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The Psychology Behind Color and Printing

You likely already know the power of branding and design when it comes to print marketing. However, there’s one thing that stands out above the rest: color.

While choosing the best font and knowing the type of print materials you need is very important, few things shine as brightly as color. Color helps really tell your brand’s story, and it’s one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.

When you’re mailing or handing out print materials, you only have a few seconds (or less) to make an impact. A reported 85% of consumers name color as one of the primary reasons they make a specific purchase, so it’s hard to overestimate the role this plays.

If you’re looking to boost your branding when it comes to print marketing, you need to optimize your color strategy. In this guide, we’ll break down the psychology behind color and printing.

How Does Color Relate to Marketing?

The psychology behind color has a lot to do with marketing. When you understand what role color plays, you can use this knowledge to your advantage.

According to Forbes, color improves your brand recognition by up to 80%. When you’re consistent with the colors you use, it’s easier for your users and clients to pick your specific brand out of many. If you’re preparing for a trade show, for example, having consistent branding will make it easier for your target audience to find you.

Color also has to do with how we feel. Think about how you respond to white vs. how you respond to red. White likely leaves you feeling calm and intrigued, while red gets you more excited. This is the basic psychology behind color in print marketing.

What Do Different Colors Mean?

Now let’s answer the big question. What do different colors mean to us? While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to the psychology behind color, we can still understand the ways different shades make us feel in general by using what we know about colors.

Here’s a basic breakdown of the psychology behind different colors:

  1. Black: Authority, drama, classic, formal

  2. White: Traditional, clean, purity, fresh

  3. Brown: Earth, dependable, calmness, nature, strong

  4. Red: Strength, excitement, power, romance, passion

  5. Pink: Feminine, gentle, romantic, caring, calm

  6. Orange: Warm, appetite, confidence, creative

  7. Yellow: Warm, friendly, cheerfulness, youth

  8. Green: Relaxing, nature, health, wealth, fertility

  9. Blue: Calm, intelligent, trust, financial security

  10. Purple: Magic, royal, wealthy, power

You’ve likely noticed some of these colors at play in marketing you’ve encountered. Though the effect is subtle, it’s real, and it impacts the way we interact with brands.

How to Use Colors in Your Print Materials

Now that you know more about the psychology behind colors, how do you use these colors effectively in your own print materials? Color can be intimidating, especially if you don’t have a background in design and marketing. Working with a professional printer is a great first step, but you can also do much of this yourself.

When choosing colors, don’t go overboard. Less really is more. Stick to 1-3 colors, and be consistent with all of your branding. The more consistent you are, the easier it is for your clients and customers to recognize you.

When choosing your colors, pay close attention to different shades. This can also affect the way your colors feel to your users. Darker shades are more dramatic, which might be what you’re going for. On the other hand, neutral and light colors create more balance and calm. It’s always important to think of your message when creating a print marketing strategy.

Use Color to Strengthen Your Marketing

If you’re creating a new print marketing design, pay close attention to your colors. There is rich psychology behind color that you can easily use to your advantage with a bit of know-how.

The more you focus on color, the easier it is to speak clearly to your ideal audience. While it’s important to choose a design that looks good to you, it’s also essential that you consider the meaning behind these color choices.

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