Color theory is more than just a theory, it’s a fact. Colors influence moods, perceptions of value and even the choices that we make when we describe things, events and other people in the world. The question for peace builders is how to harness this material fact when building a brand, a business and a web presence in the 21st century.
The author and consumer psychologist, Neil Patel, writes in his article, The Psychology of Color: How to Use Colors to Increase Conversion Rate (link here) that:
“When it comes to persuasion, emotion is the primary target. And nothing – not even words or images – appeals more to people’s emotions than color.
Colors impact everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you’re developing software, designing a book cover, or simply branding your business: colors define mood and influence responses.”
Peace builders know that everything affects a party’s mood in a mediation setting: the nature of the room, the comfort of the chairs (or, if outdoors, the ground), even the smells in the air. How many opportunities for peace have been derailed because the atmosphere of the physical setting created a mood of defensiveness and stonewalling, rather than a mood of listening and agreement?
The same holds true with color choice for a peace building brand.
Colors serve as another means of persuasive non-verbal communication for a potential client, letting them know about a peace builder’s level of trustworthiness, competency and knowledge. For the peace builder, careful color considerations matter because the majority of peace builders start out working as soloprenuers—that is, working alone without the benefit of a “supporting cast.” In the case of being alone, personal branding, or the ability to authentically integrate a professional online presence with a professional offline presence, matters a lot.
So, what colors for their brand image should the peace builder choose when marketing?
Blue indicates trust, dignity, intelligence and authority. In study after study, people polled tend to place a high value on the color blue. For examples of this, think about the logos of IBM (blue on a white background) or Twitter or Facebook.
Yellow indicates happiness, optimism, enlightenment, creativity and warmth. It is also the color of warning signs (“Wet Floor”) and yellow lights. For examples of yellow used in branding schemes, think of the logos of the social media company SnapChat, or Best Buy.
Orange is the color of vibrancy, vitality, cheer, excitement and adventure. It is the color of life rafts as well as the vests of construction workers. For examples of orange logos, think of the logo of the television network Nickelodeon or the publisher Penguin Books.
Red is the color of passion, danger, love, and anger. Red is the color with the most magical associations that come to us from fire and blood. Red is the color of stop signs and the logos of the Target Corporation and YouTube.
Green is the color that creates symbolism around ecology (most recently), and fertility. Green is the color of money (at least in the United States) and is associated with springtime. The color green appears in the logo for Starbucks, Android and even the Microsoft Xbox360.
With all of this, there are three things for the peace builder to consider when coloring her personal branding scheme:
• Hue, saturation and texture of colors matter—a light green creates a different set of psychological connotations in the viewer than a darker green. The tint (or hue) of the color matters. A “shiny” looking color creates a different set of meanings and associations in a client or customer than a dull or flat one.
• Combinations of colors matter—two complementary colors (for instance purple and green) used together in a logo may indicate royalty (for purple) and vitality (for green). Three colors used together create even more associations and meanings.
• Color is subjective—the reason why the psychology of color has been such an argumentative science since the days of Isaac Newton is that the color red may have negative connotations for one person, but may have positive connotations for another.
The solution is not to avoid using colors all together, but instead to blend the colors that are used together, in accordance with the content being created along with the other elements that go into developing a peace-building brand.
Questions or feedback about this?
Questions or feedback about this? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me via Twitter @Sorrells79 or check out my Facebook Business page and leave a comment there, or message me on LinkedIn.
By Jesan Sorrells