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‘Color’ them to action with your direct mail design!

Commercial printing ‘Color’ them to action with your direct mail design!


by Dimitri Van Gaever

With color of course! Which, by the way, does more than just catch the recipient’s eye. A dazzling direct mail design that has all the right colors also makes it easier for marketers to bring their key messages across and, hence, persuade consumers to take action. So what exactly are the right colors for my direct mail, you ask? That depends. This short introduction to color psychology explains all about it.

Color psychology 101

There’s something about color that makes consumers, and people in general, subconsciously feel a certain way. Color psychology studies how different colors evoke different emotions, which naturally comes in handy for brand owners and marketers when deciding on a color palette for their direct mail design.

Selecting a meaningful color palette

Carefully selected colors help brands to connect with the consumer on a deeper level and build meaningful relationships with them. Some rules of thumb:

  • Red evokes a sense of urgency – clearance sale, anyone? –, passion and excitement. It’s the most popular attention-grabbing hue of the lot.

  • Also sure to receive its fair share of attention is yellow, a particularly warm and cheerful color. Yellow can be tiresome for the eyes, though.

  • Often used to draw attention as well, orange is an energetic color that exudes enthusiasm, creativity and warmth.

  • When in doubt, use blue for your direct mail. It’s a soothing, peaceful color that conveys trust, security and reliability.

  • Associated with nature, wealth and stability, green has a relaxing effect on direct mail readers.

  • Brown is a strong, warm color that can come across both sober and sophisticated, and is associated with nature as well. Easy on the brown though, as too much of it can make your direct mail appear boring.

  • The feminine color par excellence, pink, has a calming effect and conveys love and romance.

  • Purple has been associated with royalty, and hence respect and intelligence, for thousands of years now. It is a color is known to stimulate creativity and carries an exotic vibe.

  • Black has a dual meaning. A sophisticated color that exudes power and a sense of luxury, it also signifies death and maleficence.

  • Similar to black, white is associated with luxury but can also come across as cold and sterile.

Be loyal to brand colors

Next to conveying certain emotions, carefully chosen colors that are consistently used within a brand’s marketing efforts (including direct mail) create a sense of unity. By choosing brand colors as your direct mail’s most prominent colors, consumers will not only remember the mail better but also associate the company that sent it with stability and reliability.

Mind the demographics

Color psychology is not a universal truth. While it is true that people respond to color, color associations vary across different cultures, genders and even ages. White for instance, is associated with purity in the West, while in other cultures it is commonly associated with death. In other words, do your homework before sending your direct mail to your print vendor.

Keep your direct mail easy on the eye

However powerful the effect of color may be, your direct mail should still revolve around content and only use color to highlight important messages. Avoid picking colors that clash, and make sure they don’t overpower the content or make the text illegible.

Color your direct mail design the Xeikon way

Want to make sure your direct mail’s colors are spot on? Xeikon’s in-house toner facility creates both standard and custom spot colors (no pun intended) with a low minimum order quantity. Don’t hesitate to contact us!