We eat with our eyes. As humans, we are wired to respond to the visual world around us. Have you ever chosen a specific snack or beverage strictly based on the look? I know I'm guilty of it. Before words and overall design, color is usually the first thing that grabs our attention and entices us. There's always a sweet spot in color that draws us in, like a moth to a flame.
Color has the power to affect our behaviors and influence our decision-making process. It affects our brain, which in turn impacts our feelings and senses, both physiologically and emotionally. So of course, in the marketing world, color needs to be used smartly and effectively to help influence our audience and prospective customers.
Many people think that each color is connected to one specific emotion. This is not true. Most colors elicit various emotional responses. Different people will feel different things based on their life experiences, culture, and education.
Here are three ways colors affect us...
1) Emotional experiences - Our experiences in life can affect how we see color. An example could be the color blue. For some people, it may remind them of the ocean or sky, while for others it could remind them of a sad experience or even loneliness.
2) Culture - Color can have many different meanings, depending on the culture it's used in. One of the most contrasting examples is white & black. In our culture, white symbolizes weddings, peace, purity, and cleanliness while in Eastern cultures, white carries meanings of death, funerals and mourning. Black then portrays a sense of wealth, health, richness and prosperity, while for us it can mean the opposite; death, darkness, and emptiness.
3) Symbolism - We also tend to attach and assign certain symbols to different colors. For example, green means “Go!”, and is often associated with nature or wellness. Red can symbolize danger OR love. Yellow might signify the sun & happiness. These reactions are usually ingrained in us as we grow up through social cues and our education.
Understanding these three ways colors can affect us helps us dig deeper into who our customers are. We need to know where and which culture they come from, what experiences they may have dealt with in life, what they believe in, and most importantly, what they care about. Other determining factors are behavioral data like language & location, as well as age and gender.
Knowing these answers helps us learn how to impact and influence our target audiences in the best way possible. Brands should use the emotional power of color and its triggers in all of their marketing efforts. BUT remember, color doesn’t work alone. Fonts, layout, content and imagery all work together to elicit a specific reaction, feeling, or decision from people.
These are some examples of effective use of color in packaging:
Bright, vibrant, active colors with an underlying essence of nature.
Bold, rich colors to evoke a sense of luxury and indulgence.
Sweet, calming pastel palette that encourages relaxation & comfort.