What color is response? An inside look at how color improves — or hurts — your sales Carol Worthington-Levy Creative Director
Does color really matter? How do people respond to colors? Does color help people to see messages more quickly? Does color help to emphasize blocks of copy or headlines? What colors help to show off product in a photograph?
How can the right colors improve response? When The Highlander went from this – black backgrounds on all pages…
How can the right colors improve response? …to this – warm gold colors behind all type — their sales were up 400% - and order sizes doubled
How can the right colors improve response? When Republic of tea changed this layout background from green to white and lighter tans, sales improved substantially!
Today you’ll get some ideas about… How color affects the way people…
Let’s look at some examples Check out these treatments and tell us out loud what the color means to you…
Remember this? Back in 1977, when this was Apple’s logo, the Apple was seen as a computer that gave users superior color output to a PC What ELSE does – or did - the color mean to you?
The modern logo Today Apple prides itself in its technical wizardry and business-friendly dependability What does this more subdued gray/silver image — used for all Apple products— mean to you now?
Brand is more powerful with color What company uses this color?
Which one is from the Tiffany website? C A B What does the color in the shot do to add value?
A sophisticated brand piggybacks on Tiffany Is this a good choice? Is the market the same?
Another color treatment WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU? Who is this?
UPS ‘owns’ brown now WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU? This campaign started in 2002 and was retired in 2010 Anyone know how they chose brown? (Trivia!) Is brown an upscale color? Downscale?
Pullman brown doesn’t get dirty! The brown color that UPS uses on its vehicles and uniforms is calledPullman Brown. The color is also mentioned in their former advertising slogan: "What can Brown do for you?” Originally founder James E. Casey wanted the trucks to be yellow, but one of his partners, Charlie Soderstrom stated they would be impossible to keep clean, and that Pullman railroad cars were brown for just that reason.
All browns are not equal Which brown is “warmer”? Warm colors are more inviting, more responsive, than cool neutral colors
Sometimes brown is just plain wrong Brown may seem like ‘mother earth’ nurturing, but in truth it still feels like dirt Is that what you’d look for or want in health care? In a car?
Can we use color to connect to our customer? Customers quickly learn what various colors stand for if they are on-target… Web logos are hitting us so often that we’re connecting the dots between color and business
Yahoo purple promises us a fun and offbeat experience We’re so well trained that Yahoo is purple that we don’t even need to see who this is from.
We “train” customers with color … so when I get this in my email, and the Yahoo logo is orange, I’m uncomfortable with it! Customers will wonder: is this a scam? We learn to trust colors intuitively when they’re used consistently
Vocabulary: Color Value Dark to light The eye is 1600X more sensitive to valuethan to color Our eyes gravitate automatically to higher contrast, even though we love color. It’s the way our brains are wired Highest contrast medium contrast lower contrast
Colors in proximity affecthow we perceive other colors The blue box in each of these is the same color – but they look very different. Our eyes adjust to the intense color around that blue box, and our brains think it’s different!
When type is put against a background of similar ‘value’, it’s too hard to read! The red type on the gold is illegible
Type in a color – even when it’s bold – is harder for people to read It becomes lower contrast – the further away from black it gets, the less the legibility! Our customer ignores messages written in colors lighter than black
How do we increase contrast? Think “value” when you put two colors together, and look at them carefully. Is there enough contrast or are they too close in value?
Black always draws the eye best Do you feel anxious in a yellow room? Does the color blue make you feel calm and relaxed? Artists and interior designers have long understood how color can dramatically affect moods, feelings and emotions. Do you feel anxious in a yellow room? Does the color blue make you feel calm and relaxed? Artists and interior designers have long understood how color can dramatically affect moods, feelings and emotions. Do you feel anxious in a yellow room? Does the color blue make you feel calm and relaxed? Artists and interior designers have long understood how color can dramatically affect moods, feelings and emotions.
Which is easiest to read? And which is the least readable? At first glance, the human eye always goes for the one with the most contrast, ignores the lowest contrast
What do colors symbolize? Dark green and dark blue are colors that symbolize stability and authority — banking, high end real estate, investment
When does blue NOT work? For food… studies have noted that blue is not a good color, no appetite appeal — proven to decrease appetite! Far right is dog food – and it still is not appetizing!
Photography can be made better, or worse withcarefully chosen color of props Which colors look most appetizing? Yummy! ecch! Good rule of thumb – almost nothing looks good on grey!
Logos for restaurants must have both appetite appeal and brand/service appeal… JUST looking at the color – which one says Beverly Hills? Which one says TexMex? Which one says worldly, exotic?
