Creatives love color. We hate to admit that sometimes a simple black and white envelope beats a stunning four-color photo in the mail. That’s because we know that color can be a powerful marketing tool.
Colors evoke emotion, create associations and even prompt action. Pink, once a symbol of femininity, is now the official color of breast cancer. There’s not a person in America who doesn’t know exactly what it means when they see a pink ribbon pinned on a shirt. Splash red and green on something and it’s suddenly Christmas.
Even colors that don’t have strong symbolic ties like breast cancer or Christmas have powerful emotional associations. Here’s a quick recap of a little Color Psychology for you:
Black – Authority and power
White – Innocence, purity and in some cases cleanliness and sterility
Red – Intensity and love
Blue – Peace and tranquility and in some cases loneliness, cold and depression
Green – Nature and wealth
Yellow – Happiness
So what does all this mean for your fundraising campaigns? Here are a few quick ways to apply some color psychology to your work:
1) Black envelopes create intrigue. When used appropriately, they can be very effective.
2) Red commands attention! Put a bunch of colors on a page and your eye goes to red first. It’s a bold color that cannot be ignored. That’s why they make stop signs red. Red is so effective it has been proven to stimulate faster heart rates and breathing – and it inspires people to take action. Use it for urgent callouts.
3) Yellow may be fun and happy, but yellow text is incredibly hard to read. Plus neither fun nor happy is exactly an emotional driver for donating. But that’s a topic for another blog post to come later.
Remember, much to your creatives’ dismay, sometimes a plain white envelope beats anything else. So test, test, test. And still try to splash in a little red for good measure.
Angie is the Associate Creative Director in Merkle's nonprofit vertical. She chooses to Do What Matters because "when I leave my son and go to work everyday, I want to know it's because I'm helping to make the world a better place for him. The amazing clients we work with allow me to do just that".