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The Art of Contrasting Colors in Your Marketing Collateral

Dillon Kivo

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The Art of Contrasting Colors in Your Marketing Collateral

It doesn’t matter what type of marketing collateral you’re designing or what type of message you’re trying to communicate – your color choices are about a great deal more than just a surface level visual appeal.

The psychology of color has been covered extensively in the past, and it’s been proven that colors can directly impact the emotions that someone feels when viewing a piece of material. Yellowish colors have a warm hue to them that tends to convey a feeling of optimism. Red is a little bolder and striking, and because of that, it’s a great way to create a feeling of excitement. Blue is commonly seen as dependable and strong and it’s the perfect choice to use when trying to get across a sense of trust for your brand.

But colors can be so powerful that their long-term psychological impact doesn’t even have to end there. You can create an even deeper impression with your target audience through the strategic use of contrasting colors, for example. Of course, this just requires you to remember a few key pointers along the way.

Using Contrasting Colors for Emphasis: Breaking Things Down

For the sake of an example, let’s say you’ve used a service like Respona to extensively research your audience and you’ve got a number of different topics that you’re sure are going to be hit. You’ve gone through that list and narrowed your selection down to ideas that can be communicated visually and now you’re about to get started.

When you use a Venn diagram maker like Visme (which I founded), you already know that you’re going to be showing a relationship between two different ideas. Let’s say you’re comparing yourself to your closest competitor. But even more so than the size of each circle in the diagram, your color choice can also heavily impact the ultimate idea that people take away from the collateral.

Naturally, you would want to choose a color like blue to represent your brand’s circle, as it immediately gets across a sense of trust. But to really cement the idea that you’re far out ahead of everyone else, choose the color black to represent your competition. Black naturally gives off feelings of unhappiness and even evilness in certain contexts. Is that maybe hitting your point a little on the hard side? Sure – but who said marketing had to be subtle?

So not only can people see your message because of the Venn diagram, but they also subconsciously feel your message because of the color selections. Suddenly, something that was already effective becomes that much more powerful.

You can use these same ideas in your other collateral, too. Let’s say you were using a presentation maker to chronicle the last year or so of activity in your market that your brand has engaged in. Naturally, your story would be filled with many proverbial highs and lows – everyone’s is, after all.

By breaking your presentation down into sections devoted to each “point” and by giving each one of those sections a subtly contrasting color theme, you can again play directly into the emotions of the people who are going to be viewing it. During the slides of the presentation devoted to anything positive, use colors like yellow to denote warmth and energy. But when things aren’t necessarily going your way, rely on darker colors like (once again) black or even green (which signifies envy).

Then, when your story circles back around and you’ve naturally persevered and overcome your obstacles, return to strong, bolder colors like red or brown (which gives off feelings of reliability and strength).

Suddenly, your readers aren’t just going on a narrative journey – they’re going on an emotional one, too. Whether they realize it or not, they can FEEL the impact of the story as it unfolds in front of them and they’re essentially going on the journey with you at that point. Your collateral will suddenly become even more rich and evocative, even though the content itself hasn’t actually changed.

This is one of the many, many ways that you can not only create better content as a marketer but create content that functions well on many different layers below that “instant gratification” surface layer we all love so much. Yes, it requires a little extra effort. However, the end result is more than worth when your relationship with your target audience has deepened as well.

Founder & Editor-In-Chief of Kivo Daily Magazine

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