Choosing the Right Color

Like smells, colors may mean different things to different people and stir up memories that would otherwise be forgotten. For example, every time I smell Garnier Fructis shampoo it reminds me of when I had morning sickness. This is a smell I don’t ever wish to smell again. Color and certain color combinations also carry around different meanings and create a mood, welcomed or not.

In the corporate world, companies adopt their corporate colors – brown for UPS, yellow for DHL and purple/orange for Fedex – and use these colors as the main focus of their branding. UPS has certainly taken their corporate color and created an entire marketing theme: “What can brown do for you?” Color choice, along with all the other ingredients to a successful design (typography, composition, photography, imagery, illustration), needs careful consideration before beginning a project.

Just now I got a phone call from a client requesting that their video animation be placed on a dark blue background to create a slick, classy look. While I am sure we can create a slick, classy video animation on any color background, for this particular client dark blue was chosen. Luckily there are some general rules when choosing the proper color and as with all rules there are exceptions. Except the rule about running with scissors. That should never ever be broken. 

Here are a few: Stay away from reds when designing for the healthcare industry. Yellows, reds, and oranges are great color choices for restaurants and the food industry as they have been proven to increase one’s appetite while blues have been proven to suppress ones appetite as people commonly associate them with mold or rot. However, blue is a great choice for very corporate companies that want to emote dedication, trust, and loyalty.