Advertising with Hue-mans in mind – Why color is important for effective advertising.


Making the right color choices is one of the most important elements for graphic designers. When developing ads, it is important that we use the best color schemes that communicate our clients’ core messages. The color choices we make largely influence how the ad is perceived and whether or not the audience receives the advertisement as appealing. In fact, color choices are so important that many companies hand-pick color schemes that will be used across all advertising channels as a way to monitor their effectiveness.

For example, Apple Computers’ advertising has maintained a very clean, simple and sleek style over the years. To communicate the message of “chic” they predominantly use black and/or white in their ads. Once in a while however, the ads will feature a subtle color to communicate specific messages. In the pictured ad for the 1998 iMac, Apple purposefully used the color blue to show their new color line. But by using blue ,they evoked feelings of confidence, trust, relaxation and security from their audience.

The introduction of the iMac in 1998 was the beginning of an era for Apple. Effectively used, the blue color brings fourth feelings of confidence, trust, relaxation, and security.

Colors have the power to spark different emotions, energies and feelings from an audience like: purity, sadness, joy, and fear. The feeling that advertisers most often hope to inspire is the need for purchasing. When colors are taken into consideration I always ask: which color scheme will inspire this audience to make a purchase?

When I am deciding which colors to use for ads, I consider the audience’s interest first. For instance, if I were to create an ad for a children’s clothing line, I would want to create an ad that used colors to communicate happiness, youth, and health. Soft yellows and pinks, pastels and light shades of blue are colors that are tailored to the aforementioned themes. Naturally, they would be the first colors I would gravitate to when creating the advertisement.

Speaking of blue, let’s take a look at it again. This Microsoft advertisement predominantly features blue. As a company, Microsoft has chosen to even use blue in several places within Windows. Blue is used in the bottom tool bar, the menu bar, and even on the default desktop wallpaper. Just as Apple used blue in the 1998 advertisement above, Microsoft also communicated confidence, security, and sophistication by using this shade.

When the Windows phone was released, their ad campaign was very similar to Apple’s, using simplicity and the color blue.

Just as blue communicates a very specific message, it is very important to understand all colors and what their underlying message is so that ads properly evoke the right emotions.

Orange: Communicates creativity and playfulness. A very successful use of the color orange is located on the logos for both Nickelodeon and Home Depot. Nickelodeon is encouraging play and Home Depot is encouraging creativity by use of this warm hue.

Yellow: Communicates happiness, warmth and fun. Using yellow commands attention especially when paired with a darker color. For example, McDonalds often uses yellow against red in advertisements to demonstrate fun and excitement for their food and for their restaurants.

Red: A symbol for fire, red communicates passion and action. The professional hockey team, The Detroit Red Wings uses red on their logo to demonstrate their fast-paced action in the rink. Similarly, Quicksilver appropriately uses the color red on their logo as well, signifying the active lifestyle of their consumers.

As a designer, I know that it is very important to choose colors carefully to ensure the right energies are being communicated on behalf of an organization. When using color correctly, an advertisement has the power to motivate a sale and create a bond between the consumer and the product/service. Simply put, colors are just as important as text or language in an advertisement because they provide depth and meaning to the messages on a grander (and more emotional) scale.


One Response to “Advertising with Hue-mans in mind – Why color is important for effective advertising.”

  1. Color! | Artsy Advertising Says:

    […] Advertising with Hue-mans in mind – Why color is important for effective advertising. ( […]

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