Tuesday, 1 March 2016

My Useful Guide: Understanding Colour

Colour can have an enormous impact on the way we see and feel. It is perceived in different ways by different people, effecting usability and business marketing.

Surrounded by colour in everyday life it often goes unnoticed or unappreciated. 

Do you know what your brand colour is saying about you?
Blues emit tranquility and calm. Greens, freshness and environment. Yellows, happiness and energy. Purples convey luxury and wealth. Pinks, compassion and playfulness. Red, power and passion and orange, confidence and success. 

Our minds are programmed to respond to colour whether it's stopping at traffic lights or taking note of warning signs. Not only that, but colour can help us to process and store memories and as a result, brands are intrinsically linked back to their colours. It is thought that 80% of brand recognition is down to colour alone. It is the first cause of association, closely followed by symbols/shapes and finally words.

Once you have your brand colours how do you go about using and reproducing them?

Why it’s important to know CMYK and Pantone breakdowns
The Pantone colour matching system is a standardised range of colours. Pantone colour books are produced to allow designers, printers and the general public to choose, reference and control consistency throughout marketing both in print and online. With their own numerical reference, each colour has a swatch showing how it will appear on coated and uncoated stock. This allows designers and printers around the world to produce work with accurate colour reproduction each and every time.

Each Pantone colour (spot) has its own unique breakdown for CMYK (cyan - blue, magenta - pink, yellow and black) for print and RGB (red, green and blue) for web.

Pantone books let designers choose the closest possible CMYK, RGB and HEX value for each pantone colour – allowing CMYK reproductions to stay as representative of the brand colours as possible – i.e. in magazines and other publications which do not allow for special pantone spot inks to be used in the production process.

Things to know when printing your brand colours
Commercial printers will print in four colour process (CMYK) - printing these four colours at various percentages on top of each other produces a large spectrum of colour. However, due to the vibrancy of a colour, it may be necessary to print using Pantone spot colour to create the desired result. It is important to consider whether your colour can be recreated in a CMYK process right at the beginning, as printing spot colours will have an effect on future printing costs.

Paper stocks can also affect the outcome. Ink sits on the surface of coated paper making print appear bright and colourful. On uncoated paper, the ink soaks into the fibres and can leave colours looking dull and less vibrant. 

Pantone also provide metallic and neon colours - Offering almost endless opportunities to stand out from the crowd when it comes to your brand.

A designers input and brand guidelines
There are a number of colours at our disposal, providing consistency across your brand, also helping people with recognition and association of the brand. Finding the right colour can prove to be a great tool to have in your brand toolboxHaving a set of brand guidelines, even better. 

Brand guidelines are a set of rules for logo use, colour palette, typography and other visual devices, providing a fundamental style for communicating to your client base. Having a set of guidelines in place defines and promotes brand integrity.

After inspiration? Why not have a look at our corporate guidelines portfolio or have a look at our case study.