Earlier this year, when Pantone described its color of the year, it mentioned connection – a cornerstone of every type of marketing. It led me to thinking more about color and the important role it plays in the design of branded environments, from trade show exhibits to corporate environments. It’s important to understanding color meanings and how they impact the emotions and behavior of the people you hope to have engage with your brand.

Here’s a primer on colors and the meanings associated with each. How are you using these in your marketing efforts?


Warm colors, like red, orange and yellow are found next to each other on the color wheel. They invoke energy, happiness and warmth. Let’s take a look at each one.

RED is bold and passionate, can create urgency, and is energetic. Think of the bold red of a fireman’s truck or the ‘stop’ sign in traffic. Red is also said to stimulate appetite, which may be why several of our food and beverage clients feature red in their displays.

ORANGE creates a call to action, is enthusiastic, and can be playful and show movement. It also invokes satisfaction and happiness. It attracts attention without being as daring as red.

YELLOW is hopeful and optimistic, and is used to call attention. It is associated with laughter, friendship and sunshine. In all its shades, from bright to muted gold, a “pop” or yellow draws the eye when paired with a cooler color, like black or blue.


Cool colors like green, purple, and Pantone’s 2020 color classic blue are imaginative and can have a calming effect.

GREEN is associated with new beginnings, health and nature. It is also considered reflective of stability and wealth. It’s a very balanced color and has a soothing and relaxing influence.

BLUE, as reinforced by Pantone’s description is considered calming and invokes feelings of trust and confidence. It is also the most favored color, preferred by both genders and is the most popular color for logos worldwide.  It’s a versatile choice since it is a perfect base color when paired with warmer tones of red, orange, and yellow, but also compliments neutrals and green. Here are a few examples of this tried and true color can be used to craft a color palette on a display that catches the eye and encourages connection:

PURPLE is wise and mysterious, and stands for creativity and luxury. It combines the passion and energy of red with the calm and serenity of blue. It’s not a color you see often on the trade show floor, so it can be an ideal color to use to draw attention:


Some would argue that blue should be included among the more common neutral colors of black, white, gray, and brown. Any of these are ideal as background or base colors to use in designing an exhibit.

BLACK connotes power and authority, as reflected in the Hardy image below.

WHITE typically indicates purity, cleanliness, and more recently minimalism. It works nicely as a backdrop for bolder colors as seen in the examples below:

BROWN connotes honesty, warmth, and wholesomeness. In exhibit design, you’ll see brown used as a natural element, often as woodwork. It combines well with white to reflect the farmhouse aesthetic that has seen spiked in popularity over the past few years.

Please call us at 262-432-8410 or email us if you would like our help on infusing your branded environments with the right colors.

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