In most people’s opinion, the important factors when choosing an office uniform are comfort, durability and style; often in that order. While colour is important, it is often given a secondary status, so long as the chosen shade is sufficiently ‘neutral’. In this article we put forward the case that colour is extremely important to corporate uniforms. In fact, it is probably the first decision you should make, before going on to think about questions of style and so on.
Why is colour important?
More so than logos, service ethic or design, colour speaks volumes about your business. For centuries people have invested in tents and emotional significance to different colours; habits that are very difficult to shake. If in doubt of this, conduct a little experiment yourself today. When you are next walking down your local high street, or around a nearby business park, see what colours jump out at you, without paying attention to the brands and logos themselves.
The first logos you notice will probably be those featuring a lot of bright red or yellow. It is no coincidence that successful fast food chains, such as McDonald’s or Burger King use this colour combination to their advantage. Next, think of the emotional associations that the colours conjure up. This, on a primal level, is how customers engage with brands, and is why colour is so important when choosing an office uniform.
The symbolism of colours:
Whatever your line of business, some consideration of the psychology of colour will prove beneficial. In order to make the best use of your company brand and office uniform, think about the following symbolic meanings attached to commonly used colours:
Black corporate uniforms project the idea of power, authority and knowledge. They are often seen in banks and high-powered corporations. It isn’t called ‘power dressing’ for nothing. In the wrong context however black office uniforms may give the wrong impression.
Green gives an aura of calm, tranquillity and growth. Many garden centres choose green for their uniforms because of its association with fertility. Health centres and pharmacies also use this colour because of its association with health and growth.
Purity, cleanliness and calm are all associations given by white uniforms. Beauticians, doctors and nurses utilise white overalls for this reason. In other environments, of course, white uniforms would be completely impractical.
A red uniform gives the impression of dynamism, excitement and confidence. Red shirts or polo shirts can be used to great effect in restaurants, department stores and other customer facing environments, to instil confidence in their staff and attract the attention of customers.
The most common and popular choice for office clothing, blue is the corporate colour par excellence. It didn’t gain this status by accident. Blue is an excellent team colour, signifying trust, belonging and confidentiality. Most businesses prefer blue uniforms over black, as the impression it gives is less stark.
Silver and some shades of grey give the impression of technological expertise and scientific ability. To some extent this is a prestige colour as well, so works well in companies with a reputation for technical excellence.
Traditionally yellow symbolises warmth, hospitality and entertainment. However, it now has a long association with the construction and manufacturing trades. Choose yellow as a corporate uniform for workshops, factories, storage facilities and warehouses.
Making your choice
These are some of the most common, but not the only choices of colour you have available for you when choosing an office uniform. By giving careful consideration to not only your own brand, but popular associations with different colours, you will be able to strike the right balance for your team and your customers.