Color is arguably the most powerful graphical element of a brand. The mind is highly predisposed to connecting color to memory. Primates (which include us humans) have particularly good capabilities of differentiating colors. If we view color vision through evolutionary processes, we can note that the more ‘primitive’ primates such as prosimians (lemurs, tarsiars, bushbabies, etc.) who are mostly active at night or crepuscular (dusk/dawn) are color blind (black/white, or blue/green). Whereas diurnal primates like many monkeys, chimps, apes and humans see a wider range of color. Researchers suggested that this may be due to our ancestors (somewhat similar to tree-gallery ranging monkeys of today) needing to differentiate between edible berries and other foods, and non-edible. The best berries and fruits could be seen in the red color spectrum (when fruits are ‘ripe’), thus furthering the genetic advantage to see a wider range of colors. And in the kinds of forests anthropoidea primates lived between 30 and 15 mil years ago (when prosimians and monkeys/apes parted ways), the color spectrum in the world they lived would have likely been extreme (like today’s Amazon or Cent. Africa), as compared to say a savanna, or polar region or desert environment.
If these anthropological theories are correct, then there is a strong connection between color and survival strategies and the emotions associated with them. An interesting note – in primates, there is more color-blindness among male primates than females (suggestive of the ‘gathering’ focus of female primates???), and today among humans there is more color-blindness among men than women, a biological fact one might consider when developing brands that are heavily targeted towards men. When compared to words or symbols used in branding, color is far more powerful – indeed it may even be genetic.