In most people’s opinion, the important factors when choosing a uniform are comfort, durability and style; often in that order. While colour is important, it is often given secondary status, so long as the chosen shade is sufficiently inoffensive. At Corprotex, we believe that colour is extremely important to corporate uniforms. In fact, it is probably the first decision you should make, before going on to think about questions of style!
Why is colour important?
Even more so than logos or design, colour speaks volumes about your business. For centuries people have invested emotional significance to different colours; associations that are very difficult to shake. Next time you’re on the high street, walking around a nearby business park or see an ad on tv, see what colours jump out at you, without paying attention to the brands and logos themselves.
The first logos you notice will probably be those featuring a lot of bright red or yellow. It is no coincidence that successful fast food chains, such as McDonald’s or Burger King use this colour combination to their advantage as it’s eye catching and promotes hunger. Next, think of the emotional associations that the colours conjure up. This, on a subconscious level, is how customers engage with brands, and is why colour is so important when choosing your uniform.
The symbolism of colours
Whatever your industry, some consideration behind the psychology of colour will be beneficial. To make the best use of your brand and uniform, think about the following symbolic meanings attached to commonly used colours:
Black corporate uniforms project authority, knowledge and sophistication. They are often seen in banks and high-powered corporations. It isn’t called ‘power dressing’ for nothing. In the wrong context, however, black office uniforms may give an impression of reserve and control.
Green gives an aura of calm, tranquillity and growth. Many garden centres choose green for their uniforms because of its association with plants. Health centres and pharmacies also use this colour because of its association with health and growth.
Purity, cleanliness and calm are all associations given by white uniforms. Beauty therapists, doctors and other healthcare workers utilise white garments for this reason. The important thing to bear in mind with white, is it can be an impractical colour to keep pristine.
A red uniform gives the impression of dynamism, excitement and confidence. Red shirts or polo shirts can be used to great effect in restaurants, department stores and other customer facing environments, to instil confidence in their staff and attract the attention of customers. On the flip side, red can also be seen as confrontational.
The most common and popular choice for office clothing, blue is the corporate colour par excellence. It didn’t gain this status by accident. Blue is an excellent team colour, signifying trust, belonging and confidentiality. Many businesses prefer blue uniforms over black, as the impression it gives is more friendly and open.
Silver and some shades of grey give the impression of technological expertise and scientific ability. To some extent this is a prestige colour as well, so works well in companies with a reputation for technical excellence.
Traditionally yellow symbolises happiness, optimism and creativity. Its feeling of warmth is tempered by its association with warning signs used in construction and manufacturing trades. Choose yellow if you want an attention-grabbing colour: our brains are wired to see it first!
Making your choice
These are some of the most common, but not the only choices of colour you have available for you when choosing a uniform. By giving careful consideration to not only your own brand, but popular associations with different colours, you will be able to strike the right balance for your team and your customers.