If you asked them, most people would tell you that marketers use color in their advertisements to make it more interesting. Perhaps they might say that colors make it easier to “grab” someone’s attention, or as a way to represent your brand. Or, to really simplify things, you could just say that colors are expected. We live in a visual world, so why wouldn’t we use color?

These things are all true. But they aren’t the most important reasons to use color.

Successful advertisements use strategically selected colors to trigger an emotional response.

This is an important distinction to consider. In marketing design, it’s not really about whether something is red or yellow or pink or purple, it’s about the emotions those colors can elicit in the viewer.

In the same way that some paintings barely catch your eye and others take your breath away, the manner in which colors are used matters, but there’s little doubt that colors can influence our feelings—and our desire to buy.

Color Increases Purchases: Your Brain Says So

Some decades ago, during the transition from primarily black and white media (such as newspapers) to colored media (magazines and so on), a great deal of interest was applied within the advertising world as to which type performed better: color or black and white. It didn’t take long before a clear winner was established.

Since those days, color has continued to outperform black and white, with studies citing substantial advantages, such as improved ad recall—whether or not the viewer even remembers your advertisement—and improved sales, sometimes in the order of nearly twice as much. One study from the University of Winnipeg even claims that fast decisions made by consumers rely on color alone 90% of the time.

It makes sense that colors would have this kind of impact on us. We see in color, and at one point in our history as a species, it even helped us survive. We needed to be capable of gazing out across the savannah and saying, “Grass… rock… lion coming to eat me… tree… wait a second, that was a lion.

Studies and data about color are often hotly contested, because sometimes the results vary wildly. This is because of factors like culture, context, upbringing, and simple personal preference can have an effect on our perceptions.

However, the key takeaway from these studies is that they do all have one thing in common: for the purposes of being noticed (i.e., advertising), colors do better. End of story.

How to Corner 60% of the Ketchup Market

In the year 2000, Heinz released a new line of “EZ Squirt” ketchups, marketed toward kids. The first was a green ketchup called “Blastin’ Green” that tied in with the release of the original Shrek film. It was an immediate marketing success, attracting not only kids, but curious adults. Heinz sold nearly as much as they expected to in a year in just the first three months of the product being on the market.

Subsequently, Heinz released other novelty colors like blue, pink, orange, and so on. 25 million units were sold before the fad died out and Heinz discontinued the line in 2006. That was, however, six years of strong sales and enough to corner 60% of the ketchup market.

Consider for a moment that there was nothing different about this ketchup other than color. The taste, texture, smell, etc. was exactly the same. It was essentially ketchup with food coloring.

This is an amusing story in marketing history, but it’s the perfect example to showcase the power of color. While you might not be printing with ketchup anytime soon, it’s obvious that color does indeed convert.

Enjoy the Benefits of Using Color in Your Print Media

Color printing used to be a messy, expensive ordeal. Thanks to advances in printing technology, color media isn’t just significantly better than it was even a decade ago—it’s far more affordable.

You’ve worked hard to establish your brand. Your website, logo, and other marketing materials gain power from their colors. To learn more about how Professional Document Solutions can help you protect and strengthen your brand with color, browse our printers here or start a conversation with us here.