Too much of any intense color actually annoys the viewer The bowl of noodles is not enough to make up for this visual onslaught
What do other colors symbolize? Pure hues like cyan (bright blue) and red are playful, exciting and work well in children’s goods, pets and entertainment
Colors can evoke emotions Which colors look more appealing for someone looking for pet goods?
Too much blue High intensity blue makes us look away Reversed type reduces comprehension to only 10% of what it would be if dark on light The littlebit of redis not enoughto offset thisdeadly site
Too much blue Less intense blue, offset by the yellow Note – the box ‘disappears’ in the layout Reversed out type Incredibly – a reversed out coupon Proof that all the money in the world can’t buy common sense
Grey: subtle but effective if balanced with other color Gray is subdued and can be elegant if the right gray… butwarning: can also be dull and uninteresting
Elegance with interesting surfaces Grey used as a silver can be festive and classy Note how this has a bit of turquoise and blue to provide relief from all the grey A little blue, a lot of silver – a good rule of thumb for color use
The grey palette is bigger than you think Note how this gray has some color to it – makes it more interesting A little bit of intense red offsets the large areas of black and gray – takes it from dull to interesting
B/W photography – does it work? Black and white photography has mostly grays – and it too can be elegant if used the right way Financial Luxury real estate
What does light blue symbolize? Light blues are optimistic – evokes blue sky, relaxation, water and cleanliness.
What about black? Studies prove that type reversed out of black (white type on black bkg) reduces comprehension to as low as only 10% It’s even worse for websites — people simply do not stay to read!
Can black work well? This is a high end product by VISA Could this get mixed up with the AMEX Black (Centurion) Card? Your own look/feel/color scheme Is best for you to establish your brand
The right colors can make us feel cleanliness and freshness Green says ‘eco’ but blue says ‘clean’. See how these logos fare in using color to send their message. For cleaning service, which would you have the most confidence in?
Choose color to emphasize the prime benefit to highlight a service - But there are times when water and relaxation are not the message you want to convey: Which plumber would you hire to take care of your plumbing problem? Which would you hire to design an upscale bath? Water design strength/modern dependable/service
What do colors symbolize? Green= fresh, nature, environment… but it’s not necessarily the right color for type or a logo! Mid to light greens fare poorly in comprehension tests – green vs. black type
And if you love bright yellow… Bright yellows — either on walls or as the background on a computer screen—are the most bothersome colors and are not calming or relaxing in any way. Bright colors reflect more light, so yellow over-stimulates our eyes, causing strain and even irritability.
And now - about bright yellow… Don’t let this happen to you!
How do you know which colors to choose? We’ve just seen examples of colors that work and don’t work Let’s learn more about why they don’t work And let’s discuss colors that work well together – or not After that we’ll go over which colors work best for messaging
More helpful vocabulary Complementary colors This is a color wheel It’s a great resource when trying to define colors that work together Colors opposite each other on the color wheel are complementary colors They balance each other out visually
Same values, complementary colors Makes the eye uncomfortable Seems to ‘jiggle’ or shimmer Bad readership with good eyes Terrible readership when there’s slight colorblindness (8% of males cannot tell red from green) Merchandise Merchandise
Complementary color scheme This is a kind of complementary scheme The blue is opposite orange on the color wheel Balance: It doesn’t take much of a powerful color like orange to offset all the cool blues
Complementary color scheme This is more subtle but it is also complementary The pale yellow with the dusty blue (a little bit lavender) offset each other well This was a very successful redo
Complementary color scheme Classic holiday mix of red and green The third color – the gold – provides some interest and visual relief from the heavy green and red
Other color schemes Analogous colors means they are very near each other on the color wheel They can look great together but too much will bore the eye. They need a touch of a complement to make it work
Example of analogous color scheme The tan, mauve and muted gold are very close in color and intensity Why does this work? The background does not overwhelm the subtle color of the shirt – plays it up Subdued color choice plays up elegance
Example of analogous color scheme The yellows, golds and metallic gold all work to create a compelling, harmonious image White gives the eye relief from all the warm color Note how the logo stands out nicely
Example of analogous color scheme Use of a photo with strong analogous colors makes this mail piece eyecatching We play it up with a bright yellow violator in one of the darker areas of the photo
Example of analogous color scheme This is for the holidays Breaks out of the traditional and often overdone red and green Snowflakes in orange background are festive – we don’t judge it to be wrong because it’s orange
Example of Monochromatic color scheme Many versions of the same basic blue Do you think this works to show off the printer and samples? If not, why?
