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Subak Signs
Subak Huose,
9A Stocks Street
Manchester M8 8GW



A guide to colour selection in your business  

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COLOUR research offers some interesting insights into your business.

Colour is part of our lives. It's important to use colour effectively and to know how to use it in your marketing, merchandising and promotion.

It is essential to choose colours that correctly reflect the type of business you are in. You also need to think carefully about the affect these colours are going to have on your customers - existing and potential.

According to a report compiled by a Results Report subscriber, John Miner, every colour except Neutral Grey has an effect on your customer. They react to some colours in a positive way and to others in a negative way.

But they will rarely act indifferently.

And, interestingly, people react in a predictable way. For example, red will always stimulate your appetite whilst blue will have the opposite effect.

Can you use colour to determine outcome?

Well, it would be naive to think that major corporations that spend millions of dollars on advertising, promotion and marketing just pick their corporate colour schemes at random or because they "like the colours".

It's no coincidence that most of the major fast food franchises use basically the same colour schemes - red, white, yellow or orange. They know what colours will sell more food and what colours to avoid.

According to Mr. Miner's research report, here's how the combination of those colours works together.

Red is an appetite stimulant. For thousands of years it has been the primary colour relating to basic survival needs - food, clothing, shelter. It shows a strong image and counteracts fatigue.

White's great as a back- ground, making other colours stronger and more intense. It gives an image of cleanliness and sterile conditions.

Orange is similar to red in that it is an appetite stimulant. It is best used inside as it causes agitation and excitement in many people, causing them to eat and run - which is what most restaurateurs want.

Yellow is one of the most over-used and abused colours. Many people use it the wrong way and do more harm than good. It attracts the eye and (in small doses) stimulates the nerves.

The use of bright yellow over large areas will increase anxiety levels within 45 seconds and will increase your blood pressure nearly as fast. It's best used as a complementary colour over small areas causing people to make a spontaneous decision and to buy on impulse.

Colours can make or break your business.

Say you're in a business that manufactures chocolates, sweets or any eats with a sweet taste . . . You should ideally have blue or mauve somewhere on the packet, as psychologically blue is the colour of sweetness.

You should use green sparingly on packaging or in advertising because the mind perceives green as an astringent taste.

But it's not only the colour that you should be interested in. A West German test showed that the most important factor in choosing a colour is the saturation or intensity of the colour.

Colours in the workplace.

Here's an interesting story about how colours affect the workplace:

"The production in a factory increased 8% literally overnight, just by repainting the men's toilet walls a ghastly electric green which had the effect of discouraging malingerers.

Here are some ideas on colours to use in particular places . . .

Soothing neutral colours are suitable for hospitals, classrooms or areas which are occupied for long periods of time.

Warm colours are suitable for restaurants and cafeterias.

Cold colours are suitable for lecture rooms, assembly halls and large communal spaces.

Vivid colours are suitable for corridors and stairwells where you want to stimulate people to keep moving.

And, if you have problems with lighting, white used in a dull room can increase light levels by one third.

Colours and customer perception.

How do your customers and prospective customers perceive your business and your products?

The correct use of colour can be critical in creating that perception. As we said, the psychological effect of colour is tremendously powerful and should not be underestimated.

Dr. Max Lusher, a German Professor of Psychology, is recognised as the father of Colour Psychology. He developed a colour test that has been used for more than 20 years with outstanding success.

Today, using Dr. Lusher's colours and the results of other research, choosing the right colours for any application with great accuracy is made easy.

Much of Lusher's research confirmed that using the right colours on packaging can have a hypnotic effect on the shopper.

In 1979 a company that fills aerosol cans for other companies conducted a survey to determine what colours the spray cans should be to "sell" a particular product.

The test showed that:
Browns are good for wax or polish for wooden furniture.
Yellow cans are good for general cleaning and polishing products.
Red cans are good for fly or insect sprays.
White cans are good for products that make ironing easier.
Orange cans are good for oven cleaning products.
Green cans are good for fresh air products or products to do with personal hygiene.

Above all, the results showed that colour does sell, as was proved by a cleaning cloth manufacturer who changed the colour of the packet from light blue and white to a darker blue and added red and yellow. Sales increased by 23%

So what colour sells best?

Here's an outline of what colours to use to create a specific image. . .

RED - Physical imaging. For sports or exercise clubs, dining or dancing services, political clubs and organisations or real estate businesses.

PINK - Feminine or loving images. For fashion, cosmetics, rescuing services, church clubs and infant services or products.

MAROON - Gratification of the senses. For the entertainment industry, videos, cars, furnishings, art services, gambling and beverages.

ORANGES - High energy images. For architecture, building tools and services and speedy services or products.

PEACH - Charitable imaging. For services/products for children, school products, welfare organisations or charities.

YELLOW - Communication. For Yellow Pages, all services or productions of the communication and entertainment industries, especially sales.

GREEN - Health, plant and vegetable imaging. For health food stores, homey restaurants, floral products or services and personal hygiene.

LIGHT BLUE - Creative images. For the design or art industry, creative products or problem solving services and computer products or servicing.

DARK BLUE - Executive imaging. For business, education, executive products and imaging, financial services, businesses pertaining to large investments requiring trust - for example, car sales.

MAUVE - Spiritual or intuitive imaging. Training or services for emotional support and sensitive imaging to the needs.

BROWN - Support products and services. For businesses offering security, basic needs, coffee or chocolate goods, earthy or natural products.

GREY - Passive or earth support images. For home repair services or products and stone and earth products but not to image any service relating to human resources.

BLACK - Authority imaging. For security and protection services, sedate and aloof imaging, or as a symbol of taste and luxury when combined with gold, silver and some shades of grey of "suave white".

WHITE - Individualistic and sanitary images. For products rather than services as white gives an image of aloofness.

GOLD - Images of wealth and security. For brokers, bankers, merchants and high quality services and personal development services.

Interesting isn't it!