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Color + Reaction

How would you react if you saw a fast food restaurant that advertises its products by using the follow combination of colors?

I did see that a couple of days back…did not find it inviting.

It was a local restaurant and happens to be a small company; however, that does not allow the owners to make the wrong choice when it comes to colors. That must not be the least of their concerns. This aspect of the image is responsible for identifying the products, the place…the brand. 

Making the right impression is the key to success.

“Colors speak very loud to our subconscious and have a positive or negative reaction within 90 seconds.” (Geer, 2005)

He also provides a list on the meaning of colors. Black refers to “authority”, “power”, “boldness” or “seriousness”; gray is related to “authority”, “practicality”, “earnestness” or “creativity”;  green is associated with “health”, “fertility”, “freedom” or “freshness”.

Those colors correspond to the example of this local restaurant. It is now difficult to determine what their concept as a company is. There is little connection between them…especially with that flashy green. Too acid.

Let us think of a more harmonic example, where the colors generate a more dynamic image, and therefore, a different reaction. You might even associate them with a very well known fast food restaurant:

In this case, colors are more connected to different emotions like “excitement” in red and “cheer” in yellow. On the other hand, it all depends on the company’s target so that it is easier to decide what projection is appropriate. With this example, it is possible to infer that there is a tendency for kids; in the situation mentioned above, there is too much confusion.

So keep in mind:

  • Before printing out any kind of graphic materials for your company, make sure you are fully aware of what the colors you choose reflect.
  • To avoid issues when printing, try to only have two colors for the final design. Maybe three, but just maybe.
  • While people take 90 seconds to react in a positive or negative way to colors, on the web (according to Geer) is less than 30! Yes, perception is this important.

For further information, I recommend The 7 Wonders of the Food Coloring World and The Meaning of Colours articles.

What do you guys think? Any other suggestions for colors and design?

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