Communicating with Color

Communicating with Color

You and your business communicate with more than words, of course. The color(s) in your logo, brochure, business cards and web site all send strong messages about who you are, what you do, and how well you do it.

According to Darrell Zahorsky at, in North America, here are the messages certain colors communicate:

  • White: Pure. Clean. Youthful. It is a neutral color that can imply purity in fashion and sterilization in the medical profession.
  • Black: Power. Elegant. Secretive. The color black can target your high-end market or be used in youth marketing to add mystery to your image.
  • Red: Passion. Excitement. Danger. Red is the color of attention, causing the blood pressure and heart rate to rise. Use red to inject excitement into your brand.
  • Orange: Vibrant. Energy. Play. Add some fun to your company if you want to create a playful environment for your customers.
  • Yellow: Happy. Warm. Alert. Yellow can be an attractor for your business with a relaxed feeling.
  • Green: Natural. Healthy. Plentiful. To create a calming effect or growth image choose green. Go green go.
  • Purple: Royalty. Wise. Celebration. Maybe add some purple tones to your look for your premium service business.
  • Blue: Loyal. Peaceful. Trustworthy. Blue is the most popular and neutral color on a global scale. A safe choice for a business building customer loyalty.

Do you agree? Your thoughts? And what if every business used these colors in exactly this way? The world might get a little more boring and predictable, do you think?

  1. joycejoyce08-26-2007

    I agree with Darrell.
    I disagree that everyone using color this way would make the world boring!

    The world of advertising is certainly not boring – good advertising communicates with color effectively, and the concepts of color as Darrell describes have been consistent through the years.

    I have been a graphic designer for 20+ years, and I have found that although the use of these colors for their effective communication is constant, the infinite variety of usage is never boring!

    Purity in the medical profession may be conveyed with different images and verbiage than purity in a spiritual sense.

    Using red to capture attention on a background of blue may give us a certain “feeling” about what we see on a page, but the content of words and images is what holds us there to read further.

    In general, color tones are very effective when instilling a “feeling.” There are many studies done in marketing to understand what colors will sell what kinds of product, and although the popular colors may vary from year to year in tone, the overall impression of the fashion colors lead back to Darrell Zahorsky’s list.

    We can’t change the way people react to color. As a graphics professional, I rely on color studies to relate the image of my customers to the world! It is my job to keep it interesting.

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