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How Psychology Of Colour In Branding Affects Your Business

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Updated April 26, 2022 Juliette

You probably are already aware that there is such a thing as the psychology of colour in branding, but have you ever thought of how it impacts your business development and growth?

 

The truth is that many businesses choose colours for their brands because said colour is popular in their respective industry, or simply because they like that colour. But there is no in-depth reasoning behind the choice.

 

And this can be very damaging to their brand perception.

 

So, how can you avoid this situation? Read on and find out. In this article, we will provide you with a full guide on the psychology of colour and its effect on branding. And for this, we will begin with a brief introduction on:

  • What exactly is colour psychology,
  • Why should you know about colour psychology to help your business,

 

Then, we will look as:

  • Where to use colour psychology in your line of business,
  • Examples of colour psychology
  • And finally, its effect on branding.

 

Let’s dive in, shall we?

 

How did the psychology of colour become a thing?

Let’s start with a bit of history lesson – where exactly did the term colour psychology originate from?

 

During the late seventeenth century, Sir Isaac Newton discovered the colour spectrum and explored how each colour is defined by a different wavelength of light. In 1704, based on his findings, Newton developed the colour wheel.

 

the colour wheel
Source: bigbeadlittlebead.com

 

Fast forward to the early twentieth century, Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung studied the effects of colour on the human mind. Jung eventually developed a form of colour therapy that allowed his patients to express themselves freely with colours and images.

 

And we can see this theory in action in our day to day lives, as we find ourselves unconsciously or consciously making choices based on the colour of things.

 

Based on this theory, you, as a business owner should also start asking several questions:

  • How are your dominant brand colours affect your customers’ perception of your brand, your the goods and services you provide, or your brand voice as a whole?
  • Do your colours of choice represent what your business stands for, your values, your goals and your beliefs?
  • How do you want your customers to feel when they interact with your business?

 

More importantly, what factors should you consider when choosing the right colour for your brand in order to ensure you send the right message to your customers, potential partners, investors, and even your competition?

 

These are questions you have probably already pondered over, but how can you know which colours are “the right” colours for your brand, and can you still choose colours that you like without affecting your brand image?

 

The answer to that stands in understanding colour psychology and how this applies to your brand. So let’s look at that, shall we?

 

What is the psychology of colour?

This is the study of colours in relation to human behaviour. More specifically, colour psychology shows how different colours affect our daily decisions e.g., our moods, our choice of clothes to buy and even the meal we decide to eat.

 

Do a little experiment and ask yourself, would your house look cosy and inviting if all of your furniture, walls, floors, pictures etc. would be all beige? Or would you enjoy a plate of food where everything on it was grey?

 

The answer, most probably, is no, because either consciously or unconsciously you already know that different colours have different meanings, connotations, and psychological effects.

 

But here comes the kicker – our understanding and perception of colour are not the same all around the world.

 

In fact, our reaction to colours is quite unique based on our culture and external influences as a whole as well as individual preferences and past experiences.

 

It is important to understand the psychology of colour in branding so that your business takes off from the right foundation but remember to expand your research beyond general rules and dive into local culture and their understanding of colour.

 

How is the psychology of colours used?

At his point, you already know your surroundings may be influencing your emotions and state of mind. You probably already started thinking of how certain places seem to evoke certain feelings in you e.g., irritation and other bring happiness.

 

In marketing and advertising, colour psychology is used to send the right message and ensure your customers perceive your brand in a certain way.

 

Color Psychology - Brilliant Helping Hand in UX Design - UX Studio
Source: uxstudioteam.com

 

While in branding in general, you can apply the knowledge of colour technology to your business to help your business grow, build trust, and even evoke a specific feeling for your customers when they see your colours.

 

Three ways colour psychology can help your brand

1. Colours can help your brand stand out

Regardless if you run a startup or a large corporation, colours can set you apart and help you be unique. If you understand how colours affect customers, especially in a specific market, you don’t have to “follow the crowd” to make your business stand out.

 

Consider choosing colours that represent what you want your brand to be about and what you want your customers to feel when browsing your website or interacting with your brand. Do your due diligence and don’t be afraid to be bold.

 

2. Colour helps your communication

You know the saying a picture is worth a thousand words? Your logo and visual identity have a number of visual cues, such as words, numbers and shapes. However, what people remember the most is colour.

 

In fact, one of the first things your users see when they see your brand logo, website or product is colour. So, strive to make the best impression in the shortest time possible.

 

3. Colours are both emotional and practical

Yes, colour is not only emotional but practical as well.

 

Simply put, since colours affect the feeling a consumer has when they look at your brand, it naturally affects their buying behaviour.

 

Did you know:

  • Colour influences 85% of shoppers’ purchase decisions.
  • Between 62 and 90% of the product assessment is based on colours alone.
  • Colour increases brand awareness by 80%.

How do we define colours in branding?

Based on their tone and the emotion they create, colours are divided in three main categories: warm, cool and neutral.

color wheels warm vs cool
Source: pmg.com

 

Simply put, each colour group has a different meaning that it carries and can be used to send specific messages.

  • Warm colours – reds, yellows, oranges.  This category of colours is known to create a feeling of warmth, happiness, optimism, passion and enthusiasm.
  • Cool colours – including green, blue, purple etc. These colours are considered calm, collected and they envoke a feeling of safety and trust.
  • Neutral colours – neutral colours include brown, black, white, and grey. More often than not they are paired with one of the two other categories to either enhance them or stand out on their own.

 

Now that you have an idea of the 3 colour categories, let us dive deeper into the specific colours, shall we?

