What’s the first thing people notice about an exhibit at a trade show?

Clever design? Company logo? No, the answer is colour.

People have an emotional and psychological response to colour that is rooted in the human psyche. Colour conveys meanings that are powerful, visceral and subtle.

That’s why marketers invest so much time and effort researching the right colours to represent their brands. They want to convey colours that connect with their intended audiences, but they also want to authentically represent the characteristics of their brand.

In a study called Impact of Colour in Marketing, researchers discovered that up to 90 per cent of initial judgement about products is based on colour. The study concluded that “prudent use of colours can contribute not only to differentiating products from competitors, but also to influencing moods and feelings – positively or negatively – and therefore, to attitude towards certain products.”

A great example of how colour can impact a business (or an entire industry) is Apple Computers. Up until the mid-1990s, personal computers were beige in colour, without any variation. In 1998, Apple introduced its iconic IMAC G3 PC in a stunning bouquet of colours, and a translucent body, which revolutionized the desktop computer industry.

Brands such as Coca-Cola, Caterpillar, The Home Depot and Starbucks are as recognizable in their choice of brand colours as they are in the design of their logos. Indeed, the right colours, paired with the right design, provides an eye-catching and emotional experience and differentiates your brand from the competition’s.

Even a neutral colour, such as white, can be used as a central element in design. The creative use of white space in custom exhibits, branded environments and point of purchase displays serves to focus attention on a targeted message (i.e., a strategically-placed company logo or a photograph).

Once a company has chosen a specific colour to connect with audiences and to represent its brand, it’s imperative that those colours are accurately displayed across multiple platforms in the physical world, and online.

A display and exhibit firm that understands the psychology of colour will work closely with a company (or its marketing arm) to ensure that its brand colours are utilized in the most effective manner. Inside an exhibit or presentation centre, colour often serves many purposes – as a non-verbal method of leading attendees through an exhibit and highlighting key areas of interest.

Whether it’s a trade show exhibit, a branded environment, a custom interior or a store design, colour selection should be given the same consideration as design.