Color your business beautiful and inspire customers
Q: We're moving to a new office and our space is pretty much a blank slate. Many of my 12 employees want to paint the walls—and I don't mean Navajo White. I think I'm game, but I'm worried about the effect of color in the workplace.
A:Some of you are wondering about the best colors to us for your logo or on your Web site. Others are asking what colors are hot now and in the future.
You are right to be concerned about color. The hues that surround you and your business can carry a message all their own. Colors can actually affect the moods of customers and employees and choosing the right ones can help you grow your business.
In fact, color experts say that color is the first thing people notice when entering a store, seeing a Web page, even opening a bill. If you pick the wrong color, you'll have to work harder to get them to do what you want them to do—whether it's to buy, eat, get excited, or stay calm.
I asked to a graphic designer friend of mine to explain the basic elements of color. There are three main components of color: hue, which is the color itself; saturation, which establishes the strength of the color (the higher the saturation, the more pure the color; and value, which determines how bright a color is.
Your employees' desire to be surrounded by color instead of off-white is completely understandable. The first thing we did when we moved into our space was to paint our offices different shades of blue. When designing an office, it's important to understand the actual effects color has on people. Reds and oranges are strong, stimulating, eye-catching, warm colors. Red also increases the appetite—fast-food restaurants use it in their logos and decor.
Blues and greens are cool colors which can have a calming effect. Pink also is calming. Daycare-center operators might consider using these colors. Blue is also an appetite deterrent, so if you own a restaurant, try to avoid blue walls.
Many consider yellow a "happy" color. Browns and grays can appear serious and somber, but they also "say" stability. White connotes clean and pure; green can mean fresh or symbolize money. If you're designing a Web page, most experts advise you to start with a white background. On screen, white is easy on the eyes—and it looks professional. Of course, too much white can be boring and dull. Try experimenting with color on your site and see if certain ones increase clicks or sales.
We all have our personal color preferences. (America's favorite shade is blue.) But if you're trying to say something with color, you may have to bypass your favorite for a better choice. Here's a quick rundown of the attributes of some colors:
. Black: authority, power, style
. White: innocence
. Red: love, energy
. Blue: productivity, calm
. Green: natural, organic, relaxation
. Yellow: cheerful (and while watching HGTV I learned that yellow is the hardest color for the eye to handle, while gray is the easiest).
. Purple: luxury, royalty, wealth
. Brown: reliable, genuine
In the fashion world hot colors come and go. It can be hard to keep up and new fashion entrepreneurs never get to set the pace (though entrepreneurs aren't supposed to be followers anyway).
But if you want to know what the hot colors are, check out some of the color forecasters. The most well known: Pantone. Go to Pantone. For fashion trends, try Fashion Trendsetter.