Color is a channel for non-verbal communication. It
communicates to us at a cellular level.
Zara Stender, chair holder with the Color Marketing Group (CMG) professes the
power in color to influence moods, emotions, hunger, aggression—and buying
decisions. “Color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent, and it can be
up to 85 percent of the reason people decide to buy,” as Stender mentioned in
the Global Shop Conference 2012.
Trade show exhibitors and designers use color to create a visually pleasing
environment in their trade show displays, and color used purposefully
communicates with customers and prospects. To build a welcoming trade show
exhibit, Stender recommended avoiding high-contrast colors—such as yellow and
black, which she calls “danger colors.” Complementary colors, help to balance
the eye. However if you want to convey a message of subliminal concentrated
focus use high contrast colors. Also important is to anchor the space in true
neutral; which can be created by mixing the designs’ entire palette and adding
white. “Color is not only useful in designing a space, but also in knowing your
customer,” Stender said.
Interestingly, as Stender explains, color is correlated with socio-economic
status, with more complex colors associated with higher economic status. For
example, an orange sports car will be referred as “bronze” or “copper.”
Alternatively, primary colors are often associated with affordability. (Think
the subliminal message that IKEA portrays)
Of course, colors across cultures carry different meaning. For example the color
purple signifies royalty and spirituality in the Greco-Roman culture of the
West. However, purple is the color of mourning for widows in Thailand and in
some parts of India.
On an individual level, Stender explained that introverts tend to gravitate
toward soft, muted palettes, while extroverts are happier in vibrant
environments. Using color strategically, designers can create a balance that
plays into both of these personalities in any environment. “The earmark of an
extrovert is that they can’t focus,” Stender said. “When dealing with them on a
sales floor, blues can help them to focus.” An introvert, on the other hand,
might be inspired by just the right proportion of color richness.
Some color associations, according to Stender:
Red: Lust (has the power to alter time)
Purple: Spirituality (inspires loss of impulse control)
Brown: Dependability (especially in business)
Blue and green: Focus and concentration
Burgundy and dark green: Tradition and authority
Red and purple: The “I’ll buy anything” color combination, according to
Stender. “Red being lust—‘I wanna spend’—and purple being associated with loss
Ultimately, a buyer can be influenced by a number of things on the trade show
floor. Put more control of how you are perceived in your own hands. When
planning the design of your next trade show display, remember the powerful
affect color can have on the mind of a buyer.
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