How to use color psychology in your branding.
Choosing a color palette is one of the most important decisions you will make in regards to your brand. Color influences emotions, sometimes without us even realizing it, so it can affect how people will respond to and interact with your business.
Have you tried to choose colors for your business, blog or website, but couldn’t come up with a palette that represents your core values and audience? Creating a color palette doesn’t have to be difficult (in fact, it can be quite fun!), but it does require that you have a strong vision for your business and good knowledge of who you are marketing to.
If you’ve struggled with putting together a color palette, keep reading to learn about the psychology of color and how if affects your brand’s overall vibe.
Color is essentially a form of nonverbal communication. Characteristics of a particular color may vary by culture, so the examples below apply to North American audiences.
- The most visible color is yellow.
- Red enhances the appetite, while blue and black suppress it.
- 85% of shoppers say color is a primary reason for why they buy a particular product.
Once you’ve determined who your ideal client is, you can then use basic color psychology to ensure you are attracting them with your brand’s color scheme.
Here are some of the psychological properties of several colors.
Red - passion, action, ambition, energy, excitement
Red is strong. It is the most powerful color and is very stimulating and motivating. It grabs people’s attention, but can also be perceived as being aggressive.
Red is commonly used in food logos because it is stimulating to the appetite. Some well-known examples are McDonald’s, Coca Cola, and Pizza Hut.
Yellow - cheerful, optimistic, energetic, uplifting, fun
Yellow is the color of positivity, cheerfulness, and also logic. It is often used in children’s products because it stimulates their minds and creativity.
A little goes a long way, however. Too much yellow can encourage an overly analytical or pessimistic response.
Most commonly used in food and automotive industries, some examples of yellow logos are Cheerios, Shell, and Ferrari.
Blue - trustworthy, calm, loyal, reliable, communication
Very often used in corporate branding, blue is perceived as authoritative, reliable, and professional. It is seen commonly used in the logos for software companies, banks and the pharmaceutical industry.
A few examples of logos using the color blue are Intel, Pfizer and Chase.
Orange - playful, abundant, fun, frivolous, immature
Since orange contains a lot of red, it is stimulating, energetic, and warm. It conjures feelings of physical comfort and security. Too much orange however, can suggest a lack of intellectualism.
Oragne is commonly used in branding related to food, sports, and kids. Some examples are Fanta, Nickelodeon, and the WNBA.
Green - healthy, prosperous, growth, renewal, harmonious
Green represents balance and restoration, peace and environmental awareness. It is often used by companies related to agriculture, the environment, and nature.
Whole foods, BP and John Deere all use green as the main color in their logo.
Purple - royal, elegant, creative, luxurious, spiritual
Purple stimulates the imagination and takes awareness to a higher level of thought. This is why it is most often used to represent religious institutes and educational organizations, although some corporations use it as well.
Purple is used in the logos for NYU, Yahoo, and Cadbury
Pink - feminine, nurturing, intuitive, innocent, beautiful
A mixture of red and white, pink combines the stimulating affect of red with the openness of white. Because of its feminine association, it is very often used by the beauty industry. It is also used by industries related to children because it is seen as playful and innocent.
Some pink logos include Barbie, Pink by Victoria’s Secret, and Glamour
Brown - dependable, down-to-earth, solid,earthy, wealthy
Brown is a neutral color representing comfort, material wealth, and security. It is most often used in logos for industries related to the law, finance, and of course, chocolate and coffee.
Examples include UPS, M&Ms, and Nespresso.
Black - powerful, authoritative, sophisticated, glamorous, elegant
Black is commonly used in branding for high end companies. People perceive black as highest in class and status.
The fashion industry very often uses black in branding to exude elegance, mystery and boldness. Gucci, Chanel and Calvin Klein all have black logos.
White - pure, innocent, whole, clean, simple
White is the color of perfection, of a clean slate. It is a neutral color that is used as negative space in logos.
The World Wildlife Fund, NBC, and FedEx use negative space brilliantly. Ever noticed the arrow pointing right between the “E” and the “X” in the FedEx logo?
Gray - classy, calm, reserved, practical, mature
Brands that want to convey class or dependability might use gray for their logo. Gray is a rather detached, unemotional color and is not used as commonly in branding as other colors. It is mainy used in the text portion of logos.
Mercedes-Benz and Swarovski use gray logos.
One of the most important things to remember when you are deciding on a color palette for your brand is to focus on your ideal client or market and not your color preferences. Determine how you want clients to feel and what characteristics you want your brand to convey.
And check out last week's post for some helpful tools to help you pick colors and color palettes for your brand.
What colors does your brand use? Did you choose them based on the psychology of those colors?