How to choose the right colors to build your brand?
If you’re building your business and employing a designer, you need to understand their ‘language’ and the concepts they play with on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean you need to be an expert yourself. But you need to know enough to understand how and why choices are made.
Like any other process, design, while also an art, is grounded in theory, skills and technical understanding. So, don’t try to master everything. But a few basics will definitely help. Here are five ideas that you’ll find useful.
Colors have impact
Most people know that colors have an impact and that some colors stand for particular ideas, feelings or messages. The challenge comes in having to choose colors which define a business or product. Getting this right can be fraught with difficulty.
Color associations are important. They carry specific and sometimes subliminal messages. Most people are familiar with how this works. Red, for example, is variously the color of passion, anger and danger, while also being the color of energy, urgency and excitement. Black is never out of fashion and can be associated with power, luxury, sophistication and style – and with sorrow. Purple fabrics, because of the ancient challenges of making purple dye, used to be very expensive, so purple has long been connected with royalty, power, success and wisdom. Choice of color in a product, logo or branding can be very powerful, so it pays to get it right.
What do you want color to say?
With a logo, the color (and sometimes the shape) may be as important as the name. Coca-Cola’s choice of red has become iconic, with associations including happiness, togetherness, romance and energy, to list just a few. If a simple design and color is used consistently, the impact is massive. When used time after time, it becomes so much part of the cultural landscape that recognition is instant and the brand becomes synonymous with the type of product.
Make it your business to understand color
Getting your color choices right is potentially a multi-layered process. Whether it’s a logo, product or website, balancing the visual appeal and emotional impact is going to require effort from more than one person. You’re juggling target markets, demographics, market placement and changing fashions. Where products, packaging and advertising all need to work together, choices have big implications. Your designer is best qualified to be your guide, but if you don’t understand their advice, you’re on dangerous ground.
Building a brand depends on many things, not least having great products and good customer service. But color is key. Think of your top ten favourite brands: it’s probably the color that comes to mind first. And building a strong brand can be the key to creating a successful and resilient business. Although no business is immune to the fallout from Covid-19, for example, strong branding – and a good selection of branded goods to remind your customers why they love you – may well make the difference between success and failure.
How do we use these ideas at Kingly?
At the core of our business is flexibility and the quick turn-round of branded goods as promotional gifts. This was always (and still is) socks, T-shirts and towels, but it’s expanded to include a range of hygiene products too. With these, although most are branded with our clients’ logos, we have base design onto which the logos fit. Choice of color, therefore, has become an essential part of a wider design process. For our socks and T-shirts too, color is fundamental.
We have to be 100% accurate when reproducing a logo, so we make use of sublimation printers for some, while we’ve also invested heavily in the latest sock knitting machines as well as in a hands-on training at Busi Giovanni in Italy. These amazing machines are capable of creating remarkably sophisticated patterns – ideal for brands – and color is key. Most importantly, we listen to our designers when developing new designs, and we think a lot about which colors will work and why.
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