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  • Writer's pictureNat Sharp

5 colours that help you sell more

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

Colourful chalks

The importance of choosing the right colour in your brand and marketing

Colour can be very powerful, for a variety of reasons. As early as 40,000 years ago artists used a mixture of soil, animal fat to depict pictures.

We often take colours for granted, having a preference for one or the other, yet anyone who enjoys going to an art gallery knows, different hues create different emotional effects.

Since colour increases brand and logo recognition by 80%, businesses need to harness the power of colour. Many brands even create their own unique colour and trademark it, it is that important.

Furthermore, 85% of shoppers say that colour is the primary reason for buying a product. And with 66% of people saying they won’t buy certain appliances unless it comes in their preferred colour, it is time to pay attention to colour.

With over 16.7 million colours to choose from, the choice is endless. However, it is best to stick to three core colours and use a mix of shades and textures in your brand and marketing than overpower the reader with too made colours.

Hugh Enockson of Enockson Design advises “Colour should be an integral part of a design,​not an afterthought. “The elements of design - images, motion, scale, texture, light, style, typography, and colour, ​are all thought of simultaneously as they relate to the branding and communication goals," says Enockson. "All of these elements, as well as colour, should support a strong concept.”

The key here is to identify the message and understand the core values of your business by working on your brand positioning.

I’ve picked out five top-performing colours that can be used to promote sales and boost your brand.

1. Blue - trust and reliability

Boat sailing on blue sea

A regal colour, blue has an air of sophistication and elegance associated with royalty, military, business and nature. This colour has a deep history, being first used in the form of blue azurite, a rich mineral, as decoration for Egyptian jewellery.

Research shows that blue remains top in the opinion polls in the UK, and remains the favourite colour of Brits in 2020 with 29% of the votes. It is associated with the ideas of calmness and soothing serenity, probably because this reminds us of the sea, and is also the colour or clear communication, efficiency and trust.

2. Red - elegant, rich and refined

Red roses

Red provokes our strongest emotions. It's scientifically proven to increase our heart rate and blood pressure.

The colour of power, red has long been synonymous with ‘sales’, with shop sale racks festooned with red sale tags, but this colour is much more than that.

Associated through history with vitality and celebration, it's considered the colour of intense emotions such as love. In many Asian countries, red is synonymous with happiness, wellbeing and good fortune.

In marketing, a darker shade of red tends to be used to reflect luxury and professionalism, with a burgundy a sign of sophistication. Brighter more vivid reds signal excitement and energy like Vodafone.

It has been said that red stimulates hunger, which may be why it is so popular with fast food brands - think Coca-Cola, McDonald's. But it is also useful with engendering a notion of speed and energy which is why it is often used in call to actions on websites and signage.

3. Green - eco-friendly, supportive, community-minded

Green butterfly

A great colour for its distinctive ties with nature and the great outdoors. Coming from the anglo Saxon word 'grene’ meaning "grow" or "grass" it has long been seen as the colour of freshness, health and wellbeing, new birth, luck and hope.

This colour will bring an air of balance and calm to the viewer, it is a popular colour of hospitals and waiting rooms. Lighter hues of green promote soft, tranquillity, innocence and inexperience, with darker and deeper styles invoking ideas of success, wealth and money and olive-y tones having a sense of strength and tenacity. Vibrant limes give off energy and youthful playfulness.

Green makes an ideal background and can have soothing effects on our vision.

4. Black - sophisticated, classic, modern, serious

Black cat

Technically not even a colour, black, like white, is an achromatic colour. This is a colour without hue, so there is no variation of the pure colour of black. It is the darkest colour of all due to its absorption of all light.

Again this colour has a long history dating back to the beginning of colour in art, being one of the first recorded colours. Over many iterations of its meaning, black has now been settled as the symbol of elegance and simplicity, primarily by the fashion industry.

Able to depict ideas of sophistication, mystery and confidence, it is a popular choice and has become a staple for the sports industry too. This makes sense, with its ability to demonstrate power, elitism and strength. Many also associate it with intelligence - judges and graduates both wear black robes.

Plain black logos have been winners in the luxury world, with brands such as Coco Chanel using striking imagery to promote luxury, elegance and status.

Black should be used sparingly, however, as it easily overwhelms audiences and is often used with a contrasting bright colour.

5. Orange - fairness, fun, energetic

Orange sunrise through cave mouth

A true favourite of mine, clearly as Sharp Thinking Marketing went 'Orange' from the start. It has an attention-grabbing quality that alerts the viewer to its presence. Vibrant and plucky orange is a sunshine colour that radiates positivity.

Orange didn’t used to have a name back in the late 15th century, where Europeans would simply refer to it as ‘yellow-red’, until the orange tree was introduced and the name was born. It has come a long way since then.

It has many tones and can evoke different feelings. Lighter softer shades being conversational, sweet and friendly, whereas darker, more intense tones having an air of vitality and energy. Amber tones give a sense of ambition and adventure.

Orange can also be associated with affordability and value for money with low-cost airlines such as EasyJet using a very heavy branding strategy with their bright orange.

Orange is an impactful colour for online ordering. Orange attracts our eye without warning or overwhelming us so is a natural choice for e-commerce sites. Be aware though that orange looks different on print to online, so you need to be careful to colour match as closely as possible.

Colour emotion guide

I just love this colour emotion guide developed by the Logo Company. Think about your brand and the communications you use. What colour does your brand say about you?

Colour emotion guide infographic

Picking a colour

So make sure you give it some thought when picking a colour, there is a science to it. There is also much guidance on colours not to use, specifically on websites where screens can distort the look. So make sure you give it some thought and make your decisions wisely to ensure you are giving off the right impression.

Discover more on the meaning of colour in branding, how to create brand guidelines for your business, and 5 tips to refresh your website.

Or please don't hesitate to get in touch if you would like help to develop a brand or marketing strategy for your business.

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