Colour as communication in selected corporate visual identities
A logo lies central in an organisation's visual identity system and it is a way of communicating fundamental aspects about the organisation, such as the organisation personality or the organisation's mission and vision. The logo, or corporate visual identity, could be seen as the organisation's visual shorthand that summarises these fundamental aspects. A design element such as colour can be an expressive tool in terms of visual identity. The use of a particular colour in the logo of an organisation conveys a specific message about that company's identity and personality through the meaning and symbolism that is attached to the colour. The corporate colour scheme of an organisation can also aid in communication without being displayed in context of the visual identity. The combination of both verbal communication such as text, and visual communication such as images, through a design element like colour, could provide an effective method of conveying information. The nature of this study is descriptive. It examined the role played by colour in an organisation's visual identity as a communication tool. The study followed a qualitative approach, making use of a literature study and a case study approach. In the literature study, the role of the graphic designer, the visual identity and a design element like colour in the context of corporate communication were examined. The sources of evidence used for the case study approach, were questionnaires, as well as a colour analysis of the corporate colour schemes of each of the selected case organisations as utilised in their visual identities. The research project attempted to determine the role of colour as communication, as well as the motivation behind the use of a particular colour, should such a motivation exist, and the communication intended behind each colour. The project also attempted to determine the target markets at which the communication is aimed; the research done by each of the case organisations regarding colour symbolism and the suitability of the colour regarding the target markets; and the importance attached to colour as a communication tool. These questions were investigated through the use of the questionnaires. The colour analysis was done to function as a control mechanism to, for example, determine whether the intended message behind colour correlated to the perceived message as determined by the colour analysis. The results from the questionnaires and colour analysis used in the study showed that colour does play an important role in the selected case organisation's visual identities. The results of the study also found, however, that regardless of how important colour was viewed as a method of communication by the respondents, certain factors exist which influence the effectiveness of colour as a communication tool.
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