Why Envelope Colors Matter in Direct Mail

If you had to pick an envelope from the picture above, which one do you choose?

If you picked the red one, you’re not alone. Envelope colors make a big difference if you want your direct mail to get noticed.

A good direct mail envelope has excellent copy, design, and color. But color is what people notice about the envelope first, even before they see who it’s addressed to. In the 90 seconds it takes to form an opinion of that object, 80 of those seconds will be about the color. 90% of consumers make quick judgments about products based on their color and 84% say color is the main reason they buy it. Why do you think cars come in so many colors? They create a psychological response that everyone subconsciously associates with a particular emotion or memory.

Every good brand has a distinct color scheme. Coca-Cola is red, Facebook is blue, McDonald’s is yellow. Believe it or not, lots of strategic thinking goes into choosing brand colors. Here are the common emotional associations Americans make with each color:

RED gets you excited, whether in a good or bad way. Sure, it’s the color of danger and rage, but it’s also the color for warmth and excitement. Either way, it grabs your attention and increases your pulse. Red is the best color to use if you want your consumers to make impulse decisions. Coca-Cola’s main color is red because its brand is all about happiness and
togetherness.

BLUE is for coolness. Studies have shown that blue actually calms the mind and improves concentration. Most people say it’s their favorite color. Although it can be associated with sadness, like when people ask “why so blue?” it’s also the color for peace, trust, and safety. Many I.T. and social media companies use blue in their branding because it helps establish connectivity with the target audience.

YELLOW makes you happy. When you think of the sun, springtime, sunflowers, or SpongeBob, it’s all beautifully yellow. It represents confidence, promptness, and creativity. McDonald’s colors are yellow and red, yellow for its speediness and red because it’s delicious. Clever, right? With direct mail, yellow acts as a highlighter for advertisements so consumers can easily spot them.

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GREEN represents new life. It symbolizes growth and good health. Funny enough, it seems to be used in lots of movies as the color of evil, like the wicked witch of the west. But in marketing, it’s a good color choice. Any product or service that claims to be environmentally friendly always uses green. Whole Foods Market has a green logo because it sells natural and organic products. No other color would make sense. Green is also used by many financial companies because it’s the color of money.

ORANGE means inspiration and creativity. It is literally a softer version of red. The color generates warmth and provides a sense of affordability. Orange is the main color for Payless Shoes and The Home Depot. Now it all makes sense.

PURPLE is the color of fantasy. It stands for extravagance, richness, and dreams. No wonder it’s the color of Queen Elizabeth’s royal crown. Purple is great in direct mail for high-quality brands to expose its richness. It’s also a nice seasonal color for springtime, just look at Cadbury eggs.

BLACK signifies power and control. It’s sometimes represented as a scary color, like for Halloween. In marketing, however, it shows dignity. It’s good to combine black with lighter colors to demonstrate your company has fun with the product or service but also takes it seriously. At NextPage, our logo contains black and red. Our brand poster reads, “Black demonstrates leading and driving forward from a position of power, strength, and authority. Red produces an emotional intensity and demonstrates a pure determination for success.”

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