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Suggestive Color in Display Advertising: 5 Do's and Don'ts

Posted by Jennifer Dragon on November 10, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Color in Display AdvertisingWhen designing graphics for your display advertising campaign, you'll consider several things. Is your ad copy effective? Your call-to-action prominently featured? However, there is one thing that you may not be thinking of that could potentially boost — or sabotage — an otherwise effective campaign: color.

It's been reported that color can influence people's moods, and even their perceptions of things like physical space and temperature. But did you know that color can also affect consumers' brand perceptions? Here are five do's and don'ts for using color in your display advertising campaign.

DO: Use Orange to Convey Value

Environmental psychologist Sally Augustin, PhD, said in a recent interview with Forbes that orange is a color that many people associate with a good value. Augustin says that orange "helps customers view [retailers] as a low-cost provider of valuable goods." However, this can be a bit of a double-edged sword, as it can make high-end products seem cheap. If you are trying to use your display advertising to emphasize a good price and value, orange is a great choice. However, if you are advertising luxury items, you may want to pick something else.

DON'T: Emphasize Negative Space With White

Though you may want to draw attention to a central part of your display advertising graphic by featuring a lot of white negative space, you should steer clear of this tactic — white often bores consumers, which can lead their minds to wander. The goal of a successful display ad is to grab the consumers' attention and keep it on your product or service. Though there are some notable exceptions to this rule (Apple, for instance), if you look at your ad and see too much white, you may want to rethink your design choices.

DO: Use Blue to Create Feelings of Acceptance

There's a reason why the most popular social networks in the U.S. both have blue logos. The color blue is said to create feelings of belonging and acceptance. If you are trying to appeal to a consumer's sense of community, blue is definitely a good color to use to encourage these positive associations.

DON'T: Polarize Consumers With Yellow

Yellow is one of those love-it-or-hate-it colors. Consumers who like it will typically respond positively to an ad that uses yellow as a predominant color. Conversely, those who dislike yellow will respond negatively to ads that feature a lot of yellow. Because this is such a polarizing color, marketers are best served leaving it out altogether.

DO: Use Colors That Make Sense in Context

Though there are plenty of ways to use colors to create specific moods and feelings, it's important not to go overboard with this idea. For instance, even though orange is a color that emphasizes low prices and value, if you are crafting a Halloween ad, don't be afraid to use an image of an orange jack-o'-lantern — even if you are advertising a luxury item.

Using certain colors to your advantage is a great tool for marketers, but it isn't a hard-and-fast rule. Let context guide your display advertising graphics first, and then, if you see an opening to use one, you can employ the power of suggestive colors.

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