The Colour of Business

Look around you; colour is everywhere! Colour is a form of non-verbal communication and an important part of our daily lives, so it makes sense to consider how colour affects business. It is one of the most important tools you can use – from what you wear to the office, corporate events or business meetings to the colours you choose for your logo, website and product packaging. Colour makes a powerful impact – positively or negatively.

Dress for success

People are six times more likely to be influenced by the colour you wear than by any other aspect of your appearance. Decide what message you want to convey and consider the situation. If you are conducting a consultation, promoting in a shopping mall, attracting people at a bridal show, or making a speech, each situation may call for a different message.

Here are some tips from on how to use colour to convey the right image:

  • Trust and credibility
    Blue is the safest colour. It is universally liked by people.
  • Friendliness and approachability
    Choose lighter colours such as mid-tone blues and greens, blue-greens, teal, tan and peachy-orange.
  • Assertiveness and to get noticed
    Try red if you’re talking to a large group.
  • Confidence
    Blue-green is a good colour for women. It suggests high self- esteem and confidence, yet is friendly and approachable.
  • Dependability
    Green conveys emotional balance, but be careful because not everyone likes it.
  • Neutrality
    Grey or beige is a great choice.
  • Professionalism with authority
    Dark blue and dark grey are the most business-like colours and convey a sense of credibility.
  • Shock and inspiration
    Break out that magenta suit and be ready to stand out.

Colour and the consumer

The visual sense is an influential source of information when people are making purchasing decisions. According to research by Satyendra Singh about the impact of colour on marketing, people make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interaction with people or products, and between 60% and 90% of that assessment is based on colour. Colour is also one of the most powerful components of design. In fact, consumers place visual appearance and colour above other factors when shopping. Use colour to your advantage by choosing the right colour scheme for your brand.
Here’s a list of colours and the messages they convey to consumers from Monica Diana Bercea in the Color Psychology of Consumer Decision Making:

  • Yellow: Optimistic, youthful – grabs attention of window shoppers
  • Red: Energy, increases heart rate, creates urgency – often seen in clearance sales
  • Blue: Creates a sense of trust and security – often used by banks and businesses
  • Green: Associated with wealth and the easiest colour for the eyes to process – used to relax in stores
  • Orange: Aggressive – creates a call to action such as subscribe, buy or sell
  • Pink: Romantic and feminine – used in marketing to women and girls
  • Black: Powerful and sleek – used to market luxury products
  • Purple: Calms and soothes – used in beauty and anti-aging products

Colour can also attract a specific type of shopper and change shopping behaviour.

  • Impulse shoppers – red, black and blue. They are often seen at fast food chains, outlet malls and clearance sales.
  • Budget shoppers – navy or teal. They’re often used in banks and department stores.
  • Traditional shoppers – pink, sky blue or rose. You see these colours used in clothing stores.

When it comes to branding, consider all the companies that have successfully used a single colour to brand their products and create an image in the mind of the consumer: Cadbury – purple; Tiffany – robin’s egg blue; Home Depot – orange; and Target – red.

Colour and trade shows

Trade shows are a great way of generating new business. You only have a few seconds to grab the attention of a potential customer, so you need to ensure your trade show exhibit makes an impact. Popular, trendy colours can draw in more visitors. This includes not only the colours that appear in your booth and promotional materials, but also the colours worn by your booth staff.

Colours that complement each other include orange and blue, yellow and purple, and red and green. Complementary colours can make for eye-catching displays. Another approach is using several shades of the same colour which can give a harmonious look to an exhibit. Blues, greens and purples are cool colours and are soothing and calming. Reds, yellows and oranges are warm colours and are active and stimulating.

For more great trade show tips, check out

Colour. Never look at it the same way again.


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