Villing & Company

The Color of Marketing

News item #1: Google announces study about effect of color on consumer purchasing decision.

New item #2: Pantone reveals Marsala (Pantone 18-1438) as color of year for 2015.

The role of color in marketing is hardly breaking news. And while sociologists, behaviorists, neurologists and other "-ists" can tell us about the emotional or psychological effects of certain colors, it will be interesting to see what Google has discovered. Reportedly, the study is still in the early stages. Stay tuned.

For sure, color has influenced marketing decisions for over a century. Did you know that Coca-Cola's use of the color red was originally intended to help distinguish its barrels from those used by beer companies? And Tiffany blue originated with its 1950s promotional "Blue Book". By the way, Coke and Tiffany have trademarked their iconic colors – as have other brands like Home Depot and UPS.

Color choices made by major marketers certainly play a role in molding public perception of their product or service. Black connotes luxury and sophistication. Pink reflects femininity, especially on the youthful side of the gender. Yellow and orange suggest urgency. And we believe it is no coincidence that green is the color associated with Starbucks, which is based in Seattle, a quintessentially green city (although gray also comes to mind).

All this goes beyond the classical marketing mantra, "Red gets read." Here is what the experts tell us are the significant characteristics of primary colors from a marketing perspective:

  • Yellow represents optimism and youthfulness. It shows clarity and is used to grab the attention of window shoppers.
  • Blue creates a sense of security and trust in a brand. It is often used in corporate business because it is perceived as productive and non-invasive.
  • Orange signifies aggression and creates a sense of action. It also represents a friendly, cheerful, confident brand.
  • Green has a calming effect. Not surprisingly, it is associated with wealth. And it is a symbol of fertility, which may be why (little known fact) it was the preferred choice for wedding gowns in the 15th century.
  • Purple represents a creative, imaginative or wise brand. It is often used in beauty and anti-aging products.
  • Red increases heart beat. That might explain why it is used by restaurants to stimulate appetite or in retail establishments to influence impulsive shoppers.

For the record, we are not making this stuff up. There is a great infographic from WebpageFX, which is the source for these color attributions.

That brings up back to the wonderful folks at Pantone who have been influencing designers and printers for years, but have only recently been sharing their colorful wisdom directly with consumers. They tell us that Marsala is the "it" choice in 2015 for fashion, beauty, interiors and graphic design. We'll let them explain:

"While PANTONE 18-3224 Radiant Orchid, the captivating 2014 color of the year, encouraged creativity and innovation, Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors."

There you have it – THE color of marketing for 2015. Or at least until we hear otherwise from Google.

Filed Under: creative

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