The Purchase Power of Color

As visu­al crea­tures, we nat­u­ral­ly cre­ate con­nec­tions between brands and their col­or. Star­bucks has their green (PMS 3425 to be exact), Coca Cola uses red and we can cer­tain­ly con­nect sil­very-gray and stark white to the sleek design of Apple.

design, branding, strategic design, small business branding, color theory, brand colors

As infants we react­ed to col­or way before we learned how to read, and it stays with us through our life. Before peo­ple read your brand mes­sage, they reg­is­ter what they see. It’s wise to keep this top of mind as you cre­ate your brand  — and build brand recognition.

Get clear on what you want to com­mu­ni­cate visu­al­ly and then be con­sis­tent, as build­ing brand recog­ni­tion takes time.

The Purchase Power of Color

1. Capture Attention with Color

Col­or is a pow­er­ful way to con­vey your brand per­son­al­i­ty with­out words. Know­ing what your col­ors are com­mu­ni­cat­ing allows you to align your mes­sag­ing to appeal to your ide­al tar­get audience.

If you have been using col­or based sole­ly on what you like or because it seemed pret­ty, you’re like­ly miss­ing out. Every col­or — and col­or com­bi­na­tion — we use con­veys a mes­sage! Sev­er­al stud­ies show that col­or is a pow­er­ful on-the-spot deci­sion mak­er for brands. One study con­duct­ed by Singh, S. (2006) ‘Impact of col­or on mar­ket­ing’, Man­age­ment Deci­sion said that 62–90% of deci­sions are made based on color.

2. Increase Purchase Power

Let’s face it, every brand wants to stand out! Col­or not only helps you main­tain brand recog­ni­tion it also helps with sales. In anoth­er study con­duct­ed by Con­duct­ed by Xerox Cor­po­ra­tion and Inter­na­tion­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Research from Feb­ru­ary 19, 2003 to March 7, 2003, with a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.1%, 90% felt that col­or aids in cus­tomer acqui­si­tion, 92% believed that col­or links to stun­ning qual­i­ty and 81% felt col­or gave them a com­pet­i­tive edge!

3. Color, Status and Gender 

The his­to­ry of col­or through the ages is quite fas­ci­nat­ing once you begin to study it.  Col­or was once linked to sta­tus sym­bols, pri­mar­i­ly in cloth­ing. Some col­ors retained their sig­nif­i­cance because of its asso­ci­a­tions, For exam­ple, pur­ple became a sym­bol of roy­al­ty because it was so expen­sive to pro­duce that col­or in a gar­ment only the elite could afford it!  The same col­or can have  dif­fer­ent mean­ings depend­ing on the cul­ture in which it’s used.

4. Color and Emotion 

Col­or also affects our feel­ings. Hos­pi­tals paint walls in blue or green (and most sur­geons wear these col­or for scrubs) as they are proven to bring calm and relax­ation. Bright red stim­u­lates, yel­low ener­gizes, and so on.

Our NCD’s Col­or Guide will help you become aware of how col­ors still very much pro­voke mean­ing and emo­tion in our soci­ety, many of which are large­ly uncon­scious.  Some are uni­ver­sal, some are cul­tur­al, some apply to cer­tain gen­er­a­tions and not to oth­ers.  As such, it’s impor­tant to under­stand what col­ors elic­it in your cus­tomer demo­graph­ic and uti­lize them properly.

If col­or has such a pro­found impact on pur­chas­ing habits, would you con­sid­er learn­ing more about it?

About the Author

Nicte Cuevas, Principal of Nicte Creative Design, empowers mission-driven businesses through strategic design & branding. Nicte has applied this when working with Adobe Spark and Twitter Business, LinkedIn Learning, Dogs on Deployment and Purina, Girl Scouts, The Houston Zoo and The Contemporary Arts Museum. Her excellence in communication design & marketing has been recognized by multiple national / international awards, including a coveted feature in Graphic Design USA's People to Watch.

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  1. This was so inter­est­ing to read, par­tic­u­lar­ly the cus­toms of the past. I so agree and think it’s impor­tant to under­stand how col­or affects us. I would def­i­nite­ly love to know more and have a deep­er under­stand­ing of color!

  2. As a pho­tog­ra­ph­er who has dab­bled in design and teach­es com­put­er and tech­nol­o­gy to ele­men­tary school stu­dents, I am excit­ed to read through this again and digest it even more! Thanks for shar­ing! Excit­ed to browse through some of your oth­er arti­cles as well!

    1. Hi Anne Marie! Love that this res­onat­ed so much with you—especially as a teacher & pho­tog­ra­ph­er. I’ll be look­ing for­ward to what oth­er arti­cles you found help­ful. So glad to have con­nect­ed with you.

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