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Changing Brand Perception Using Color
By: Jeff Louis
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Without realizing it, we make decisions every single day about color and how it affects us. Many of our decisions regarding products and brands revolve around color. Does black make me look sexy? Is blue cool or cold?  Do brown pants make me look fat? Most men won't carry a pink phone, and many would balk at wearing a pink shirt. Wedding dresses, for the most part, are white. Green is the color of money. Red could mean sex, or it could mean stop. Color, physically, envelops our lives and affects our decision-making.

Our sense of sight is actually a powerful tool used by companies to sell us products and services. Companies spend millions of dollars each year researching what's become known as "sensory branding," which is a fancy term to describe how, and why, things appeal to people. Do they smell good, look good, and feel good?

JDSU is a company involved in-depth with everything optical. They provide testing and measurement for broadband communication providers, semiconductor manufacturers, biotechnology companies, and other tech-based endeavors. This does not sound like a company that would be involved with branding or advertising; however, color is a product of light, and without light, there would be no color. Thus, because of JDSU’s focus on all things optical, they’re very experienced with color.

JDSU is so experienced, in fact, it employs a "color specialist." Barb Parker travels worldwide speaking to companies, she track color trends, and she determines what colors will best suit products and/or brands. Having majored in chemistry and minored in art, Parker is uniquely suited to be a color professional. Recently, I was able to speak to Parker, and seeing as she's racked more than 130,000 frequent-flyer miles this year, this was no small feat. Our topics of conversation ranged from the UPS campaign that branded brown as forward-thinking and dependable, to how countries vary in their acceptance of different colors. 

According to Parker, her color forecast for 2010 will be those that portray optimism, the environment, and technology. She advises to look for these  trends:

  • Yellow and Pink stand for Hope and Optimism. Look for shades of pink and yellow to inspire us as we rebuild the world economy. These are the stand-out accent colors for 2010.
  • Blue is the New Green. While greens have symbolized ecological awareness over the last few years, blues now deliver the environmental message. Water and sky blue symbolize our commitment to greener living.
  • White Equals Technology. Long a symbol of purity, cleanliness, innocence, and youth, white represents technology, as well. Manufacturers have adopted white as the color of high technology. Contrast is all in the finish: matte or gloss, textured or smooth, and shine or shimmer.

Designers across the globe use JDSU's color forecast to help determine the colors for their products and how those colors will reflect current style. JDSU has revolutionized the color services they provide their clients, moving from offering pigments to manufacturers to actually providing concierge-like service to teach these companies how to use color.




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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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