Color in Design: Why Color Matters in Marketing

The impact of color in design, from emotion to consumer response

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For the next several blogs, we will dive into some key elements of graphic design and discuss how they influence your target audience. First, we take a look at color in design and why it’s about so much more than choosing colors you personally like.

As the team at Canva explains, color choice can have an impact on your audience at both a conscious and subconscious level:

“...choosing colors for a design is both highly subjective and, at times, highly scientific. So where does that leave designers who just want a color palette that looks nice or makes a client happy? Like it or not, the most effective color choices go beyond just personal preference — because colors have an extraordinary ability to influence mood, emotions, and perceptions; take on cultural and personal meaning; and attract attention, both consciously and subconsciously.”

Color choice is just one reason why working with an experienced graphic designer can help you convey your intended message to your target market. You don’t want to accidentally turn off your potential buyers because of something as simple as color. Trust us, it happens.

Creating a Brand Color Palette

If you browse our client portfolio, you will see a number of multifamily brands with distinctly different styles and personas. For most of these, you will see color swatches that make up each brand’s main color palette.

Take these two color palettes for example:

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These two brands both target potential renters in vibrant and thriving cities. They both target savvy buyers who want a luxury living experience. However, these two brands have a different approach to how they market to their potential buyers:

  • West Line Flats (the monochromatic teal palette) seeks to attract sophisticated, urban dwellers in the Denver market. This color palette conveys sophistication because it uses a variety of depth and value rather than a variety of different colors. It’s modern, rich and clean, much like the property’s contemporary atmosphere.

  • The Modera brand, on the other hand, includes 10 different colors. This broader palette allows each property within the brand to adopt a color scheme that fits in with the overall corporate brand, but reflects each market’s unique personality. This brand’s target renter is fashionable and classy, but comfortable. The vibrant colors tell the brand’s fashion and art story, while the neutrals help ground it and make it approachable.

Psychology of Color

Colors do not affect each person in the same way, of course, as Canva points out:

“...not everyone thinks about or experiences color in the same way. The meaning and symbolism we associate with different colors are influenced a great deal by the cultural and societal groups we identify with.”

However, in our American culture, we can draw some generalizations about the emotions and responses specific colors evoke. For example:

  • Yellow: Warm, happy, cheerful
  • Red: Powerful, exciting, dangerous
  • Purple: Regal, wise, creative
  • Blue: Dependable, honest, secure
  • Green: Peaceful, kind, natural

People often judge a brand or product first by its color. According to one study, “...researchers found that up to 90 percent of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone, depending on the product.”

In addition to an individual’s emotional response to a color, research shows that consumers respond best to colors that seem appropriate for the product. For example, an orange juice brand that uses oranges and yellows tends to fare better than one using other colors.

As writer Gregory Ciotti explains in a piece on color psychology:

“When it comes to picking the ‘right’ color, research has found that predicting consumer reaction to color appropriateness is far more important than the individual color itself. If Harley owners buy the product in order to feel rugged, colors that work best will play to that emotion.”

(Hint: Harley’s orangey-yellow logo says it’s rugged, in addition to other branding cues.)

How Après Uses Color

Playing with color has to be one of our team’s favorite aspects of marketing design. A logo or a website can have a drastically different mood and personality if we change nothing but the color.

We spend a lot of time working with our clients to hone in on just the right keywords to describe both the brand and its target customers. Those words help inform our color choices right from the beginning. If you see your brand as fun and playful, we probably won’t choose royal blue for you. If your clients want creativity and a sense of luxe when entering your space, maybe we’ll opt for a shade of purple.

Our work with color comes from years of training, experience and gut instinct. We know what works, and it’s an incredible feeling when we look at a final color palette with a client and we all think, “Yes! Yes, that’s it. There it is.”

Of course, there’s a lot more to design than color, and we’ll get into some of those other components in the next few blogs.

To learn more about Après Creative’s approach to multifamily marketing and design, contact us.