My favorite color has always been red – for clothing, furniture, décor, color of choice in my art classes, my Honda Accord years ago. I even grew up in a red house in suburban New Jersey—guess my parents liked it too. For the reasons I love the color red and the emotions it evokes – passion, power, confidence, statement-making beauty, excitement, I also equate red with danger or big mistakes (a holdover from my early days in editorial proof-reading).
Funny thing, though, as a healthcare marketer, I avoid the use of red at all costs. I’m not an art major or a graphics designer but I do know as a patient and utilizer of healthcare services, red does not make me feel comfortable. When I see use of red on a website or collateral, those feelings of strength or confidence for that healthcare organization is not transferred to me in that same way as wearing a red sweater.
And I’m not alone in this thinking – study after study show that certain hues of red even impact heart rate. This is why the majority of healthcare providers rely on blue as a dominant color for their visual brand elements, followed by greens, blacks/grays/whites, then reds.
The use of specific colors to communicate a healthcare brand lies in the talent and creativity of your graphics design team and marketing strategists, who are well-versed in the meaning of colors and their application. For instance, a red heart as an accent element may be appropriate for a PCP practice looking to convey caring and community, whereas a blue heart for a cardiology group may evoke thoughts of a medical emergency as in cardiac or respiratory arrest. Presentation is everything.
As for the color red, I think its use in moderation is the best approach. Using red to emphasize or as a highlight color may better communicate your brand without going to an extreme. “Everything is moderation” works for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, doesn’t it?
Oh wait, my love of red carries over into my favorite food choices too: strawberries, cherry Twizzlers, a medium rare steak . . .