“Of all God’s gifts to the sighted man, color is holiest, the most divine, the most solemn” – John Ruskin
Have you heard of a startup called Color Labs, Inc which supposedly paid $350,000 for the color.com domain name in 2010?
Here is what I could glean about Color Labs from their Wikipedia page:
Founded in Palo Alto, California (2010) by Bill Nguyen and Peter Pham, Color Labs raised $41 million in funding. Its main product was an ambitious social application for photos (on Android and iPhone). It allowed people to take photos in addition to viewing other photos also taken in the vicinity. The application grouped photos based on a user’s friends so that he or she is more likely to see those that are more relevant. Getting no traction after the product launched in 2011, Color.com closed down in 2012 and is arguably one of the top 10 startup failures of all time.
Google even offered to buy Color Labs in July 2011, but they refused. Now, the once-promising Color Labs has crashed and burned. You may have noticed that the domain now has information related to a health service.
We haven’t seen such colossal failures in India. Barring a few unethical and mismanaged companies, the startup ecosystem indeed looks rosy with even the Indian Government pulling out all stops to ensure Indian startups can stand up to the world.
The easy money or what little there was has now dried and it’s back to the drawing board for some of the hyperlocal and food startups. With potentially more deals being stuck, good Indian startups will happily see green, the color of money.
Speaking of colors, Holi is just around the corner and will be celebrated in several parts of India.
Holi is the Indian festival of colors lasting two days wherein friends and relatives splash colored water on one another and apply dry colors on faces and clothes. While mostly celebrated in North India, it has now become an all-India affair starting the day after the full moon in March every year.
“Auspicious red. Sunkissed gold. Soothing silver. Pretty purple. Blissful blue. Forever green. Wish you the most colorful Holi.”- Anon
There are three components to the colors used in Holi (A):
- Gulal (dry powder)
- Rang (colored water) and
- Phool (flowers).
Now let’s look at the three critical elements of color used to showcase your product or service (B):
- Social Media Pages
Let’s play a small game. If you were to match (A) with (B), which of these 3 options looks right?
My answer: 1c-2b-3a. I equated the logo to the beauty of a flowery decoration, applied a dash of color for the social media page and finally chose a wonderful UI palette of (dry) UI colors. What would be your choice?
A Different Color for a Different Startup
Image courtesy: yougov.com
The Favorite 3 – Red, Blue, and Green
Red – Danger, stop, love, passion, crime, heart etc. Ideal for food startups evoking the taste buds and stimulating the appetite. Example: Zomato.
Blue – Trust, sea, sky, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, etc. When in doubt, opt for this color. Great choice for healthcare startups. Ex: Practo.
Green – Go, envy, nature, thirst, ecology, fertility, money etc. Suitable for beverage, nature, and fintech startups. Ex: Capillary.
The Middle 3 -Purple, Black, and Pink
Purple – Soothing, calming, luxury, sophistication, wealth, feminine, etc. The preferred choice for exotic travel, fashion, clothing. Ex: Doormint.
Black – Power, authority, elegance, luxury, evil, etc. Suited for fashion startups as it is stylish and timeless. Ex: Voonik.
Pink – Feminine, romance, calm. It is still a symbol of the feminine gender. Ex: Zivame.
The Bottom 3 – Yellow, Orange, and Brown
Yellow – Spontaneity, creativity, disease, jaundice, cowardice, etc. Suitable for e-commerce startups because you want your customer to make that quick purchase! Ex: Nowfloats.
Orange – Warmth, optimism, determination, attraction, fascination, enthusiasm, etc. A mystery as to why it is not used more by Indian startups. Ex: Grofers
Brown – Earthen, sad, wood, etc. Not a favorite of Indian startups. One of the few to use it is the aptly named Browntape.
Does Color Really Matter?
A mix of science (evolutionary programming), art (aesthetics), and culture (learned association) makes us look at colors from different perspectives.
For the color-struck, I recommend you visit Colourlovers which is a creative community for people who love colors, palettes, and patterns.
In hindsight, the quality of your product can possibly trump any wrong color choices that you might have made. It is about your ability to disrupt the market, scale, and sustain. Nothing else matters.
For Opteamize, we have used the color code #00b299 as the primary color for the product UI, and we decided to go with orange and black for the logo. To know more about the Opteamize SaaS solution for students, contact us and find out more.
Happy coloring- er, coding!