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Color Choice is the Spice of Creative Life

Written by in Color & Texture


By Pinch, Spoon or Cup Full, 
Nothing Enhances Print Communication
Like a Bright (or Soothing) Burst of Color

Moody hues with dramatic appeal, regal violet with a touch of romance, or bursts of energetic yellow. How do you explain your preference for a rich red over cornflower blue, or bright orange over moss green? Color makes us feel.

It’s the power of color. Or might we say, the business of color? Because color is a powerful marketing tool.

“Color is fascinating because it has so many layers of meaning,” says Sarah Sears of S Design. “When exploring color choices, it’s never a simple choice. Meaning, industry, and competitive strategy as well as trends all play a role.”

Understand color, and you’ve a jumpstart over competitors—no matter the market. Numerous studies prove that only 20% of color choice is conscious. Therefore, color holds much—80%—in the way of buying power. This is nothing for brands to sneeze at, truly. A study titled Impact of Color on Marketing by Satyendra Singh discovered “that managers can use colors to increase or decrease appetite, enhance mood, calm down customers, and reduce perception of waiting time.”

Blue is considered cool, and red warm. In terms of business, blue conveys the safe choice, think of the sky and ocean. And think IBM, Samsung, and GE. Red is riskier, symbolizing danger. It grabs attention. Think stop signs, and then of Marlboro, Oracle, and Nescafe.


From the Psychology of Color infographic.

Who knew power was color-coded? Well, judging from the ever-growing number of color experts, the secret’s out. But while color consulting is growing field, no expert is so revered as Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. Fashion, design and advertising, interior design, and packaging look to the institution for trends and forecasting.

Multi Pattern Snack Bowls, Set of 4

Image courtesy of Pottery Barn.

The cars we drive, linens we buy, makeup we apply, clothes we wear, and appliances we use are “colored” by Pantone’s color forecasting. Marsala, Color of the Year, sets the tone for a more natural palette in 2015. Eiseman describes Marsala, as having an “undertone of red brown, rich robust warmth sophisticated earthiness. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.” For creatives, Eiseman continues, “[It’s] an earthy shade with a bit of sophistication, texture is the story in print and packaging.”

“In our identity work, it is much more important for the meaning [of color] to take precedence,” explains Sears, “and for us to consider the competitive strategy in the industry. When working on campaigns and events, we look to trends to keep things fresh. We look to Pinterest boards for inspiration, magazines from the architecture, interior design and graphic design industries. We use Pantone as our platform for specifying color.”

Oriental Weavers_PANTONE UNIVERSE Optic_COTY 2

Image courtesy of Oriental Weavers.

Last month, the PANTONE® Fashion Color Report Fall 2015 launched as “an Evolving Color Landscape.” It casts a wide net—the hues come from opposite ends of the spectrum, creating the first palette to be considered androgynous. “They remind us of things that are real and are protective, they exude poise and confidence,” Eiseman says. People make up their minds about productions in just under two minutes, with color as a strong, deciding factor. Informed creatives and brands know this—as does Neenah. Its colorful uncoated offerings are plentiul and complement Pantone’s Top Ten Fall Colors.

“Colored paper often helps us achieve a rich sense of color for an identity system,” Sears explains. “It’s a great way to add depth to an identity system and to get a better value on our printing costs.”

Looking to gain an advantage with a print piece? Neenah’s kaleidoscopic color selector is the place to start. And if Marsala tickles your design fancy, check out Neenah Papers great pearlized colors including STARDREAM® Papers in Mars or any  of their 350+ varietions of colors.

For more information, read Color and Texture in High-value Print Applications.