International Color Day and Printing

International Color Day is on Monday March 21.  A relatively new celebration, International Color Day features various activities that are related to color and its perception.  Color can attract, influence, and even increase retention.  

Color is a powerful tool for any business.  The way you present your company’s ideas with the use of color in printed material is becoming an increasingly important issue.  Studies find that using color in your documents is both impactful and influential.

Studies show that color can*:

  • Help increase readership rates by as much as 80%
  • Make your impression 39% more memorable
  • Increase phone contact by 44% when the number is printed in color
  • Increase direct mail readership by 55%
  • Help readers find important information 70% faster
  • Increase payment response up to 30%
  • Increase sales, motivation and brand recognition by 80%

Printing in color will help to get your ideas and messages read, understood and remembered. Check out 20 Ways to Share Color Knowledge for more information of the impact of color in printed documentation. 

But which color you use also makes a difference.  Colors have impact on the brain so choose wisely. A number of studies on the influence of color on brain performance have some interesting results:

Blue appears to stimulate creativity and can help you achieve a state of calm relaxation. In excess, it may encourage feelings of depression.

Red stimulates the adrenal glands and can generate feelings of energy or threat, depending on the intensity of the stimulus. However, when used in conjunction with repetitive or detail-oriented tasks, red also appears to improve focus and performance.

Yellow in small amounts can make us feel happy. However, if overdone it can lead to feelings of stress, which may be why it is so often used as the color for warning messages.

Green appears to be relaxing and may even contribute to physical health, suggesting its use in hospitals.

Pink also has a calming influence and has been shown to reduce heart rate.

Orange stimulates critical thinking and memory. It is sometimes suggested that test centers should be painted orange to stimulate performance on exams. Bring along some snacks, though, because it also increases appetite.

Interestingly the color preferences and meanings differ from country to country. If you do business or create documents for an international audience thought must be given to how color is perceived in other countries.   For instance, Green is seen as natural, financial, prosperous, growing, youthful, abundant, and healthy, in the United States. But in Columbia for some native peoples, green is the color of death and is also regarded as ugly by some.  In Egypt green is the national color, so green should not be used on packages in Egypt. Look at the International Color Guide for information on how colors are perceived in different countries and cultures.

The research shows that using color in business can dramatically improve communication, enhance productivity, and boost sales. Color has become increasingly affordable and easier to control so there has been an ever-increasing use of color in printed material.  Xerox provides many printers and multifunction printers that provide color printing. 

Xerox Color Products

Xerox also offers our Confident Color tools to provide the best possible color.   Shouldn’t your business take a closer look at color?

*Sources :


  • Loyola College, Maryland, U.S.A., by Ellen Hoadley, Ph.D., Laurette Simmons, Ph.D., and Faith Gilroy,
  • Ph.D. Case & Company, Management Consultants. Bureau of Advertising, Color in Newspaper Advertising.
  • Maritz Motivation, Inc., Southern Illinois.

Published material:

  • The Persuasive Properties of Color, Marketing Communications; What’s Working in
  • Direct Marketing. How to Use Color to Sell, Cahners Publishing Company. Grasp Facts Fast with Color
  • Copying, Modern Office Procedures.

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