Did you know that most people make a subconscious judgment about a product or person within the first 90 seconds of seeing them? Not only that, but about 62‐90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone (1).

The fact is, a company’s visual branding is incredibly important for short term perceptions, as well as long term loyalty. A strong brand can help not only differentiate you from the competition, but it can also influence people’s feelings about you, either leading to a sale, or a snub. And color is one of the most influential aspects of a brand.

I am absolutely fascinated with the use of color in branding and marketing. Color plays an incredibly important role in how a brand is perceived. What may seem like an artistic choice can actually have a serious underlying impact on people’s perceptions. There’s even something called “color psychology” which is the study of colors in relation to human behavior. It examines how color affects our day to day decisions, such as what we buy. Different colors can make us feel different things. They can incite certain emotions, make certain associations in our brands, and subconsciously guide us towards decisions we make everyday.

Color is such a simple thing, yet can have such a huge impact. It can evoke emotion, reactions, assumptions, just with a single visual cue. No words need to even be spoken. It’s the easiest, cheapest, and most foundational way to build brand perceptions, yet is so easy to mess up. A smart company will not choose their colors just based on personal tastes or preferences. They will look at the meanings behind colors, and decide how they want to make their customers feel. What will resonate with them, and what will make them stand out in their industry. Color psychology can be used to help build a strong, memorable, and relatable brand.

Don’t believe me? Let’s test your reactions.

Does anyone need financial advice?

Who wants to try my new brand of organic makeup?

Who’s hungry for some yummy recipes?

I’m sure you could easily sense which one felt right, and which one felt off. There’s a lot of meaning behind colors, and even without knowing why, you already have associations established that sway your preferences. So, let’s look a little deeper at colors and their meanings, to help you make the best decisions for your brand.

White

  • In color psychology, white conveys purity, cleanliness, and safety.
  • White can also convey sterility and coldness.
  • White provides “clean space” to keep things looking uncluttered.  It also leaves open space for creativity.
  • For online purposes, it’s best paired with darker contrasting colors to help things stand out.

Popular brands that utilize white:

Black

  • In color psychology, black conveys mystery, power, elegance, and sophistication.
  • Black can also convey sadness and anger.
  • Black is commonly used in retail branding, and is also used with text for readability.
  • If used too much, it can become visually overwhelming.

Popular brands that utilize black:

Red

  • In color psychology, red conveys excitement, passion, danger, energy, and action.
  • It is also the most intense color, and easily captures attention.
  • Red can also convey danger.
  • Red is commonly used by food and beverage brands, as it often triggers feelings of hunger.

Popular brands that utilize red:

Orange

  • In color psychology, orange conveys creativity, adventure, enthusiasm, success, and balance.
  • Orange is commonly used by multiple industries for “calls to action” (i.e. on a “Buy Now” clickable button) and can draw in impulse shoppers.

Popular brands that utilize orange:

Yellow

  • In color psychology, yellow conveys sunshine, evoking feelings of happiness, positivity, optimism, and summer.
  • Yellow can also convey deceit and warning. And if used too much, can cause anxiety.

Popular brands that utilize yellow:

Pink

  • In color psychology, pink conveys femininity and playfulness.
  • Pink can also convey immaturity.
  • Pink is commonly used by brands that serve female customers.

Popular brands that utilize pink:

Green

  • In color psychology, green is associated with nature and money, conveying growth, fertility, health, and generosity.
  • Green can also convey envy.

Popular brands that utilize green:

Blue

  • In color psychology, blue is often tied to the sea and the sky, conveying stability, harmony, peace, calm and trust.
  • Blue can also convey depression and coldness.
  • Many brands use blue on guareantees or trust certification.  Blue is popular in tech and financial industries.

Popular brands that utilize blue:

Purple

  • In color psychology, purple is associated with royalty, conveying power, nobility, luxury, wisdom, and spirituality.
  • Purple can also convey arrogance, or cause feelings of frustration.

Popular brands that utilize purple:

Grey

  • In color psychology, grey conveys neutrality and balance (being a mix of black and white).
  • Grey can also convey depression and loss, and can seem dull.

Popular brands that utilize grey:

Brown

  • In color psychology, brown is associated with earth, wood and stone, and conveys comfort, security and a down to earth nature.
  • Brown is often used by natural products and food.

Popular brands that utilize brown:

So, as you’re thinking of the colors to use with your brand, it is incredibly important to think about these things first:

  • What characteristics define your company?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • How do you want to be perceived?
  • How can you stand out from the competition?

Once you have these important decisions made, you can start to dive into colors. Contact me if you need any help with building a strong, memorable brand.

Sources:

  1. Impact of color on marketing. Satyendra Singh. Management Decision. ISSN: 0025-1747. 1 July 2006.
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