Why so blue, CPA firms?

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Your accounting firm’s logo color plays an important, subconscious role.

If a CPA firm has a logo at all, chances are it’s blue. Why is this? It boils down to the feeling or sensation created by different colors, or color theory. So if you are picking a color for your accounting firm’s brand, here’s a brief synopsis of the feeling that different colors create.

The color blue projects the feeling of stability, calm and relaxation, in addition to conveying a sense of patriotism and authority. It also indicates creativity and intelligence. It’s used in airlines, hospitals and it’s popular among men. Blue should not be used in any type of food marketing because the color blue suppresses the appetite. (I’ll be right back. I’m going to go paint my kitchen blue.)

Red does the exact opposite–it creates feelings of excitement and action, and is also known for raising blood pressure. Red is a good color to use when you want to stand out. This is why it is used in a lot of flags; it shows pride and strength.

Orange creates the feeling of warmth and fire. It reminds people of tropical weather and is associated with the sun. Orange is the opposite of blue, in that it has appetite-enhancing qualities. It is also a more youthful color and stimulates mental activity.

Out of all of the colors, yellow is the brightest. Like orange, it is associated with youthfulness and sunshine. Be careful with yellow, though, because it can be hard to read when used in type. Also, when yellow is darkened it can create feelings of fear, so use it judiciously.

Black is often used to indicate evil or darkness. Even though it can be a depressing color, it can also indicate wealth and power. Black is often used in graphic design to show contrast, and is considered a staple of professional attire, as in a black suit or the “little black dress.”

White is obviously the opposite of black. This color creates the feelings of purity and innocence, as well as being considered heavenly. Most non-profits use this color in their designs and logos because white is a positive color that creates the feeling of “good.”

Purple has always been associated with royalty, magic and power. This color, along with pink, is great for products or services targeted to women. Purple is also a good color to use when trying to grab attention.

Green is associated with nature, money, safety and growth. Like blue, green creates a feeling of relaxation. Green is commonly used in pharmaceutical and health-related designs, as well as for the military. It is also a popular color for websites.

I know this is a personal pet peeve, but I’m simply tired of seeing blue logos for CPA firms. They are everywhere, to the point where it’s almost as if there’s a penalty for not using blue. On the other hand, I understand why so many firms use blue for their logos–who doesn’t want to communicate calm, stable intelligence? But if every CPA firm out there is using blue in its logo, it’s hard for anyone to stand out visually. So I cede the point and say maybe you can use blue, but be sure to add another strong color as well, like red, green or gold. Or go nuts and consider something entirely different, like purple or green. In the end, I recommend you consider color theory in your research process, but also think about what you enjoy seeing (since you’ll be seeing it a lot) and what you think best represents your firm. In the end, it’s sometimes as simple as going with your gut.

Follow Bonnie:
Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk is the president and founder of bbr marketing. Bonnie’s 20 years of marketing experience is vast and varied, including serving as the marketing director for a mid-sized Atlanta accounting firm. Her focus on high-quality services and advice is bested only by her determination to constantly hone her craft and increase the strength and reach of her clients’ marketing efforts. Named "One to Watch" on AccountingToday’s list of the "Top 100 Most Influential People," she is the president of the Atlanta chapter of the Association for Accounting Marketing, a well-respected speaker and a regular contributor to a variety of news and industry sites.

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