Part 4 of a series on “Defining Online Branding“, by Mihaela Lica, talks about “Color Psychology”. This is powerful stuff and Mihaela makes some very good points about the impact of color. HOWEVER, if you read this article as a layman and are seriously in the process of reconsidering the development of your brand, you’re likely going to:
- Create a light colored background
- Settle for an airy layout
- Use a primarily blue logo (not too dark) … Unless you’re in the hospitality or food industry where you’d go with green
- Avoid oranges and reds altogether
This strategy would lead to a complete lack of differentiation. The choice of colors in the development of brand is as wide and varied as the companies themselves and the people running them. IN FACT, I would be so bold as to say that creatively breaking the mold is more powerful than any strategy that dilutes impact or the strength of a powerful emotional connection.
So, how would I modify these suggestions? Instead of
“Green, in its various shades, is perfect
for the hospitality industry, food industry (especially for BIO
products) cosmetic (if we consider Yves Rocher and Garnier) and ecology.”
I’d say something like;
Cool hues of green can be used effectively to support calming emotional connections such as health, innocence, simplicity, a lack of chaos and for companies wanting to create a feeling of strong customer service. As the green becomes more saturated, it would increase in energy and would lend itself to more energetic emotional connections such as vigor, youthfulness, playful activity and for companies wanting to emphasize the service delivery experience … not so much soothing customer service.
Notice the complete lack of mentioning any particular industry! It is not only possible for a company to go WILDLY astray (from the norm in their industry) in the development of corporate brand, I would suggest that it’s the only way to clearly differentiate yourself from the pack. It would be perfectly sound for a hospitality company to create an energetic, orangy-red color palette in development of a brand that connects with a “you’ll have fun when you work with us” emotion.
Mihaela soundly informs us that “color is probably one of the most powerful psychological tools” we have. I suggest using it to steer your brand toward a powerful emotional connection, but don’t knee-jerk ANY brand element just because that’s the norm in your industry!
Need an example? Did you ever hear of Aflac before the duck? Who would have ever suggested portraying a conservative insurance service in such a wacky, playful manner. The talking duck works because it’s not the norm.
What about red, green and purple computers? Apple was bold enough to create them when the norm for every other computer manufacturer on the planet was grey and black. BRAVO Apple!
Last example … Creating our own heavily textured, black background, with unique torn-paper navigation is probably the best brand move we’ve ever made …€” emphasizing bold, creative “trickster-like” emotional connections. We get more comments about it (some hate it …€“ most love it) than any of the hundreds of sites we’ve created in 15 years. I truly believe that with a vanilla design, we would not have experienced the 500%+ increase in revenues that we saw this past year!
NO MORE VANILLA! Gimme the pistachio, rocky-road, double fudge with ALL the fixin’s!!!