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Welcome to the ever-relocating home of Carlee Potter's online stuff. Updated very irregularly, but nonetheless enthusiastically (the content that is, not the design).

see also: @carleecomm

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Saturday, 15 October 2011

Communicating With Colour

We all know yellow means happiness and green represents nature, but what about colour association for business? Anne Ward, colour consultant for over 15 years, explains why colour choice is crucial for businesses to get right.

"In the corporate world, you have to use colours that are attractive to potential customers. You need eye-catching colours that are noticed and remembered, so that when the customer thinks of those colours, they are reminded of your brand."
"Colour is as important as catchy advertising jingles. If the same colours are used every time, then it is easier for people to associate that colour with your company."

To help you choose what colours suit your business, Sitepoint book - The Principles of Beautiful Web Design by Jason Beaird - explains why, as consumers, we are drawn to certain colours. Here are some of the best bits:

• Red - not only does this colour represent passion and love, it also known to increase human metabolism, as well as stimulate adrenalin and blood pressure. Dark rich reds, like burgundy and maroon, tend to sit very well with wine enthusiasts and people who enjoy a rich life. Earthy shades are associated with autumn and harvesting.

• Orange - the softer version of red, orange tends to be a lot less formal for business and is great for cuisine businesses as it promotes appetite.

[Anne suggests that orange also represents quality, but not at a great cost.]

• Yellow - this is a highly active and visible colour. Products that are yellow tend to be best sellers and are great for businesses that want to get your attention.

[According to Anne, yellow is also the colour of learning - if you need to remember something it is best to print it on yellow paper, that's why a lot of sale signs are yellow... and maybe explains Post It notes, too!]

• Green - of course green can be associated with nature, growth and freshness, but bright green tends to have a ‘techy' feel about it when partnered with black.

• Blue - conveying a sense of stability and clarity of purpose, blue is the true ‘corporate' colour. It's not a great idea to partner blue with a food business though, as it can reduce appetite! Can you think of many foods you love to eat that are blue?

• Purple - a powerful colour to represent wealth and extravagance, which sits especially well with a florist business, as there is a strong connection between purple and flowers.

• White - a great colour as it is often overlooked because of the ‘default' association with it. It is fantastic for cleaning businesses, especially laundry detergents, as it represents cleanliness. You can make a bold statement with white if you use it in unexpected ways.

• Black - Standing for power, elegance and strength, this is one colour not to mess with! It is stunning for businesses promoting upper-class elegance like limousine hire or even fashion houses.

Free Colour Tools

  • The Color Harmonizer is designed to emulate basic music theory principles to produce a harmonious colour scheme. As with the various keys in music, each colour set emits a different emotional feel.
  • DeGraeve's Colour Palette Generator lets you enter the URL of an image and creates a palette to match! In this case you would choose a "statement image" which represents the all over look and feel you're aiming for - a travel agent might use an image of a tropical island beach.
Tip: To get the URL (online address/location) of an image you'd like to use for inspiration, just right-click on the picture and select ‘properties'. The location (URL) will begin with "http://www..."
  • Adobe Kuler is a web-hosted application that helps you generate your own colour themes and allows you to browse through thousands of colour palettes created and named by others. Every palette created can be voted for so you can browse by most popular and get a kick out of the crazy names people give them, eg. Retro Spanky, Dark Sandy Dirt after Rain, Old Bed and Chicken Dinner.