Basic Color Psychology for Authors
Authors often lack knowledge in the area of color psychology. Not only do they fail to employ the benefits it can provide in their cover design and marketing materials, but they often don’t even realize that color affects their audience. So, to bring you up to speed on this important aspect of design for your book covers and marketing pieces, I will share some of the secrets of color and how you can benefit from implementing color psychology in your marketing materials.
The first mistake most authors make is designing their own marketing pieces. Their websites, logos, ads and stationary all reflect their color preferences with no regard to their reader’s perceived preference or cultural background. While you may have a penchant for one color, your target audience may be repelled by it. Yes, colors have characteristics that when used properly will enhance your message and even help express it in a subtle but very real and effective manner.
When you hire a professional, you are hiring someone who has had the proper training in this area. They know how to employ color to attract your audience and convey the message you intend. Without this knowledge, you can do more damage than good. So, what are some of the basic colors, and when and how should they be used? Let’s look at just a few.
Black is a color that expresses power, sophistication, prestige, security, and emotion. It is often used by attorneys and other professionals for this very reason. However, overuse of black can be a problem for your reader. While black text on white is easy on the eye, the reverse is not so. It is also seen as a mournful color, often taking the forefront in funerals. Keep this in mind when you chose to focus on this color.
This color denotes purity, innocence, cleanliness, and efficiency. Use this color as a design element by incorporating planned white space into your design. This depicts openness and allows the reader to easily understand the relationships or lack of relationships between your design elements.
Traditionally, purple has been and is a color that depicts royalty, wisdom, dignity, status, creativity, luxury, and mystery. As far back as biblical times, purple has been thought of as a color of wealth. Just a small amount of purple can go a long way in expressing this hidden message.
Not surprisingly, green is characterized as the color that most adeptly conveys nature, natural energy, life, growth, environment, fertility, wealth, and, of course, “go”. Authors who should use green in their book cover design, marketing, and branding (yes, authors need a brand identity, too) include books on environmental and financial issues.
Yellow is the color of hope, life, optimism, cheerfulness, energy, happiness, caution, and cowardice. The subtle hues and tones of yellow can mean different things to different peoples and cultures. While a bright yellow may be perfect for an uplifting feeling, it should never be used as a textual element. Yellow is just too hard on the eye, so use it sparingly. A more golden yellow will indicate wealth and so is often used in relation to books on money.
Trust, security, responsibility, efficiency, calm, friendliness, and intelligence describe blue’s characteristics. This color is the color most often used in branding as it is a favorite across all age, gender, and cultural backgrounds. Again, the hue and tint of this color can denote different messages. As an example, dark blue sends a message of security while a light blue color leans more heavily towards a feeling of friendliness and calm.
The color of red signifies excitement, energy, urgency, love, passion, anger, violence, aggression, and strength. This powerful color quickly catches the eye of the beholder. That is why the red tie is called the power tie in business circles.
This is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg of color psychology. Employing the right color for your project will enhance your marketing efforts. Choose wisely and with purpose. Consciously and consistently using color psychology can lead to increased book sales and stronger brand identity.
If you haven’t a clue where to begin, try asking your beta readers for input on your design before putting it to use. Listen to what they tell you and benefit from their input. They are, after all, your target market; and thus their words deserve your attention.