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  • Writer's pictureAriana Bhargava

Aam's Design Series: COLOR

One of the most important aspects of marketing and advertising is design. The initial form of communication with any audience, design catches the eye, dictates user experiences, and is often the first impression a consumer will get of a brand. Our Design Blog series will help break down the world of marketing design and analyze the current trends in the design space.


We’re starting with color. From logos to websites to the products themselves, color is everywhere. So how can brands utilize color to their advantage?


Color Trends

Recently, a color trend that has been circulating on social media has been generation-associated colors. For example, this pale pink color, known as “millennial pink” or “Tumblr pink” has been around for years, but grew to popularity in the 2010s. Said to specifically be a hit with the millennial generation, this color was seen in a lot of branding, arguably most notably in makeup brand Glossier. In 2017, Edited published an article on the color featuring marketing analytics on the trendy shade. It stated, “true enough, new arrivals of pink are up in most places. They’re up by 9.4% in the mass market (hello, millennials) as well as by 1% in the premium market. And increases in pink sellouts have followed, up 12.7% in mass and 16.5% in premium.” The color was everywhere and as Edited stated, “look at all that millennial pink and smell the $$.”


But with a name like that, and generation identities becoming a hot topic, it begs the question: What about the other generations? What about Gen Z? And many have speculated. One nomination is “Gen Z yellow” seen in articles from Business of Fashion, Cosmopolitan, and Repeller of being the generation defining color like in branding such as Starface, a popular brand with Gen Z that has become synonymous with its signature bright yellow. Others, like The Color Palette Studio and Wix are advocating for a shade of purple seen in branding like Florence by Mills, Billie, and Curology. Though there isn’t a definitive answer, these trends in color and association with target demographics has been proven effective and lucrative and is something brands should keep in mind with their design.


Color Psychology

So how might a brand decide what colors to use? Colors have always been associated with certain emotions and in fact, scientists can even measure changes in the body such as in blood pressure in response to viewing certain colors. Here’s a simple chart of the colors and the main emotions they elicit.



Color

Associated Emotions

Red

Anger, danger, passion, power, strength

Orange

Energy, creativity, friendliness

Yellow

Happiness, brightness, playfulness, youth, excitement, enthusiasm

Green

Nature, earth, calmness, growth, staility

Blue

Calmness, trust, serenity, peace

Purple

Power, excitement, creativity, luxury, confidence

Pink

Femininity, intuition, romance, dreaminess

Black

Dramaticy, power, strength, formality, cleanliness, sophistication

White

Purity, innocence, cleanliness, simplicity, honesty

Brown

Earthy, rugged, nature dependability

Gray

Softness, trust, knowledge, neutrality


Choosing Your Fighter

When deciding what colors to use for logos, advertisements, websites, and other marketing, there's a lot for brands to think about. It can be difficult to decide what to prioritize—tradition, color psychology, trends with demographics, value statements—but here’s some brands who’ve seemed to crack the code and why:

  1. The Sill —sometimes going obvious is the best choice. This plant brand chose a bright green as their signature color, often accompanied by their signature font. Of course, green and plants just naturally go together in the human mind— and there’s nothing wrong with that! Still, the brand chose a brighter shade of the color going for a more enthusiastic mood that will likely attract a younger crowd.

  2. Lego —simple color psychology with a twist. When you think of lego, you likely think of bright yellow, the color of its lego-people products. However, Lego’s logo is primarily red. Red easily catches one’s eye (especially for children) and makes for an easily recognized logo anywhere. However, yellow is known for its playfulness and youth and is the perfect color to associate with Lego’s products.

  3. Coca-Cola —tradition and creativity. The brand is almost synonymous with its signature color of red, but it has nothing to do with the product itself. Sure it may catch the eye on the grocery store aisle but besides that is there any reasoning? Legend has it, the company painted their barrels red during prohibition to distinguish themselves from alcoholic beverages. But what about now? Through small rebrands and every campaign, the brand’s long tradition of its signature red and white is so recognizable it simply cannot be altered. So instead, the brand has leaned heavily into Christmas marketing, as the colors for the holiday are very similar to their own (in addition to the fact the holiday is so lucrative) which allows for seamless holiday marketing and design.

  4. Glossier —trendy by demographics. We’ve already discussed Glossier so we’ll keep it brief. One of the brand’s leading factors of their rise of popularity was their packaging and building a cult around their branding design. This specifically spoke to the millennial generation  as we’ve mentioned and their signature color definitely helped.


Creative Colors

Though arguably less important, a brand’s product color names can also be a fun way to connect with an audience or stay consistent with themes. For example, kitchenware brand Our Place's Diwali Collection featured products with color options such as “turmeric” and “spice” to go thematically with the holiday. Makeup brands are most known for doing this, and can be especially exciting with collaborations. Makeup brand Colourpop is particularly great at this, as they collaborate often and love a good theme. For example, their “Back to Hogwarts” eyeshadow palette includes colors like “forbidden forest,” “patronus,” and “slytherin.” Though this is only a small aspect of one’s branding, it’s a great way to elevate thematic branding and excite consumers.


Colors are only one facet of branding design, but are such a creative and fun way to captivate consumers and communicate aspects of a brand from the jump.

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