Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Colors--History, Facts, Trivia & Success!

May 28, 2010, I wrote an article on the psychology of colors......how they can affect people's moods & emotions. This article is so important to any business owner or anyone running a marketing campaign because color is probably one of the most significant aspects of your company's identity. It would benefit you to look at the post & read about the colors you're using in your brand. What message are you giving to your targeted audience? You may be using your favorite colors, but are they doing justice to you in representing your business?

Below I listed some fun facts about color. Much of it is just for fun, but read on because it can also help you in selecting the colors for your brand whether you're designing a logo or website, printing a brochure or handing out promotional imprinted products

For instance if you're marketing a sports team or sporting apparel, even for girls, you should think twice before picking bubble gum pink. If you're a new catering company, what should be your main color--orange or blue? Of if you have one of the popular food trucks, do you want to paint it blue even though that's your favorite color? What is the best color your promotional custom products should be if you're a yoga studio?

Later in this post, I used 5 very well-known corporations & illustrated how color worked for them & gained them company identity worldwide. You may never rise to global status, but color can give you recognition if you choose the ones to properly represent your business.

Some fun, yet important facts on basic colors:
RED: When the Bolsheviks overthrew the tsar & seized power in Russia in 1917, they used the red flag as their emblem & ever since red has been considered the color of communism.
Red is used in more national flags than any other color.
ORANGE: This sparks more controversy than any other hue--it's a hate-it or love-it color. It stimulates appetites & therefore, is widely used in the food industry. 
To many Americans it denotes "cheap" products or services (in fields other than food) while it's just the opposite in the Netherlands. There it's the color of royalty & the royal family is called the House of Orange. Children like this color & will often pick it as their favorite.
GREEN: This color has a strong calming effect--suicides dropped 34% when London's Blackfriar Bridge was painted green.  
The Green Room, the room guests on TV shows wait before their appearance, is actually green in most studios.
BLUE: It is the color most preferred by men & a survey showed that blue was the bestselling color in women's sweaters because women think men will like it.
It's also an appetite suppressant & some weight loss plans suggest putting a blue light bulb in your refrigerator & your munchies will disappear. This is because blue food is a rare occurrence in nature. Except for blueberries & a few blue-purple portatoes or plums, there aren't blue foods.
VIOLET: It's a peaceful color & one that inspires learning, concentration & reflection of life. Because of this Richard Wagner used this color in his surroundings when composing his operas.
 PINK: Drunk-Tank-Pink or better known as Bubble Gum Pink, is used to calm violent prisoners in jails. It suppresses angry, antagonistic & anxiety ridden behavior among prisoners when in a cell painted this shade of pink. It's been reported that people try to be angry or aggressive in the presence of this pink, but can't--the heart muscles can't race fast enough. This color literally saps your energy. But these reactions are short-term & once the body returns to equilibrium, the prisoner may regress to an even more agitated state. It is only this exact shade that creates such behavior among people.

Did you know:
That there is no word in the English language that rhymes with orange or purple?

That the first box of Crayola crayons was sold in 1903 for a nickel & included the same colors available in the 8-count box today: red, blue, yellow, green, violet, orange, black & brown.  The names of the colors rarely change........only 2 have ever been changed: Prussian blue to Midnight blue & Flesh to Peach.

When it comes to achieving company recognition, some of these facts are significant & some aren't--but one thing you can count on........color is one of the most important factors in attaining company identity. These five corporations used color to gain global recognition. They are known, world-wide, for their colors.

 UPS: Over the decades, UPS's brown has provided the most consistent color personality for any company that exists. Even their logo design is secondary in importance to the color. It's highly unusual that a business can boast that one simple color can bring their company to mind instantly. Yet, when you see a brown truck, a brown uniform or the brown tail of a plane, you most likely know it's UPS without looking for the logo. Brown tells you who they are......they're conservative, they're dependable, you feel secure. This is the feeling you get when you see the color & this is what UPS is known for.

TIFFANY: The Tiffany blue box originated in 1850, when Tiffany & Co. opened it's first foreign branch in Paris. The designers selected this light turquoise-blue as the perfect color to attract the fashionistas of the day. This specific color was the signature color of the Diva of Fashion at that time, Empress Eugenie, Napoleon III's wife. The color has remained the same for over 150 years. If you see that famous blue box, you don't need to see Tiffany on it to know who's box it is & what's inside.

BMW (Bavarian Motor Works):  The logo was created & registered in 1917, a year after the company was founded. The logo has remained the same ever since as well as the controversy surrounding the colors. There are two versions regarding the meaning of the 'sky blue & white checker box':
1. It's meant to represent the silver & white propeller blades that engineers of BMW were working when the design was created. Those who believed that's what the logo depicted wanted to change the colors from blue & white to silver & white.
2. The other meaning relates to Bavaria where the product of the company are manufactured--their national colors are sky blue & white, the same as the logo.

MOBIL OIL: Their logo is nothing more than the name of the company in simple, clean lettering. It's the use of the red O in the center & the use of red & blue that brings out their company identity. The red O represents the circular pumps & canopies at their stations which has brought immense popularity to their brand. The use of red evokes energy & strength while blue give the consumer a feeling of faithfulness & security.  

McDonalds: This couldn't be complete without including  McDonalds because their logo is probably one of the most recognized world-wide. The company's reputation is synonymous with the golden arches & while they went global, they are still identified as being All-American. When someone thinks of fast food, what's the first name that comes to mind? This isn't an accident or because they were the first to deliver instantaneous hamburgers & fries........it's because they took marketing to the nth degree when they designed the arches & selected their colors. They used color psychology wisely when they chose red & yellow as their colors. First of all that vivid combination stands out in the day as well as night when it's dark. Red encourages diners to eat quickly & leave & that's exactly what they want you to do. Yellow stimulates the appetite so you'll feel hungry & will probably eat more (thus spend more) than your original intention .

Color is so powerful--it influences much of what we do in our daily lives, whether on a conscious or subconscious level. Therefore, don't eliminate it or underestimate it when it comes to promoting your company. The color of your customized promotional product is just as crucial as the item, itself. 

I hope this helps you stand out.
Ronni Sherman      

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