Why is colour important to your business and brand?

Colour swatchesWhy small business should make the most of their colour!

This post discusses a simple but highly effective approach that can significantly improve the visibility of your brand. Big global brands take full advantage of colour use but many smaller businesses fail to grasp and make effective use of this attribute.

The power of colour

Colour is a hugely powerful and emotive in all aspects of life. Colour is used all around us every day to warn us, direct us, define our mood and re-enforce our perceptions. We all understand why a fire engine is painted red and what a blue flashing light means. For business branding and marketing, colour is just as powerful. The best brands really understand the importance of colour to support the visibility of the brand and messaging.

“Research reveals people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone.

Source: CCICOLOR – Institute for Color Research

The quote above can also be found in this article on the same theme along with a number of other very interesting facts.

www.colormatters.com/color-and-design/why-color-matters

Take the colour test

As a bit of fun take the list of colours below and write a brand name next to each one. See how many match my answers at the end of this article. (No peeking!)

  • Red:
  • Orange:
  • Yellow:
  • Green:
  • Blue:
  • Purple:
  • Red & Yellow:
  • Green & Black:
  • White:
  • Multi:

It will be interesting to see how many of your answers match mine, but actually, that’s not the point. After all, colours are not owned (with a few exceptions) by brands. Colour is not the only aspect of establishing a successful brand identity. However, I would be more surprised, nay astonished if you could think of an answer for each. The point is simply to emphasise how important colour is to establishing brands in the mind of customers.

The lessons for small business

So how is this applicable to my small local business? Well, you may have a much smaller number of actual and potential customers but the rules are just the same. If you can secure your colours in the mind of your customers the recognition of your brand and its message will be amplified. Now it’s important to make clear that colour on its own is not a winning marketing strategy. The importance of your message to the customer and your capacity to deliver on your promise remain the key factors. Painting your falling down wooden fence a consistent shade of red isn’t going to stop it being ineffective at keeping the chickens in the field. In fact, it can have the opposite effect and just get your ineffective fence noticed more by your neighbours… (Slash customers!)

BUT there are several key benefits to using colour consistently with effective messaging:

  • Increased recognition of your brand.
  • Increased engagement and trust.

The common colour mistake small business make

This is really obvious but happens so much in my opinion. Inconsistent use of colour! Most business owners understand they need a logo to define their business for marketing purposes, but few consider the application. Consistent presentation of your identity and use of colour has so many benefits. It simplifies the time, effort and money required to deliver your message. Essentially because there is no debate to be had on the issue of presentation style or colour. This allows you to focus on getting that marketing message just right. Sadly so many small business fail to take control of their presentation style and colour use. This leads to marketing material that may be effective in its messaging, but which is not embedding your brand recognition. It will also inevitably lead to increased costs in creating materials as the presentation of colour is debated each time a task is undertaken.

The 5 simple rules for small business colour use

Before you read my list I should make something clear. This list defines a simple approach to using colour in your brand. There are plenty of examples of brands that use colour in complex and creative ways. However, the more complex the use of colour the more time and money it takes to manage, so if you’re a small business try the following:

  1. Define a simple colour palette for your business
  2. Ensure your logo reflects your use of colour
  3. Use colour consistently in all your marketing
  4. Document your colour palette and ideas for use of colour in your business and across marketing. Share this across your business and with those that apply your brand.
  5. Be consistent!

Clearly, the use of colour by some brands is very much more complex. There are times when you will need to adjust your approach to colour. Sub-brands or developing individual product brands are just a couple of examples. But for a small start-up or existing business keep it simple. Look around you and ask yourself what your brand colour or colours are? Now ask yourself (and others) if your customers would give you the same answer? Look at your marketing material and ask yourself does it all look as if it comes from the same business? If the answers no then I can be pretty sure it’s cost you more money than it should have. And probably missed an opportunity to embed your brand in your customer’s mind.

Colour by itself won’t make you successful. But it will help!

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This is my list (remember I’m UK based so my answers are biased that way and it’s all subjective to your own experience).

  • Red: Coca-Cola
  • Orange: B&Q
  • Yellow: AA
  • Green: M&S
  • Blue: Boots
  • Purple: Cadburys
  • Red & Yellow: McDonald’s
  • Green & Black: Starbucks
  • White: EBAY

 

Social Media, the wettest June and the arrival of Christmas!

Social Media the wettest June on record and the arrival of Christmas!

June was spent dodging the rain and helping a major client tackle their social media and online marketing approach. LTP, based in Wellington, Somerset have recognised the need to embrace an online marketing strategy. Work is ongoing to adjust their approach to their website and content creation and the set up of wordpress (ltptechnical) and tumbler blogs are just the start. Mean time they are jumping on board the social media train with Twitter (@LTP_UK) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/LTP.UK) and I’ll report on the progress at the end of July.

And then Christmas arrived early!

Dorringtons Christmas Pudding label

June also saw the arrival of Christmas for ac4designs as work to complete Christmas Pudding label designs was completed for my favourite bakers Dorringtons. An example of the label design is shown to the right. This continues then work to develop Dorringtons own label brand offerings featured previously. Once production is complete I can feature a full review and an image of the completed package.

