Branding: Color + Image = Perception

In Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, Catherine O’Hara and Glen Shadix—as homeowner and interior designer, respectively—are touring her recently purchased Victorian three-story when O’Hara scribbles the word “mauve” across the faded wallpaper of an upstairs bedroom. Shadix, in a fabulous eighties-era designer’s drawl says, “You read my mind.”

Mauve. A hideous hue that is quite possibly paying a few decorators’ kids’ tuitions as we speak. It’s fine branding if you consider mauve to be one of the official colors of the interior design era that ran about concurrent with Cheers. On a more contemporary note, there’s the (roughly) PMS 4975 of a national package carrier, the bright 485 of an online DVD rental giant, or the slate grey of a popular consumer electronics designer—skilled pickpockets, all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tend to mute commercials as any self-respecting couch potato does, and I’ve noticed a trend involving altering the saturation of the images to indicate a positive or regrettable experience, with and/or without the product being pushed. Vignettes featuring an allergy sufferer, or a family enduring a sub-standard cable or internet connection are produced with a muted tonality. But the images of the antihistamine package and its user’s frisbee victory, or the happy family movie night are crisp and colorful. There’ll be no shortage of this treatment in advertising between now and November 6th, to be sure. The dull portrait of the opposing candidate usually includes a dark and dramatic score as well as boldly typeset accusations of corruption and nefariousness. Switch to the 30-second spot’s hero, and the music cheers right up, the colors brighten and the message becomes warm, fuzzy and instantly inspiring.

Skillful employment of color, along with deliberate delivery of the personalities contained in images (or graphics) are powerful selling tools. How successful was that purple dinosaur, after all?

Whimsical Artwork for a Costume Designer's Collateral

Whimsical Artwork for a Costume Designer’s Collateral

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