Sign & Digital Graphics

August '16

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • August 2016 • 31 cent, according to a University of Loyola, Maryland study. There are natural—or universal— associations evoked by shapes and col- ors that are common to all of us. For example, a horizontal line is stable and a diagonal line is dynamic. Red is hot and full of fire, blue is cool and watery. And, both can be intangible like a flame or the sky. In fact, our minds are programmed to respond to color. For example, we stop our cars for red lights and go on green. Brands and Their Personality Psychologist and Stanford profes- sor Jennifer Aaker has conducted stud- ies on this very topic in her research titled Dimensions of Brand Personality. Her studies have found five core dimensions that play a role in a brand's personal- ity: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness. Brands can sometimes cross between two traits, but they are mostly dominated by only one. For example, high fashion clothing feels sophisticated, camping gear feels rugged, and so on. Several adjectives help illustrate the core dimen- sions: Sincerity Honest, genuine, authentic Excitement Daring, spirited, imaginative Competence Reliable, responsible, de- pendable, efficient, effective Sophistication Glamorous, charming, romantic Ruggedness Tough, strong, outdoorsy Certain colors do broadly align with specific traits (e.g., brown with rugged- ness, purple with sophistication, and red with excitement). But most academic stud- ies on colors and branding indicate that it's far more important for your brand's colors to support the personality you want to portray instead of trying to align with stereotypical color associations. Without this context, choosing one color over another doesn't make much sense, Further, there is very little evi- dence to support that, say, 'orange' will universally make people purchase a product more often than 'silver'—or any other two color comparison for that matter. Color Preferences by Gender Perceived appropriateness may explain why the most popular vehicle col- ors are white, black, silver and gray, but is there something else at work that explains why there aren't very many purple power tools? From the day babies are brought home and wrapped in their pink or blue blankets, implications are made about gender and color. While there are no concrete rules about what colors are exclusively feminine or masculine, there have been studies conducted over the past several decades that draw some general- izations. In his 2003 Colour Assignments study, market researcher Joe Hallock's data showcases some clear preferences in certain colors across gender. When the study participants were asked for their favorite color, the results were as follows: Men's Favorite % Women's Favorite % Blue 57 Blue 35 Green 14 Purple 23 Black 9 Green 14 Red 7 Red 9 Hallock then polled survey takers for their least favorite color and the distribu- tion of responses was more varied. The most notable points in the study are the supremacy of blue across both genders—it was the favorite color for both groups—and the disparity between groups on purple. Women list purple as a top-tier color, but not a single man listed purple as a favorite color. Additional research in studies on color perception and preferences show that when it comes to shades, tints and hues, men seem to prefer bold colors while women prefer softer colors. Also, men were more likely to select shades of colors as their favorites (colors with black added), whereas women were more receptive to tints of colors (colors with white added). Although different colors can be perceived in different ways, the names of those colors matter, as well. According to several studies, when focus group participants were asked to evaluate prod- ucts with different color names, "fancy" names were preferred far more often. For example, mocha was found to be signifi- cantly more likeable than brown—despite the fact that the researchers showed sub- jects the same color. First Impressions While color and marketing do go hand-in-hand, the particular color in any marketing piece—from logos and website design to printed materials to product packaging—can send either an appealing or negative subconscious mes- sage, depending on who, where and when someone sees it. While color may not be the most important ingredient in your marketing, it is usually the first thing that people notice and about which draw an opinion. Don't underestimate the power of that first impression. Australian social scientist Judy Scott- Kemmis wrote the book, The Colour of Men's Least Favorite % Women's Least Favorite % Brown 27 Orange 33 Purple 22 Brown 20 Orange 22 Grey 17 Yellow 13 Yellow 13 White 5 Purple 8 Grey 5 Green 6 Least Favortie Color Preferences by Gender

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