Example of Monochromatic color scheme This is monochromatic using reds Their colorful packaging shows up well here If this were all a bright red, those packages would not show up
Primary and secondary colors Primary colors are red, yellow and blue – which look great together A secondary color scheme uses purple, orange and green – which also work well together
Example of a primary color scheme This is a primary color scheme NOTE that it’s not just ‘out of the box’ color – The yellow is a subdued tint to make the site easy to look at
Example of a secondary color scheme The warmth of the field behind her (orange, subdued) and her skin tones balance the violet red color and the moss green
Example of a secondary color scheme Pale gold makes a nice field color for the navigation – it offsets the forest green logo The redness of the cooked food is a color too – this is very different. While it’s not violet, it is so different than the others that it works.
Example of a secondary color scheme Green and orange work well with the Chili’s southwest theme Green does not surround the food, so it’s still appetizing Little zings of gold and bright red liven it up
Contrast by extension: which is more eye-catching? • Pink is essentially light red • The complement of that is green• If this had only pale green it would be boring • The dark green adds interest due to the difference in color and contrast (it is much darker) If you have a lot of one color, and want some visual relief and balance, choose a complement and use just a little to offset it.
Contrast by extension: which is more interesting? • On the color wheel, the opposite of violet is yellow • A yellow green is very intense • The violet colors are subdued and quiet • So the addition of the lime green in a small dose offsets it, makes it interesting and well-balanced! If you have a lot of one color, and want some visual relief and balance, choose a complement and use just a little to offset it.
Contrast by extension in action A lot of red White provides relief We immediately tune into that little guy because the color is so different
Contrast by extension - in the real world Microsoft’s friendly clean blue frame has a little ‘zinger’ in that “Kodak” warm yellow/orange. It doesn’t take much to work well Warm colors have more intensity to our eye than cool colors do
Simultaneous contrast makes a layout “vibrate” uncomfortably Next time you think about using red and green next to each other on your website or catalog, for the holidays, think about this People avoid looking at this because it is overwhelming
Alternative: try a different version of one of the colors: more muted, darker, etc This uses red and green, but it’s richer looking Easier to look at, more inviting More eye-catching because it’s slightly different than the usual holiday fare
Too much color can hide what you’re selling When you surround the product you’re selling with similar colors, it will disappear from view! A sign of a great stylist is one who props with taste and restraint!
How to use color to emphasize To make a product pop, there must be contrast in value and color
Contrast is the #1 way to get attention Black and white are the ultimate contrast As soon as you make something a ‘color’ it becomes less dark than black – and less contrasty Subtle color is wasted on many people – especially men. 7% of all men are colorblind. Contrast is what helps them to see and read better
Contrast – can’t take your eyes off it Full range of value and color
Low contrast – weak, uninformed Pale colors against white don’t read well enough to be comprehended.
Color and contrast/photography Sometimes photographers and art directors take concept too far Black gloves – gray stony background – dull and lifeless – plus nondescript Can you see the ‘new’ burst? What would make that work better?
Color choices photography Complementary colors can make a photo – and an ad or visual - pop
Color choices photography Is this the color of excitement and entertainment you’d get from a big screen TV? Yawn.
So let’s try a few before we go… What could they dowith color to make this a more interesting or appealing site?
Let’s try another… What could they dowith color to make this work better?
One more… Do these colors work? Why or why not? This is about a service for entrepreneurs and startups in business What would you do to improve it?
Summary: How do you know which colors to choose? Think of how people emotionally respond to colors, and find the best ones for your effort Don’t let your designer choose the ‘creative solution’ that is not in line with colors that are appropriate Think of how you’ll use those colors, and concentrate on ease of reading and comprehension …if someone can’t read it, they can’t respond to it Work on color BALANCE – warm and cool, dark and light (value) and so on Never, ever just say yes to the first color combination you see. Try a few, find the right one!
Some additional sources for you zealots out there Franklin Institute page on color: http://www.fi.edu/color/ A color contrast analyser – from Australia http://www.visionaustralia.org.au/info.aspx?page=628 Interesting tool for communicating about colorhttp://www.colblindor.com/color-name-hue/ This site helps you identify interesting color combinations that work well- and tells you why they work! http://www.worqx.com/color/itten.htm Colin Wheildon: Type & Layout, are you communicating or just making pretty shapes?http://www.amazon.com/Type-Layout-Communicating-Making-Pretty/dp/1875750223/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315337552&sr=1-2