When you hand out a piece of marketing collateral or send a direct mail piece, the first thing recipients notice is the color. In an instant, color does a lot of things, including:
Highlighting areas of importance.
(When particularly high quality) distinguishing you from the competition.
Used right, color is also a powerful way to elicit emotion. People tend to associate red with excitement and passion, for example. Yellow is happy, but also cautionary. Blue is cool and authoritative, as well as peaceful. Green is relaxing and symbolizes nature. Make sure your color palette is consistent with the message you wish to convey.
Specific color combinations convey meaning, as well. Consider these powerful examples:
Orange/blue. This combination is a great attention-grabber. Think about the packaging you see in the cleaning aisle at the grocery store.
Green/red. This does not have the same contrast as orange/blue, but it still gets attention. This combination is often used by restaurants because it stimulates the appetite.
Orange/yellow/black. This combination shouts, “LOOK HERE!” Go for maximum effect by placing black type against an orange or yellow background.
Purple/yellow. These complementary colors create a sense of elegance and importance that are often associated with royalty.
When assigning colors to your printed pieces, remember that the color you see on your computer may not appear identical on the final printed piece. Images on your monitor are displayed using RGB colors, or those produced by combining red, green, and blue. Offset and digital presses produce color by blending cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK), so unless you have a color management system, the color you see on your monitor may not match exactly what you see in print. If color is critical, make sure to request a hard copy press proof before you approve the job.