It’s no surprise that color choices can influence your marketing campaigns and branding. However, what you may not know is just how valuable your hues truly are.

In a 2006 study, Impact of Color in Marketing, researchers discovered that for certain products, up to 90% of consumers’ impulse judgments could be based on color alone.

Yet, it’s far more complicated than simply picking an emotion you’d like to exude and choosing a coordinating color. As Marketing Strategist Gregory Ciotti points out in Entrepreneur, there are several nuances to consider: Appropriateness of a color for your brand, your brand’s “personality,” and differentiation from your competitors. And if that’s not complex enough, you also have to consider the fact that people’s reaction to colors is vastly different depending on individual experiences, culture, background, and preferences.

So, with all of these subtleties, is it possible to effectively use color to your advantage in your branding and marketing endeavors? The good news is, yes, despite the vague nature of color marketing, there are some concrete color psychology rules to market by. Here are three:

  1. Consider context before color. If you want your branding to evoke a certain emotion, knowing the five dimensions of brand personality and the general theories of color psychology (which colors generally correlate with particular emotions) are good background knowledge. However, you can’t rely on color alone to set the stage for your company’s perceived personality. For example, just because yellow is considered a “happy” color, it doesn’t mean that simply swapping the blue in your logo for a sunnier hue will have a positive influence on your customers. Instead, consider your unique context first — who your customers are and what they want to feel by buying from you — and build from there.
  2. Color rules are meant to be broken. While branding and imagery should be visually cohesive, it’s important to make your most valuable messages stand out. Make high-value messages pop by using contrasting accent colors, and don’t be afraid to break stereotypes by doing something unexpected. By bending color rules, such as the well-known gender preferences of blue for boys and pink for girls, you may actually garner a lot more attention. At the end of the day, remember that you’re creating sales tools, and you don’t want your calls to action to blend in.
  3. A lack of color can be just as powerful. For some products and marketing materials, it may be best not to use any color at all. According to a study from the Journal of Consumer Research, black-and-white advertising is better for showing off the primary features of an item, while color should be reserved for highlighting easily overlooked, secondary features. “Black-and-white images can lead consumers to focus on the abstract, essential, and defining components of a product. In contrast, color images can draw attention to the concrete, sometimes unimportant and idiosyncratic features,” say the authors.

Finding the perfect colors for your brand and marketing endeavors can be tricky; however, it’s clear that finding the best combination is well worth the dedication. Regardless of whether your ideal promotional rainbow is multicolored or monochromatic, make sure your efforts aren’t wasted by sub-par print quality. The master operators and cutting-edge press technology at The Dingley Press ensure that your catalogs are printed to the highest standards, so you can rest assured your customers will see — and react to — precisely the colors you want them to.