and externally. Nevertheless, it is still useful to gain favourable reaction to the majority of customers. And mixing them is art, not science; there is no ideal combination and no perfect formula, the colours should just reflect what you what the customers to think about your product. In simple words, make colours communicate your identity and brand.

 Source: New York Magazine,


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