Colours of money – the importance of colour for successful brands

29 August 2018

You don’t have to Google very far to find the colour yellow. Dubbed “Gen Z yellow”, it’s quite literally everywhere – from fashion brands to home décor. Put “yellow” into the search box on Pinterest and thousands of results pop up. Fashion retailer H&M even has a Kodak branded, yellow t-shirt on its website – we definitely didn’t see that one coming.

Reportedly, yellow really took off (replacing Millennial Pink as the hue of the moment) last year when artist Petra F Collins used it extensively in a video with Gen Z darling, actor Selena Gomez, who has a cool 141 million Instagram followers. Yellow is by its very nature a sunny colour, eye-catching and bright and Gen Z consumers like it for its optimism and ambition.

Of course, colour psychology is deep-rooted in the human psyche. We’re instinctively wary of bright red and orange foods because we know these are nature’s warning against eating berries or mushroom that are poisonous. Browns and greens are ‘s clothes, hence – organic product packaging often using these hues. Blue trustworthy and “clean”, hence often associated with household laundry and cleaning products.

All strong brands use colour to great effect. Think Ikea’s blue and yellow, Coca-Cola’s red and white or Cadbury’s purple. Get brand colour right and shoppers can identify your product without even seeing the name – get it wrong and your whole brand message can be lost.

‘Colour is the first point of recognition for consumers’ said Brandality’s Founder & Creative Director Adam Arnold ‘people grab the green packet expecting it to be salt and vinegar and the purple bar expecting it to be dairy milk. Brands need to be aware of not only using colour to convey their brand identity, but to also assist consumers by adhering to their current buying habits’

Sometimes very clever and counter-intuitively, use of colour can help your brand stand out in a crowded market. Take German shampoo brand Alpecin. It uses stark black and red branding to communicate its effectiveness (mainly to men). Its whole identity – including its strapline – German Engineering for Your Hair, speaks of car oil/sink unblocker/weedkiller (take a look – https://www.alpecin.com/en-gb/).

A straw poll in our office found the women wouldn’t give it shelf space and the men thought it looked like it meant business – just another demonstration of the power of colour.

If you’d like to talk about this article or speak about an upcoming packaging or branding project please do get in touch.