Last month, I posted a blog showcasing 19 of the best-designed asset management websites. I’m pleased to say it’s become one of our most popular posts – so thanks everyone for sharing it! When I popped back recently to respond to some comments I noticed something I missed first time around… 12 of the 19 asset management websites used the color blue in some significant way.
That sent me searching through the websites of Kurtosys clients. We’re lucky to serve around 50 of the world’s largest asset managers or investment firms so I wanted to know how many of them used blue as the main brand color?
The answer was pretty clear. Around 40% have jumped aboard the blue bandwagon!
Why do so many asset managers have the blues?
So why so blue? A quick glance at the asset management logos below had me wondering if investment firms value visual differentiation.
According to this infographic by WebPageFX on the psychology of color, blue makes us calm and serene. It’s credited with creating a sense of security and trust and can apparently increase productivity (as well as curbing your appetite — if your last diet failed, try investing in some blue plates).
This infographic from KISSmetrics describes blue as one of the colors that affects consumer purchases and “creates the sensation of trust and security often seen with banks and businesses.” There’s something about the effect of light with shorter wavelengths (between 450 and 500 nanometers).
And Color Psychology in Logo Design from Visual.ly describes blue as “A calming color that can stir up images of authority, success and security.”
Put like that, it’s easy to see the appeal of the most popular color for logos in the world.
It’s not just the financial world banking on blue
Neither is the blue brigade confined to financial services, a study of some of the world’s most popular brands found that one third of them use blue predominantly within branding material.[i]
Of course, it’s also the color that Google chose to make links.
Web links were originally blue to stand out against the rather ugly background of Mosaic.
Tim Berners-Lee, the main inventor of the web, wanted a color that could stand out against the gray background and black text. By the time Google came to choose what color hyperlinks should be, things had got a little more complicated and they famously tested 41 shades of blue when experimenting with the link color in their results pages. Marissa Mayer later went on (at Yahoo) to test 30 new Yahoo logos over a period of 30 days, a kind of A–Z testing.
It’s easy to scoff at investing so much effort into choosing a simple color or shade but the truth is, this stuff really does matter.
This infographic from Marketo looks at what your brand colors say about your business.
Here too, there are some predictable results: 33% of companies use blue, arguably making it the most popular choice for a brand color.
“Blue is the only color which maintains its own character in all its tones… it will always stay blue”
—Raoul Dufy, French Fauvist Painter, 1877-1953
So what color should my asset management website be?
Which leads to some tough decisions for those trusted to design the next generation of financial brands, asset management websites or secure portals.
Do you stick with the crowd and keep clients calm with blue or shake things up a bit with something just a little bit different?
In reality, a lot of it comes down to personal choice. There are a million different opinions when it comes to branding and design – as a web designer I come up against many of them every day and, believe me, getting a general consensus is no easy matter.
But despite the long debates and sometimes seemingly endless iterations and tweaks to color palettes and logos, it really is worth staying the distance.
Since I began designing financial websites I’ve always believed that a designer should work closely with the client from day one to establish what the brand should represent.
Only then can you begin making critical design choices.
The color palette that is chosen can have a huge impact on that brand and it’s worth researching the meanings and impact of those colors (both conscious and unconscious) before making a final decision.
Sure, rules and conventions are there to be broken, but it’s hard to ignore years of study around the color psychology how certain colors make us feel or react.