A Guide to Choosing the Right Uniform Color
Selecting colors for a uniform is an important decision. Colors evoke meaning, emotion, and reaction. People relate to color by association, but their culture or personal preference can factor in as well. Knowing how color affects the majority of people, and what’s commonly used in your industry, helps choose the right work uniforms, as color and uniform color combinations can impact the perception of your business.
How Do You Choose the Best Uniform Colors?
Businesses often focus on logos and taglines, but there is an entire theory around how color influences people. It’s not always about what looks great. To find good uniform colors, you’ll want to consider the following:
- Branding: Color says a great deal about your business. People have built their careers on color theory, including brand consultants, who learn the meaning of color and how even changing hue or saturation can create a different feeling or message. The color of your uniform and logo can make it instantly recognizable.
- Symbolism: Symbolic meanings of color are often tied to psychology. Black projects authority, knowledge, and sophistication, while green evokes calm, tranquility, and growth. White is associated with pure and clean. The confidence of red provides an impression of dynamism and excitement, but blue gives an impression of trust and openness. Meanwhile, yellow is a symbol of optimism and creativity and silver/metallic gray is associated with technological expertise.
- Your Goal: Is your primary intention to stand out, or would you prefer to draw attention with neutral colors? You can also use color to differentiate roles in your business. For example, servers can wear one color while the head chef wears another. When it comes to uniform color, company position can be a deciding factor.
- Your Industry: Red is commonly used in fast food restaurants and department stores. However, white is preferred in healthcare environments, while black is used more often in banks and corporate environments. You’ll see green in pharmacies, health centers, and garden centers. Blue is frequently seen in office clothing because it conveys openness in a team setting.
- Professional Look: Blue uniforms are common in business because they provide a friendly and open impression and convey trust and confidentiality. Red can be interpreted as confrontational, so it’s not likely you’ll see it in professional uniforms. While white is a symbol of cleanliness, it is also difficult to keep clean, so that's something to consider in a professional environment.
What Do Certain Colors Mean/Convey?
To find the best uniform color combinations, it helps to know the meaning of colors and how they complement one another. Understanding how colors and color tones work is important on this level. Consider the following categories:
- Primary Colors: The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. All other colors are created by mixing these to varying extents. Secondary colors are formed by mixing two primary colors, and tertiary colors are created by combining primary and secondary colors (these are the ones with two-word names like red-orange or blue-green).
- Warm Tones: Red, orange, and yellow convey warmth. Associated with sunsets, sunrises, or fire, they tend to be energizing and positive. Red and yellow are primary colors and cooler tones can’t be mixed in to create warm colors. Beige can take on a cool or warm tone depending on what colors surround it. It’s often used for backgrounds.
- Neutral Tones: Neutral colors often serve as backdrops and can work with sophisticated color combinations. That’s because a neutral color is impacted by the colors that surround it. Black is the strongest neutral color, while brown is a warm neutral; gray is generally a cool neutral, and white is a neutral backdrop that lets other colors determine overall mood.
- Cooler Tones: Green, blue, and purple are cool colors. They are generally calming and relaxing and reflections of nature, water, and night. Cooler colors are often ideal for conveying calmness and professionalism. How you combine them depends on their relationships. For example, green is a combination of blue and yellow, so it takes on attributes of yellow. Similarly, purple does so with red, as this is where it comes from.
Current Industry Trends
Trends are always changing, from year to year, season to season, etc. Choosing trendy colors can show your company is current and aware of the latest fashions, cultural shifts, and other factors that impact perception of your brand. Neutrals are always trending. They let other colors make a statement and are great if you have a colorful, detailed logo.
Different tones of the same color can work as well. For example, brown is more earthy while beige is more neutral. Red can have many different meanings, but combining different tones can create a catchy design reflecting the true character of your brand.
That leads to one of the most important considerations, which is to be consistent with your brand. The colors of your logo, products, and company uniform shirts should be consistent. A specific shade or tone, or combination of colors, can create an instant association with your company.
Comfort vs. Style Balance vs. Essential Uniform Needs
Often, it’s necessary to balance comfort vs. style. While darker colors are often used for industrial uniforms, dark colors absorb heat, so they can make workers too warm and uncomfortable, especially if they work outside. You might therefore choose lighter tones that reflect light and heat.
With good uniform colors, it’s not only about symbolism. Comfort must be a top priority. Consider what workers will be doing all day, whether they interact with clients, and if they work outside or indoors. The right fit and a softer fabric contribute to improved comfort as well. There are many considerations that determine your essential uniform needs.
Why Prudential Uniforms?
Prudential Uniform Services is a leading provider of work uniforms for many reasons. We use superior materials including Touchtex™ fabric that resists oil, grease, and dirt and OilBlok that keeps oil out while ensuring the material remains breathable. Additionally, we supply shirts, coats, pants, and uniforms for specific industries, including food service, automotive, and healthcare. These feature colors often used in these environments, so your employees always maintain a professional look.
As experts on branding, we provide customized logos. Working with leading manufacturers enables us to also supply the best materials and designs that contribute to improved morale, so your workforce is happier and more productive. Finally, our uniforms are designed to last. They endure in harsh environments and maintain their quality over many washings. We carefully launder, repair, and inspect every garment and will replace it if necessary.
Contact Prudential Uniform Services
View our uniforms and apparel online and request a quote today. If you’re looking to rent, lease, or purchase uniforms for your company to create a more positive image, contact us to schedule a uniform/apparel needs assessment. Do you still have questions about a good color for uniforms in your business? Call us at 800-767-5536 today.