Modern Marketing Agency

The impact of color is more than just black and white: four neurocreativity essentials

By Callum Gould |

Saddington Baynes


The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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April 22, 2022 | 5 min read

Every element of a visual asset influences the emotional response it will create in the people who see it. Color is no different. Callum Gould, head of insights at production studio Saddington Baynes, shares with us four guiding principles for better understanding your use of color and its impact on audiences.

What if you could create campaigns around your consumer’s implicit desires? What if you could measure campaign success on something other than social media engagement and online analytics? What if you were able to understand how a slight variation in your image can impact consumer engagement, brand trust and campaign value?

Saddington Baynes on the benefits of investing in understanding neurocreativity.

Saddington Baynes on the benefits of investing in understanding neurocreativity

Well, today you can.

Working with the world’s leading neuroscience specialists and global brands, Saddington Baynes pioneered neurocreativity to optimize creative ideas using consumers’ true feelings. We’ve conducted studies using trusted insights to learn and share with our community. Why? Because we love creativity and we love people – marry that with scientific innovation and we get a purer understanding of the emotional impact of our trade.

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But you know what we love about all else? Color.

Our latest white paper focuses on the true impact color and tone have on our emotions. From it, here are four top tips for crafting more memorable, trusted and consumer-centric images.

1. The lighter the tone, the lighter the heart

While dark and sultry imagery can promote a sense of premium quality, glamour and moodiness, these atmospheric effects negatively impact our emotional response. Lighter tones significantly improve our perception of trust, desire and familiarity – meaning brands can trigger positive feelings and associations with their consumers.

2. One size doesn’t fit all; context is key

With anything in life, we can’t have it all. Lighter tones may denote a stronger positive association with the brand. However, they may lower the perception of premium quality. Perceptions also vary depending on sector. It’s important to review the purpose of your brand and campaign to ensure you stir up the perfect recipe of trust, engagement and visual components.

3. Targeting your market – spot the difference

Just like celebrity endorsement aims to promote a significant lifestyle, color too is used to target specific audiences. However, it’s more complex than simply using a certain shade for each demographic.

Lighter colors are associated with femininity over masculinity, but interestingly the difference in perception between masculine and feminine is much more prominent among male consumers. Brands can use implicit response testing within even more selective groups to determine what colors and tones their target audience most strongly associates with.

4. High contrast, high engagement

Positive emotional engagement has the power to increase consumer desire and change purchase behaviors, so understanding how color can impact your product value across all visual assets is incredibly important. One way to increase positive emotional response is to have a high contrast between the product and the background of an image. Although lighter imagery has a stronger emotional pull, images that used light colors for both product and background in the automotive sector, for example, saw a weaker attraction than those where the product stood out more against the background.

The importance of color theory is no secret, with various hues and tones carefully curated to create a visual impact and trigger emotions. However, our findings uncover what really makes us tick – using data-driven insights to overrule common assumptions and misconceptions around which colors evoke specific emotions.

A scientific way to understand imagery and the emotional responses in relation to it is the dream, not only from a researcher’s perspective but also for a creative. Understanding the impact tonality has and effectively relating colors to specific emotions gives our creative teams a massive advantage. It means they can have greater confidence in the decisions they make. This white paper offers some amazing insights in an area that is not well understood, and we are thrilled to be sharing it with the world.

Given what we know now, brands that cultivate these insights into their creative process will find a new visual identity that speaks to their consumer’s honest desires. You are one click away from building more trust, brand value and consumer-centric campaigns.

Neurocreativity gives you that power.

Modern Marketing Agency

Content by The Drum Network member:

Saddington Baynes is a leading creative production agency that has produced premium imagery for advertising agencies and brand clients for 25 years. The original pioneers of digital retouching in 1991 – and one of the first post production studios to harness the potential of CGI in-house – Saddington Baynes today creates award-winning visual content for the advertising industry in the UK, USA and Europe. Saddington Baynes works with some of the biggest and best brands across automotive, beauty, pharmaceuticals and more.

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