How Consumers Perceive Color - The Color Psychology of Black

Published: 30-Aug-2021
Last Updated: 26-Aug-2021
How Consumers Perceive Color - The Color Psychology of Black

Understanding the initial reactions and lasting feelings a color can evoke is important to designing your branding. This is true of all colors, but perhaps especially so for the enigmatic and bold black

Color is typically the first thing a person will notice about a design. Immediately, a person will feel the emotions that the color evokes, alongside the design language, style, and collective message it sends, which will set the stage for how they view your organization. 

As a marketer or business owner, it is crucial to understand these concepts before diving into designing a logo, whether in house, or with a creative design partner. Today, we will discuss the psychology of the color black and break down how consumers perceive the color, as well as how and when you should use it to your advantage.

Is Black Even a Color?

If you’ve ever taken a look at a color wheel, you may have noticed that black isn’t on it.  That’s because—technically—black isn’t a color. Black absorbs all light on the color spectrum, making it not a single color but, effectively, all colors. And while that makes black a neutral color, it still has a far-from-neutral psychological effect on people.

Using Black in Marketing and Branding

When you create a brand for your organization, you are conveying what your company represents with all of its visual elements. When using black in your marketing and branding, you have to ensure that your company’s personality stands up to the traits you want to convey, and that your visual language matches that ethos.  

If you want to portray your company as elegant and sophisticated, but your company’s actions don’t reflect those traits, people will likely sense that disconnect and potentially view your company negatively. 

Here are some of the traits that people think of when they see the color black.

Positive Perceived Traits of The Color Black

  • Elegance & Sophistication
  • Power & Strength
  • Intelligence  
  • Mystery 

Negative Perceived Traits of The Color Black

  • Evil 
  • Grief or Mourning
  • Depressing
  • Pessimistic

How Companies Use Black Successfully in Their Branding & Marketing

Many companies have successfully used black to convey a positive brand image. Here are just a few examples.

#1. Tiffany & Co.

While Tiffany & Co. is better-known for its “Tiffany Blue,” its logo is black, subtle, and fades into the background when paired with their beautiful jewelry. This use of black conveys elegance and sophistication, minimalism and glamor.

#2. Apple

The solid black Apple icon suggests innovation and bold thinking. These are traits that today’s consumers are looking for and trust, especially in the ever-merging world of technology and fashion.

#3. Gillette

Paired with its bold typeface, Gillette’s logo appears very masculine. The black color conveys strength, ruggedness, hard work, and indestructibility.

#4. Chanel

Along the same lines as Tiffany’s logo, Chanel’s solid black enhances the glamorous perception of its products. Looking at the Chanel logo, you see simply-defined luxury, legacy, and quality.

When Should You Avoid Black in Marketing and Branding?

We’ve talked about companies that have used black successfully in their marketing, now let’s talk about some situations in which you may want to avoid using black.

  • Your background is already dark. Using black on an already dark background can strain your user’s eyes and make the page hard to read, especially if you are using a small font. You also have to remember that you want to use black to bring attention to something, so if you overuse it, you are likely defeating the purpose.
  • Black would not be perceived in a positive light in your industry. For example, you wouldn’t want to have a wedding dress shop and use black in your marketing. That would immediately distract from your brand and fly in the face of the color language of the industry.
  • You have not considered your target market.  For example, in some cultures, black is the color of mourning. If your target market holds a negative connotation of the color, your audience will see your company in a negative light.

How the Color Black Affects Conversion Rates with Consumers

One of the most essential elements when creating your call-to-action (CTA) is color.

You need a color that will draw the attention of your consumers to your CTA and make them want to perform that action.

Black is a great way to accomplish this, because it contrasts so well with so many different colors. While you need to consider the rest of the elements on the page and your branding, black is a quick way to draw the user to click on the CTA on the page (as long as it stands out from the rest of the page and draws the eye).

Let the Experts Help With Your Branding and Design Needs!

People’s color preferences are based on many different factors, including their personality, experiences, environment, and upbringing.  Thinking of how the color black makes you feel when you use it or see it can help you decide whether or not to use it in your marketing.

While it may seem like a lot to process, especially when incorporating several colors into your brand, there is no need to stress or worry about doing it yourself. We can help!

The experts at Carbon Digital know how important it is to incorporate the psychology of color into your brand and your website design. So we’re happy to help you identify the colors that will make your marketing most effective.    

Are you ready to get started? Book a call today, and let’s get our journey started! 

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