Before you begin designing direct mail, custom signs, posters and more with our online printing services, get more pointers from Andahazy on color and all its chromatic complexity.
In what ways can color impact the success of print marketing and branding?
Ferenc Andahazy: “We fancy ourselves rational beings but people are actually emotional creatures. And in reality, our feelings heavily influence our decision-making. Colors can have huge emotional connotations, and therefore can directly impact our decisions.
“Since colors are naturally-occurring and ever-present, everybody already has a personal relationship with color that starts the moment we’re born. This relationship continues to evolve throughout our lives, as we constantly associate meaning with colors based on our environment, culture, what we eat, the products we use and so on.
“As designers, brands and marketers, being mindful of how our color choices might be widely perceived by our customers will help us infuse our brands with our desired intent and ultimately produce more successful campaigns.
“We can lean into strong color associations to use them to our advantage when appropriate and we can avoid them when they could risk convoluting our design intent, like a summer swimwear catalog decked out in red and green.”
When designing specific projects, how do you decide which colors to use?
Ferenc Andahazy: “For me, brand and subject matter are the two most important factors to consider when selecting colors.
“If I’m working on a branding project, I’ll research common color themes within the brand’s industry. I’ll also look for color cues in the brand’s products and the unique traits they need to express. Maybe the product has an inherent color or the brand wants to be viewed as energetic. All of this information helps hone in on a good color direction. When the brand guidelines are defined, every new color I choose needs to not conflict with the primary colorways.
“Next, I’ll consider the subject matter. Maybe I’m designing a mailer for a specific product campaign or seasonal promotion, or a booklet about a brand’s sustainability practices. Each type of content might have implied color associations I should consider or leverage.
“When I know exactly what I’m designing and how I want it to be perceived, I’ll start looking for inspiration. I’m a Pinterest-er, so I create new inspiration boards for each of my projects and share those with the rest of my team. We’ll look for photos, patterns and other design work that evokes the feelings we want to convey. Once we have a full board, it’s usually easy to spot color themes that are repeated across our collection.”