Fred thoughts
The importance of colour
Nov 2018

You only have to take a look around our office to see that we’re certainly not afraid to use a bit of colour. From our bright orange walls and growing collection of neon pineapples to the green artificial grass and bright red Vespa, we’re certainly not ones to shy away from using colour to make bold statements.

When it comes to designing a brand, colour offers an instantaneous way of identifying a business without the need for any words. Just look at Virgin and the use of red or British Airways and their association with the colour blue. Colour is normally the first visual component that an audience take in and therefore remember the most. This is closely followed by shapes or symbols and lastly any words.

If we look at the effects of using colour and go a bit deeper, it is said that colour can have a powerful psychological effect on an audience’s emotions and decisions. While vibrant colours can make you feel happy, the use of darker tones can have the opposite effect.

Something bright and cheerful like yellow is generally associated with warmth and happiness, think Ikea and the infamous golden arches of McDonalds. While red can be linked to feelings of excitement in line with Lego and Coca Cola. Orange is often associated with friendliness, blue resembles trust and green gives off feelings of peace and health. While the use of black tends to connect with feelings of luxury and is often associated with high end, more premium brands, such as Prada.

As creatives we need to carefully consider the impact of the colours we choose when looking at how to help our clients connect effectively with their customers. Their colour choices represent very different feelings and values for consumers which need to be reflected. We also need to be mindful of how these can vary between genders as well as age groups. An older audience tend to prefer more subtle, paler shades whereas a younger clientele will respond better to brighter shades.

When thinking about how a brand should look we need to think about how our client wants it to be perceived. Is having a feeling of trust important? Do we want to spark feelings of excitement or even reliability? Colour can help us portray these key values and it often provides a very good starting point.

There is no doubt that the use of a variety of colours and tones keeps our brands eye-catching and often memorable which is ultimately what we’re trying to achieve. But having said this, there is still a lot to be said from taking a ‘less is more approach’ using a much simpler colour palette and from time to time keeping branding to just black and white. It really depends on the business that we are trying to depict.

Earlier this year we posted a blog highlighting the simplicity of the Playboy logo. The use of solid black lines keeps the logo classic and timeless. But this tactic wouldn’t work for every business. Colour allows us to have some fun with our designs. Colour blocking and even colour clashing is very on trend right now and we find ourselves playing with various shades and colour palettes that go against everything we might have been taught in the past. Colour can create symbolism and our job is to design a brand that the target audience can resonate with in order to get them to buy or hire whatever it is the company is offering.

We shouldn’t (and at We Are Fred we definitely don’t!) shy away from being bold and nor should our clients. It’s a competitive market out there and you need to make a statement if you want to stand out from the crowd and create a brand that’s going to be memorable.

Check out some of our bolder designs on our portfolio page!

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