Research shows that people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on color alone.*
With so much influence at stake and complexity (brand color palettes should have 10 colors), consulting a design agency or professional to set or change a brand’s color palette is essential. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need a basic understand of the impact and importance of color.
We caught up with two of our senior design experts to chat about the importance of color in hedge fund materials, some popular misconceptions and current trends.
Q. There’s a common belief that red should be avoided at all costs in designs for anyone in finance. Is that true?
A. In finance, there’s a widespread perception that reds symbolize loss and should be avoided. That said, many successful financial firms like UBS and HSBC effectively use red in their branding. In general, red attracts the most attention and signifies power, strength, passion, and energy so it should not be overlooked.
Q. Are there any color considerations that financial services firms need to take into account more than other industries?
A. Yes – contrast. Given the high number of graphs and charts used in hedge fund or asset management communications, ensuring your color palette has enough contrast between colors is key. You don’t want a pie chart with 8 sectors all in subtle shades of grey, making it impossible to see where one ends and the other begins. Contrast also helps readers who are colorblind navigate materials.
Q. You mentioned colorblindness, is that something firms should take into consideration when creating marketing materials?
A. Yes! You can help readers who are colorblind navigate your materials by ensuring proper color contrast. There are plenty of free tools that can check contrast for you.
Q. What’s the most popular color trend you are seeing right now?
A. With the importance of ESG in the asset management we are seeing firms staring to use green as one of their primary colors a lot more than even just two years ago. Given how connected green is to money and nature in color psychology this isn’t surprising.
Q. What color do you wish firms would use more often?
A. Purple and yellow — but not together! Purple is very versatile and works well with many secondary colors. Yellow is also a great accent color. It is “safer” than orange and works well with dark backgrounds.
Q. What colors are popular right now?
A. Orange is becoming very popular now, especially as a secondary color. From a psychology perspective it combines the energy of red with the happiness of yellow. It is great at grabbing attention making it ideal for call-to-action activities in marketing.
Q. Is grey overused?
A. Not as a supporting/secondary color! Grey is very versatile and can be very useful to help your main brand colors stand out. From a color psychology perspective is connotates balance and neutrality, which for a hedge fund is a powerful message to convey.
Q. What’s the most common mistake you see firms make with color?
A. Too many colors in one place all competing for attention. While every good color palette should have multiple colors (typically 2-3 primary colors and the rest secondary), that doesn’t mean you should use them all at the same time in the same place. Rarer, but just as bad in our opinion is not enough color being used. In the end, its best to follow the color hierarchy your design team set up for your brand.
Q. What color advice would you give for a firm looking to stand out from the crowd but nervous about being too bold?
A. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the more traditional blues and green that are common in our industry (blue is the top color choice in the US at 35%, green comes in second at 16%)**.If you want to include something unexpected or more attention grabbing, go for a complimentary color to accent it. Bold complimentary color choices can change the tone of a design and help you stand out.
Q. For firms that are printing materials to send out to clients, are there any special considerations when it comes to color?
A. Yes, some colors such as neon shades or very bright saturated shades require high quality printing to translate properly to paper.