Never paint a nursery yellow

Never paint your nursery yellow - image for article by Greg Alder

Did you know that people who work in predominantly green environments have fewer stomach aches?

Too much exposure to red creates anxiety, increases your heart rate and provokes anger. That’s why you see red.

If grey is a dominant colour in your office, it will have an unsettling effect on you. For anxious and depressed people, grey is the colour that expresses their mood.

The colour blue can curb your appetite.

Blue also creates a sense of security and trust. That’s why it’s the default colour for business. GE, Dell, IBM, HP, Ford, GM, Deutsche Bank, Boeing, Philips, Intel, PayPal, Unilever and Barclays have blue logos. A third of all businesses use blue as their corporate colour.

If you were launching a bank today, you might be tempted to create a blue logo to instil trust. However, in a sea of blue, would you stand out?

Besides, blue is a colour associated with depression. Why do you think blues music is called the blues?

If you want to be different, what colour would you choose?

Orange? It communicates a confident and friendly brand. In a sector that lacks friendliness, that could be exactly what customers want.

Orange stimulates oxygen supply to your brain, increasing mental activity. That could be brilliant for your staff.

Not so fast, though. Orange can also be seen as aggressive. And impulsive. Not ideal characteristics in the banking sector.

How about green? Green symbolises growth and money. It’s subconsciously associated with wealth. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect colour for a bank.

On the other hand, green is a symbol of fertility. In chakra, it represents unconditional love. Green M&Ms reportedly make people feel sexy.

You might want customers to love your bank. But not in a physical way.

So, how about purple, the colour associated with royalty. (Why? Because purple dye used to be very expensive, and therefore only affordable to the aristocracy and the church.) As a result, purple is the colour associated with wealth, spirituality, experience and wisdom.

That’s on the good side. The bad side of purple is that it also connotes luxury, extravagance, ambition and pride – not positive traits for a bank.

Yellow? Healthy and happy people gravitate towards yellow. Yellow is cheerful, youthful, optimistic and warm. It stimulates the nervous system and the release of serotonin.

However, yellow causes fatigue. Not an ideal environment for your staff. Researchers discovered that babies cry more in yellow rooms.

What about black? There’s no colour more sophisticated than black. The little mauve dress was never going to succeed as a style icon. The downside of black? It’s the colour of fear and grief. It also connotes expensiveness.

Red? It’s the colour of love. Think roses and hearts. However, red is the colour of danger, negativity and mistakes. It’s Donald Trump.

Why this exploration of colour? Because too few business owners give colour enough thought. They choose a logo colour because they like it. Not because it expresses their brand’s personality. Not because it symbolises their environmental focus. Not because it represents their commitment to natural ingredients.

Logos often get designed before a business owner has defined the brand’s purpose, attributes, benefits and values. They’re often designed without any regard for company culture. They’re often designed without considering the owner’s personality, or vision.

There’s rarely any thought for what motivates audiences or staff before choosing corporate colours or office décor.

If you already have a logo for your business, take an impartial, objective look at it. Ask yourself if it represents your brand’s ethics. Ask if it captures your point of difference. Ask if it aligns with how your customers feel about your business. Or how you’d like them to feel.

If it doesn’t, change it. A logo or corporate colour palette at odds with your brand will hold you back.

Nearly 85% of consumers cite colour as the main reason they buy a product.

Up to 90% of the instant subconscious assessment consumers make about your brand is based on colour.

What does your brand’s colour say to your audience?

Photo by Nynne Schrøder via Unsplash

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