New time saving software, Yippeeee!

FunctionFox is currently under trail as part of the ac4designs business development plan and I am pleased to report it looks jus fantastic. This software is just so easy to use and will provide superb levels of project management and time recording. No more handwritten time sheets and full analysis of projects. The handy stop start time clock function app for my iphone is just so cool.

The ac4designs Facebook challenge!

Happy CowsWell I have managed to convince 64 of you to like my Facebook page but still want to more social media activity. If you want a like back just message me…

These cows like me! So can you…
www.facebook.com/ac4designsMain

or if not follow me on Twitter

@ac4designs

Blame the Jubilee – my May update is late!

Design and branding have to take a back seat – The Jubilee celebrations are to blame!

Newton Poppleford Jubilee Parade 2012

Actually thats not really true, but I design and branding did certainly did take a back seat with all the jubilee celebrations both nationally and locally in Newton Poppleford. Hats off to all those that put together the events that took place in and around Newton Poppleford. Much fun was had by all and it was great to see so may Brits coming together to celebrate.

I for one say long live the Queen!

Posting this news-up-date almost two weeks late means I will be giving myself a slap on the wrists (but not to hard we had to celebrate the Jubilee). May was a busy month for ac4designs so heres a round up of what went on.

New business identity

Firstly I am please to announce the completion of an initial business identity to launch FST.UK the UK’s Leading Experts in Fascial Stretch Therapy.

FST.UK logo

Based at Darts Farm in Devon FST.UK provide an innovative form of muscle stretch and preparation specifically aimed at athletes looking to improve performance. Steve Pavis, one of a select number of qualified instructors in the UK, will be launching this new venture to compliment his current Pilates Studio SMP Piliates. As well as creating an initial identity I have been providing Steve with plenty of advice regarding domains, web set up and getting his business identity protected with a trade mark.

I will hope to get more visuals and details added to the site shortly.

Own label branding for packaging and labelling

Dorringtons Generic Own Label for Jams and ChutneysAlso complete and now at production are several projects for Dorringtons a bakers based in Hertfordshire. I continue to help Dorringtons define their brand with designs for gift tins and biscuit boxes, own label designs for jams and chutneys and an as yet to be confirmed new project.

So watch this space for final presentation photos and an update on that latest task.

The ac4designs Facebook challenge!

Friendly CowsFinally I also decided it was time to try and reach the magic 30 likes on my Facebook page by the end of last month. Didn’t quite manage this but did climb from 3 to 15 ( less than 7 days) simply by asking via Facebook and Twitter for people to do so. Many thanks to all those EC friends that helped out and perhaps there is a lesson for us all in there? If you don’t ask you don’t get! Oh and if any one fancies liking my page I am trying again to reach 30 this month.

These cows like me! So can you…
www.facebook.com/ac4designsMain 

Thats all for now folks… accept for one last thought… in this month of EURO 2012…

Watching the England football team is a little like watching paint dry. Tedious. You just hope it dries back the right colour (which in England’s case it usually doesn’t).

But here’s hoping!


Brand shouldn’t be forgotten!

Remember your Brand is your business

In the current economic climate you might be forgiven for thinking that grappling with the complexities of your Brand are the least of your problems.

Brand example: photo of the Apple logoHowever, a strong Brand and effective management can help protect your business in tough economic times. In some cases it can even position you to take advantage of potential opportunities.

Read the full article on my blog...

A busy April draws to a close

A slow start ends positively with lots of graphic design and branding

April has been a positive month in many respects for ac4designs. A slow start to the month has been followed by much graphic design and branding over the last two weeks. The MBLS identity has now been fully delivered along with the Dorringtons Gift Range designs. Check out the MBLS work in my portfolio and look out for an update once the Dorringtons designs are ready to go live. Great to hear that the launch of LTP in China went so well and that my input with exhibition graphics played its part.

Nice to meet you

Time spent this month planning and networking have been really useful. Many thanks to Julie Bramble for a great EC meeting this month. It was great to meet and share ideas with friendly and like minded people. Also enjoyed a quick visit to The Taste of the West Show at Westpoint outside Exeter catching up with an old friend Paul Stokes from Bristol Labels and making a few new ones. Nice to chat with New Century Design and Vale Labels. Hope the rest of the show went well!

Exciting times

The end of the month seems to be coming with a bit of a rush with lots of graphic design and branding projects. Really excited about the identity development work in progress for Fascial Stretch Therapy UK and so pleased to be helping launch a new product range for Broadale (watch this space). Also very much looking forward to getting stuck into jam and chutney labels for Dorringtons over the next week. Looks like it might be an exciting May!

Good luck to Martin Baines Learning Solutions

Just wanted to pass on best wishes to mbls for the future. Hoping the work completed by ac4designs on the business identity, business cards, Microsoft Word stationary templates, PowerPoint presentation templates and website will provide a solid communications platform for the business as it finds its feet.

Martin Baines Learning Solutions logo

More examples of the work produced will appear soon in the ac4designs portfolio.

Looking forward to working with Martin Baines Learning Solutions as 2012 progresses.