See the Rainbow

Photo by Sharon Pittaway

Photo by Sharon Pittaway

By Jill Berndtson

Somewhere over the rainbow… color catches our eye. Whether you’re walking down a grocery aisle, scrolling online, or watching commercials during your favorite show, certain ads tend to stick out. You may not realize it, but most of your impulsive shopping decisions are based on the color of the packaging. As companies grow, consumers begin to associate colors with the brand, making it imperative to choose the right color from the start. Could you imagine the Coca-Cola logo being blue and brown or Nike being bright pink? Of course not, because you’ve grown to associate the colors with the logos.


There are some important things to keep in mind when choosing the right color for your brand:


  • Is the color common among competitors? If the answer is yes, choose a different color. Consumers are inundated with different brands offering the same product. When you go shopping, what product sticks out- the fourteenth blue one, or the only red one? As the saying goes, “be the brightest crayon in the box.”

  • Does the color/design fit the product? If your product is targeted towards kids, a black and white design may not do as well as a bright and colorful one. Likewise, environmental products usually have green somewhere in their logo.

  • There is no “one size fits all” definition of color perception. In fact, how the individual perceives color is almost entirely based on their past life experiences. However, different hues and tones within colors can imply differences in brand personalities. Pastel is usually associated with products for babies; black and white designs usually target adults. Keep this in mind when planning your marketing strategy.

  • Play on demographic differences. If you’re targeting a specific gender, age, culture, etc. some colors may perform better than others. Younger audiences prefer bright, bold colors, but adults may prefer cooler, toned-down shades. Think of designs in terms of what would catch the eye of that demographic.


Let’s apply these tips to a case study. Take a prominent business: Barbie, for example. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “Barbie”? Maybe it’s playing with your favorite doll when you were little. Maybe it’s roaming the aisles at a toy store and seeing that Barbie beach house you (or someone you know) just had to have. Whatever it may be, one color comes to mind: pink.


Now let’s break it down: why pink? While Barbie wasn’t the sole doll brand using pink in their logo, they strayed away from pastels and went for a bold, bright color in the magenta family. This slight diversion was enough to distinguish themselves from competitors. Traditionally, Barbie targeted girls, so a pink logo made sense and fit the product well. Barbie’s logo was successful because of their decision to use the right color, in the right shade, based on what would be attractive to their target market.


How have you used color to your advantage as a marketer?



Inigo Communications