 

How other brands use colour in branding

If you’re still unsure how to choose the right colours for your brand, a great practice is to look at how other brands are using a specific colour. More importantly, see which brands are using the colour and what is the message they are communicating?

 

color psychology

 

Red

Red incites intensity in all forms of the word, be it in passion, anger, danger, sacrifice, appetite, energy, and excitement. Big brands such as Coca-Cola, CNN, Nintendo, and Lego use red in their logos.

 

Consider using red to encourage an action like in a call-to-action button. But, red can also be a sign of danger and deter people, so be careful where and how you apply it in your business.

 

For example, warning or error texts usually use red to stand out. So if you decide all of your text should be in red, not only that it will make it hard for your users to read, but it will confuse them into thinking they did something wrong.

 

When used well in branding though, red can deliver an impactful punch with the ability to increase desire given that it is a colour associated with love. It is a bold, energetic, and lively colour that can symbolize strength, confidence, and power.

 

Orange

Orange creates a sense of creativity, adventure, enthusiasm, success, and balance and is also often used as a call to action depending on what kind of emotions you want your consumers to feel when seeing it.

 

We find orange in the logos of brands like Firefox and Nickelodeon where it promotes professionalism and playfulness all at once.

 

Yellow

Yellow is a happy colour, usually associated with sunshine, and usually evokes the feeling of a smile.  It is quite visible from a distance and communicates joy, friendliness and energy. It also communicates mental clarity.

 

It can also be perceived as a warning or deceitful based on the content and tone.  However, yellow is also a cautionary colour used in life vests, police cordoning tape, and hazardous areas.

 

Examples of renowned brands that use yellow include McDonald’s and Nikon.

 

Pink

Pink is usually associated with femininity and it expresses a feeling of love and affection. But pink is also associated with being playful and youthful.

 

Because pink is so versatile, a simple change in its tone or intensity can quickly change its meaning. For example, pale or soft pinks are often seen in toys, as they represent childhood and innocence.

 

A great example of brands using pink in toys is the iconic Barbie doll or Hello Kitty.

 

Bright or hot pink is often found in clothes and accessories targeted at young adults or teenagers since it evokes energy and playfulness.

 

Lastly, dusty or dark pinks are usually seen as a romantic colour, even intimate and we see this in logos like Victoria’s secret.

 

Green

Green is another example of versatility when it comes to symbolism, as it is often associated with nature, fertility, eternity and health. But green also expresses quality, wealth and generosity.

 

Some of the most iconic logos using green are the Starbucks logo, Animal Planet, Whole Foods Market, and John Deer.

 

Blue

Blue is a best seller in brand marketing. It depicts trust, harmony, stability, calm, and peace. But, blue is also often associated with professionalism and trust, which is why blue is a favourite within the finance industry.

 

International brands using it for their business include Facebook, Visa, PayPal, American Express, Intel, and Dell.

 

Purple

Purple as a colour signifies royalty or nobility, power, luxury, wisdom, and spirituality. As a whole, purple can make your brand be perceived as premium and high-end. But overuse of purple can also show you as stand-offish and arrogant, or even childish and unreliable.

 

Some examples of famous logos that used purple are the FedEx logo, Cadbury, and Hallmark.

 

White

White is associated with purity, kindness, cleanliness and humility, but also with space and light. For example, white spaces can make your website look cleaner, tidier and easier to navigate. But be careful, too much white can make your pages seem broken.

 

White is not usually used as a branding colour as much as it is used as a complementary colour. However, every company uses a white version of their logo one way or another.

 

For example, companies like Milka or Cadbury use white text on a purple background to make the brand name stand out.

 

Milka Logo white
Source: Wikipedia

Black

Black is often associated with professionalism, precision, high quality and elegance. But aside from giving a feeling of mystery and sophistication black can also cause sadness or even anger, depending on how it has been used.

 

A few examples of brands that use black in their logos are Nike, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, and Jack Daniels.

 

Grey

Grey is a tricky colour because, on the one hand, it represents neutrality, maturity and balance. Probably the most famo0us example of a grey logo is Apple’s, which is showing exactly

 

But it could also be associated with depression and loss or it can be used on products to appeal to a mass audience.

 

Brown

It signifies the earth or nature and it works well for brands involved in the sale of natural products or food. We see this in logos like M&Ms and Nespresso.

 

But it can also be associated with stability and reliability and can be found in industries like real estate or even transport, with a famous example of the icons UPS logo.

 

Summing up

1. Colour psychology plays a big role in the impression and uptake of your brand by consumers.

Colours are linked to our emotions and hence are related to memories of those specific tones in our lives e.g., an association with the sun and a feeling of happiness, hope of the new day and peace.

 

2. Understanding the psychology behind colours and using the right ones for your brand will help you build your audience.

As a business owner, knowledge of the right colour used for your brand will go a long way in communicating the right message of your brand.

 

3. Colours can make your brand memorable

Colour is a powerful tool when it comes to branding. It helps consumers identify your brand simply just because of your logo. Your customers should have instant recognition of your brand once they interact with it.

 

4. Colours help increase and improve your brand conversion rate

Colours can lead to action. In traffic lights, the red light makes you stop and the green light allows you to move ahead. That, right there, is the psychology of colour. Human behaviour is programmed to respond to colour. The consequent actions are therefore determined largely by colour.

 

So, when choosing your colour palette, make sure you put yourself in your users’ shoes. What will they think and feel when they see your brand?

 

And if you need more help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and book a free meeting. Our team of experts can help build the website your company deserves.