Despite being a few weeks into 2011, there’s still ample opportunity to get those New Year resolutions underway. But for those who aspire to lose weight and eat healthier at the top of their list, the odds may not be in their favor.
Interestingly, it’s not mere coincidence that people—namely those with limited willpower—have a hard time avoiding the McDonald’s drive-thru when they see those famous golden arches looming ahead. When the omnipresent red and gold carton of french fries appear within eyesight, all diet bets are off.
It may sound excessive to suggest that logos and the brands they represent are so persuasive and controlling that they render consumers completely mindless and weak, but smart business owners have known for some time that a carefully designed logo and a meticulously developed brand can, in fact, elicit some pretty strong reactions.
From the shape of the logo, to the size and font of the text, there are an abundant of theories regarding the psychological effects logos have on consumers. Many believe that the key to triggering a consumer’s psyche is the logo’s coloring.
“I always advise people to start with the color palette first when designing a logo,” said Lori Sawaya, a professional color strategist based in El Paso, TX. “People see color first so everything else is secondary.”
As an associate member of The International Association of Color Consultants North America, which is an organization of professionals trained in the “functional application of color and the human response,” Sawaya believes that color can elicit certain psycho-physiological effects, and it would be an advantage to business owners to take those effects into consideration.
“Restaurant owners want to stimulate hunger,” she said. “The use of the color red may do that by subconsciously making people think about all of the different delicious foods that are red. On the other hand, there aren’t many foods that are blue, so the color blue may actually suppress appetite.”
Studies have shown that the combination of red and yellow is particularly effective in appetite stimulation, hence the knee-jerk reaction to the carton of McDonald’s fries or the logos of competitors, including Burger King, In-N-Out Burger and Wendy’s.
Crystal Washington, a business marketing consultant and owner of the Houston-based firm Black Market Exchange, stresses the importance of creating the right logo that will effectively communicate a brand’s message.
“I tell my clients that it is important to not be egocentric and design a logo that reflects their personality, but to instead think about their target market and design a logo that reflects them,” said Washington. “You wouldn’t have a logo with rhinestones all over it if you were trying to market to middle-aged conservative women.”