Colors and Law Firm Branding: What Lawyers Need to Know

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By Mark Wilson, Esq. on October 13, 2014 12:59 PM

Colors matter. Scientists know this from years of studying the effects of color on people. Color can effect clients' perceptions of you because different colors evoke different emotions. Do you want your client to think you're aggressive? Or do you want your client to trust you?

Color is also important in branding; for example, when you see a particular shade of blue on a website, you may think of Facebook. When you see red cans in the soda aisle, you probably think of Coca Cola. So what messages are you sending with your colors? (And more importantly, did you even think this was important? 'Cause it is.)

Marketing According to Emotion

In 2013, Fast Company published an article showing which colors appealed to which emotions.

For example, blue suggests "security" and is a good idea for lawyers. After all, trust is the only thing keeping us from absconding with client money and secrets, and breaking that trust is the No. 1 reason lawyers get disbarred.

On the other hand, maybe you want your clients to think you're aggressive. In your TV commercials, you're constantly pointing fingers at them (don't do that, by the way). If so, orange is probably for you. Orange makes us think of excitement and energy.

Color as a Message

Of course, companies choose different colors for many different reasons. Fast Company assumes that NBC's multicolored peacock logo represents "diversity"; actually, it was used to reinforce NBC's adoption of color TV programming in the late 1950s. Similarly, Apple's "rainbow" logo from 1976 had everything to do with emphasizing that Apple's monitors were color monitors in an era when everyone else had monochrome displays.

So if you're into environmental law, it's highly likely you'll want to adopt a green color palette, since green evokes nature. But if you're into trusts or securities, you might also want to adopt green because it's the color associated with money.

Marketing to Demographics

What if you're trying to appeal to a certain kind of person? Well, there are colors for that, too. Women like blue, purple, and green, while men prefer blue, green, and black, according to Fast Company. The analytics website KISSmetrics additionally determined that men respond more to shades (a color plus black) while women respond to tints (a color plus white). Men hate brown the most, while women hate orange the most (even more than men hate brown).

Dull, Dull, Dull?

If you go to the websites of many big, international firms, they don't have a whole lot of color. We can only assume that, because they have the ability to engage very expensive design consultants, that was a conscious decision. Men, according to KISSmetrics, "tolerate achromatic colors more." That is -- colors without a hue, like black, white, and gray. These high-powered websites are designed to appeal to men. What message is your website sending?

Not sure what colors to use in your law firm's Web design? Contact FindLaw's lawyer marketing specialists for some expert guidance.

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