The right colours for your business

Choosing the right colours for your small business can be important decision. Get it right and you can help create a consistent and professional image. Get it wrong and you can confuse and even alienate customers.

The reason why colour is so important for businesses is deeply rooted in psychology. Psychologists, designers, artists and others have long known that colour can influence and affect people. For example, most people feel calmer in a blue room or blue surrounds; the same people may feel energetic, provocative and possibly aggressive if the colour is changed to red.

Here is a list of the major colours and their affect and influence on people:

  • Blue is strongly linked to the sky and sea, is serene and universally well-liked. Blue is a popular choice for financial institutions as it conveys stability.
  • Red is aggressive, energetic, provocative and attention-grabbing.
  • Green is generally linked to health, freshness and serenity. Darker greens are associated with wealth or prestige while light greens are calming.
  • Yellow is associated with the sun and communicates optimism, positivity, light and warmth.
  • Purple is a colour favoured by creative types and evokes mystery, sophistication, spirituality and royalty.
  • Pink is associated with energy, youthfulness, fun and excitement when used in hot tones. Lighter pinks are linked with romance.
  • Orange is exuberance, fun and vitality and is viewed as gregarious and often childlike.
  • Brown is an earthy colour that conveys simplicity, durability and stability.
  • Black is serious, bold, powerful and classic. It creates drama and connotes sophistication.
  • White is simplicity, cleanliness and purity.

With the knowledge that colours can influence and affect people, you can choose colours for your business that will subconsciously convey a message to customers and potential customers. Therefore, colours can be a powerful business and marketing communications tool.

Want to convey stability? Blue can be a good choice. Want to attract younger people to your business, particularly younger females? Consider using pink as part of your colour range. (Take a look at this article on ‘Colour Meaning in Business’ for a more thorough examination of colours and their use in business.)

It’s important to remember, however, that the affects of colour on people can be personal and based on many factors. One of these factors, for example, is cultural. Most brides in western cultures wear white to denote purity; in some eastern cultures white is the colour for mourning. Similarly, black in western cultures is the colour of evil (think of the grim reaper); in many eastern cultures black is considered lucky or successful.

Therefore a colour that attracts one customer to your business may have another one running in the opposite direction. That’s why, as with many key decisions in your business, it’s vital to know your target customer and choose colours that will attract them.

Once you have chosen the colours for your business, remember to use them consistently throughout. Use the colours in your logo, signs, uniforms, business cards and other marketing material. If you have a retail presence, use the colours in your shop signage. Doing so will help create a consistent and professional image for your small business that will attract and influence your target customer.

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