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Earlier this month, PANTONE, the authority in colors, announced the 2020 color of the year – Classic Blue (19-4052). On its website, Pantone notes the color “instills calm, confidence and connection.”
A huge departure from its previous Color of the Years, which include Living Coral, Ultra Violet, Greenery, Rose Quartz, Serenity and Marsala, Classic Blue has been described as a deep blue shade that is both comforting and relatable. Pantone continues by adding that “this enduring hue of blue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era” and that the color is reassuring and “brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit.”
Savvy designers and marketers know that for over 20 years, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings, and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design.
Research shows that colors communicate with us on an emotional level, making a brand’s color choices an effective part of the purchase persuasion process. In fact, 85 percent of consumers cite color as the primary reason for choosing which products to buy. Additionally, up to 90 percent of impulse decisions about products are based soley on the product’s colors.
According to color psychology researchers, 42 percent of consumers form opinions of websites based on the sites’ designs, with color contributing more to their opinions than any other factor. And 52 percent of the time, poor color choice and other inferior design choices send users off a website, never to return.
For several decades, we have been an active member of a color forecasting organization where we join others in our industry to decide what color your next new car will be or which colors will be showing up on the runways next Spring and Fall. As a group – with representatives from all over the globe – we look at color as a serious science by studying trends, influences, emerging colors and probably most importantly, colors currently being used in successfully marketed products.
Here’s a true and fun story. WGG once had a very successful account executive, who in his retirement years is now spending countless hours on a golf course. LJ loved the color green because, well, green represents golf, right? But LJ hated using the color green for branding in the market he represented. He thought it did not properly represent the type of product he was working with, unless of course it was “earth friendly” or “organic.” It wasn’t just a matter of taste. After years of launching one successful branding campaign after another, he knew what worked for his client base, and green wasn’t it!
As mentioned in a Psychology Today article, research has found that predicting consumer reaction to color appropriateness in relation to the product is far more important than the individual color itself. But it is hard to deny that behind every successful company is an iconic color that becomes just as identifiable as its brand. Think of Starbucks green, the golden arches of McDonald’s, Micro Soft’s primary color “flag,” the Lego red cube, and Twitter’s blue bird. I’m sure you get the visual…and that’s the point.
Sometimes we have clients who insist on using a particular color to brand their product, simply because they love it. They tell us that it’s their sports team’s color and/or it’s beautiful! Everything they own, from their custom iPhone case to their latest Chuck Taylors are this specific shade of (fill in the blank). But that doesn’t mean their favorite color will support their specific brand image.
Anytime we begin work on a new design, we believe it is important to understand not only what the product looks like, but who will be buying it, where it will be marketed and where that product falls in your lineup. These questions are but a few that help us determine which colors may work best for you. It’s called having a “full understanding of customer needs” and it’s in our long-standing company objectives.
It’s curious how things work sometimes. Can paint companies, or even color organizations, really determine which colors you use to market your products? Certainly, we see their influences through fashion, retail and product design, but the WGG team believes there must be a mix of both science and, well, that good old fashion gut feeling.
We want consumers to have a positive experience associated with your product and become loyal fans. We know that takes far more than science, it takes experience. It takes people like LJ who know their markets and know what sells – and for him, it will never be green!
WGG is available to help bring your business to the next level. From logo creation, re-branding, packaging, point-of-purchase, the marriage of color, design and more, our team can guide you every step of the way. Click here to drop us a line to learn more.