3 Steps to Making A Colorful Impact

Did you know that, according to CCI Inc., consumers make a subconscious judgment about people, their environment, or products within 90 seconds of viewing and that between 62% and 90% of their decision-making is based on color alone? A University of Loyola, Maryland study found that color increases brand recognition by up to 80%.

Color is power! According to the American Psychological Association, by hanging an extra “tag” of data on visual scenes, color helps people to process and store images more efficiently than black-and-white. As a result, color impresses images more deeply into people’s memories.

Consider the current trend toward retro packaging. Major brands, including Cheerios to Skippy, Doritos, and Tide, are throwing back to the 70’s, 60’s, and even the 40’s with styles and colors that are deeply familiar to consumers. By tapping into happy childhood memories, they are creating positive associations that help to sell products.

Another example of the power of color can be seen in the addition of green ketchup to the Heinz brand. According to Junk Food News, more than 10 million bottles of Heinz EZ Squirt Blastin’ Green ketchup were sold in the first seven months following its introduction. Heinz factories worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep up with demand. The new green ketchup has generated the highest sales increase in the brand’s history.

So, what can you do to tap into the power of color?

  1. Make color a priority. Really put thought into your choices. Make great choices in using color to draw out the desired emotion from your target audience.
  2. Use great graphics. It’s worth spending a little extra money on artwork, photographs, and design to really make your color pop.
  3. Manage your color carefully. Work with us to manage your color all the way through the process. This starts with submitting images in the right color space (CMYK rather than RGB), using established printing standards to set color profiles, and working with us to optimize your color for our color proofing system.

These basic steps will go a long way toward taking your color from ho, hum to WOW!




Profitable (and Overlooked) Uses of Color

When we think about color in print marketing and direct mail, we think about stunning images and eye-catching graphics. But what about color in the messaging itself? What role should that play? Here are some important but often overlooked ways that color can increase the effectiveness of your print marketing efforts.

Increased Recall and Response

Study after study shows that, when messages and images are in color, it increases recall dramatically. Color increases recall in the 80% range, and people are about 40% more likely to select or read materials when they are in color.

Here are some more benefits of color:

  • Helps readers find information more easily (great for insurance policies, contracts, and other lengthy documents)
  • Reduces errors (highlighting instructions or account information helps people get it right the first time)
  • Slashes payment time (try highlighting the amount owed and the due date with color and watch your invoices get paid faster!)
  • Increases the ability of readers to understand and retain information (great for sales presentations)

When you want to draw your readers’ attention to something, consider printing it in color. Make phone numbers or payment information stand out in a letter. Highlight discounts in a brightly colored starburst. Use arrows or colored bullets to focus attention on key points in a brochure.

Success Translates into Dollars

One success story comes from the State of California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), which produces more than 14 million personal income tax returns each year. The FTB used to send out tax notices, but many taxpayers didn’t know what they needed to do, how much to pay, or where to send the payment.  The result was slow payments and expensive volumes of calls to call centers.

The FTB decided to do something different. It added highlight color and personalized messaging to explain exactly what each taxpayer needed to do. Key information was displayed in blue, guiding taxpayers through the document and giving them specific instructions.

The result? Faster payments and fewer mistakes. This translated into millions in additional interest income and, at an average cost of $15 per call to the call center, significant savings from reduced call center contacts.

The takeaway? Color matters—not just in your graphics, but in your messaging, too. It is central to your brand identity and marketing psychology. Let us help you use color to make you money and save you money, too!

Make Your Printed Materials Pop with Color!

Printed materials are a visual introduction to your company. Adding a splash of color will…

  • Distinguish your marketing collateral from the competition;
  • Emphasize important information, like the name of your product or a Web address;
  • Lead the reader to the most important content first; and
  • Convey a specific mood or tone.

Color is a powerful way to elicit a particular response. Psychologists and marketers alike associate red with excitement and passion; yellow is cautionary; blue is cool and authoritative, but also peaceful; green is relaxing and symbolizes nature. It’s important to make sure your color palette is consistent with the message you wish to convey.

You must decide not only which colors to use, but how many. Too many gradients and colors can be distracting. A two-color ad can be just as effective as a four-color ad. The simple use of color using these basic combinations is still interesting and pleasing to the eye. Make sure the light color dominates your printed piece to maximize impact.

  • Orange/blue: A great attention-grabber; think of the cleaning aisle at the grocery store.
  • Green/red: Doesn’t have the same contrast as orange/blue, but still gets attention; this is often used by restaurants (the colors stimulate appetite) and for environmental pieces (with red symbolizing fire and green the earth).
  • Orange/yellow/black: This combination shouts, “Look here!” Go for maximum effect by placing black type against an orange or yellow background.
  • Purple/yellow: These complementary colors create a sense of elegance and importance and are often associated with royalty.

Color reproduction can be a challenge. What you see on your computer is not the same as what you see in the final printed piece. Images on your computer monitor are displayed using RGB colors produced by combining red, green, and blue. Offset printing produces color by mixing cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) inks. An RGB file may appear blue, but when it is printed with CMYK ink using a combination of 100% cyan and 100% magenta it will look purple.  If you plan to design printed pieces in-house, consider investing in a color management system.

Ask us about combining the colors you select with different paper options and varnishing techniques, such as UV coating, to produce different eye-catching effects and add even more pop to your brochure, postcard or direct mail piece.

Make Graphics and Color Sell!

When you think about marketing that packs a punch, your thoughts most likely turn to the list, the pitch, and the incentives. But when it comes to the design, how much thought do you put into your images and the color of your graphics? As long as they look good, is that enough? No! One of the secrets to powerhouse selling is knowing how images and color influence the buying decision.

Graphics have better recall than words, so they are a critical part of the mix. Your target audience will remember the images, even if they don’t remember the text, so your images have to do more than look pretty. You need to select images that communicate the same message you are communicating through your copy.

Color is an emotional trigger, as well. Every shade has both a positive and a negative connotation, however, so it needs to be selected carefully.  For example . . .

  • Red is a dominant color that might successfully evoke an image of love and passion, but it might tap into the darker feelings of rage and violence, too.
  • Green can stimulate thoughts of money and self-actualization, but greed and envy are associated with this hue, as well.
  • Yellow is associated with happiness and joy, but if you are marketing products to men, it can be seen as childish and inappropriate for merchandise associated with prestige.

Great marketing starts with a relevant list and a great message, but they only tell half the story. Pair a great list and powerful message with an understanding of the critical roles of graphics and color and your efforts will be outstanding.