Many factors contribute to the return on a direct mail campaign. Mailing lists must be fine-tuned to reach the right audience, of course, but then there is the matter of design. The direct mail postcard needs to convey through its design an understanding of the audience. It also needs to be unique enough to leave an impression on the viewers. In addition to graphics, font, and copy, a postcard’s color scheme can play a crucial role in setting the tone of your message.
Colors and Feelings
Direct mail has advantages over other advertising media in that its physicality provides consumers a break from the high volume of digital noise they are exposed to every day. You could think of the direct mail postcard as a blank canvas for a painting that will eventually be viewed (and held) by the consumer. Will it leave a lasting impression? A postcard’s designer has many elements they must manage to ensure that it will – color scheme being among them. It is up to the designer to select a color scheme that works in cohesion with the brand, the message, and the psychology of the consumer.
People subconsciously attribute emotions, culture and memories with colors. The age-old “smiley face” is most commonly yellow due to the positive emotions elicited by that color. There can be some variance in the kinds of feelings brought about by a color (especially among individual experiences) but here are what the colors of the rainbow are said to convey universally:
- Red – Excitement, Energy or Urgency
- Orange – Fun & Creativity
- Yellow – Happiness, Positivity & Spontaneity
- Green – Safety, Harmony & Balance
- Blue – Trust, Honesty & Loyalty
- Purple – Regality, Imagination or Spirituality
To reiterate, there is variance in color psychology and not every person may feel the same way about a particular color. This is all the more reason that a designer must back up their chosen color scheme with graphic and typography selections that will further enforce the emotions they are trying to convey.
Your Brand’s True Colors
Companies commonly consider color when designing their logos and other marketing elements. You may notice many well-known fast food and quick-service restaurants incorporate the color red into their logos because it is said to have the psychological effect of stimulating hunger. Before starting the design process of your next mailing campaign, it would be worthwhile to examine your brand, its existing elements, and what they represent. Doing so will make it easier to translate those elements into a visually cohesive postcard where the color scheme and graphics support the tone of the message.
As with the restaurant example, brands tend to favor certain colors for their marketing depending on their industry. When selecting a color scheme for your own brand, you should research and consider the associations your colors have with culture as much so as human psychology. This still comes with the territory of understanding your target market and what will best convince them to take the actions you want. So where the color red stimulates hunger, it urges the consumer to consider purchasing something to eat and so on.
Here are the colors of the rainbow once more, and what industries commonly use them in their branding:
- Red – Entertainment, Food & Sports
- Orange – Art, Entertainment & Sports
- Yellow – Food, Travel & Leisure
- Green – Environmental, Banking & Non-Profit
- Blue – Security, Finance & Technology
- Purple – Humanitarian & Religion
Again, what is recalled by consumers upon color perception varies greatly from person to person, so an advertiser must use the color scheme in tandem with other visual elements to ensure the message comes across in the desired fashion. Doing so requires an in-depth understanding of design concepts and design software expertise.
Designing the perfect mail piece can be a challenge, with several moving parts to manage and lots of technical considerations. Fortunately, Cactus Mailing is well-versed in creating successful direct mail campaigns. Our in-house design experts have worked on thousands of postcards and can work with you directly to ensure your message hits your audience in a way that inspires action.
Fill out the form below to speak with one of our direct mail experts, or give us a call to get started – your canvas awaits!