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Why Color Matters
By: Angela Bright
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Pantone, the company known as the color experts, recently announced Honeysuckle as its color of the year for 2011. Honeysuckle is a pinkish/reddish color described by Pantone as “encouraging and uplifting.” Fashion designers are already using the color in their upcoming collections, and even Visa has teamed up with Pantone to issue a Honeysuckle Platinum Rewards Card.

In marketing, color plays a huge role in a company’s brand and identity. There is a reason why McDonald's arches are golden yellow and Victoria’s Secret bags are pink (or perhaps they’re Honeysuckle?). We associate different feelings and meanings with different colors, and those same meanings can be associated with a particular brand. Brand colors and supporting color palettes should be chosen based on a combination of visual appeal, the meanings associated with the colors, and how the colors might apply to your industry. For example, in the food industry, red is often used often in fast food logos because it is said that red makes people hungry and instantly attracts attention. However, if you have a food product, try exploring other choices and how those colors relate to your brand. It could set you apart from the competition.

Sensational Color is a great resource for color associations and meanings. Here is a brief list of colors, their meanings, and popular brands that are associated with that color.

Red: power, bold, love, passion, hot, anger
Brands associated with red: Coca-Cola, Target

Orange: warm, Fall, energy
Brands associated with orange: Home Depot

Yellow: happy, Summer, friendly, fun
Brands associated with yellow: McDonald’s, Ikea

Green: environment, organic, money, refreshing
Brands associated with green: Whole Foods, Starbucks, Animal Planet, BP

Blue: cool, dependable, trustworthy, calming
Brands associated with blue: Facebook, Walmart, Ford

Purple: royal, elegant, eclectic, spiritual
Brands associated with purple: Crown Royal, Yahoo

Brown: rustic, earthy, simplistic, wholesome
Brands associated with brown: UPS

Pink: flirty, feminine, playful, fun, romantic
Brands associated with pink: Victoria’s Secret, Barbie, T-Mobile

If you’re ever tasked with developing a new product, creating a new logo, or refreshing an existing brand, keep in mind the importance of color and what it means for your brand.


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About the Author

Angela Bright is a marketing professional who is particularly interested in all things branding. She's also a self-proclaimed pop-culture junkie. Read her blog.

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