COLOUR PSYCHOLOGY: HOW PICKING A COLOUR WILL AFFECT YOUR BRAND
Designing a logo is the starting point to building your brand, but deciding on a colour can be tricky, especially when it comes to colour psychology.
Colour plays an important role in how your brand is perceived. Whether you’re a fashion brand trying to connect to a youthful audience or a medical supplies store trying to strengthen customer trust, you can study colour meanings to help you better attract and connect to your ideal customer.
Colour psychology can be used to help build a strong, relatable brand. In this article, we’ll explain what colour psychology is and educate you on the colour meanings for the most popular colours used.
What is Colour Psychology?
Colour psychology is the study of colours in relation to human behaviour. It aims to determine how colour affects our day-to-day decisions such as the items we buy.
Does the colour of a dress compel us into purchase?
Do the colours of a package make us choose one brand over another?
Does the colour of an icon make us more likely to click on it?
The short answer is yes.
But the why part is a bit more complicated. Colour meanings can have an impact on why we prefer certain colours over others. The same colour can also have different meanings that are dependent on our upbringing, gender, location, values, and a variety of other factors.
Picture a brand you love, think about why you love it. Do you think you would of picked that brand if it had your least favourite colour on its packaging? Do you think you would of perceived it in a different way if its colour was something different?
We would like you to go to your bathroom and tell us how many of your products use blue and white on their packaging. We did this and at least 90% off all our products (all different brands) were blue and white, why? Because blue and white in a bathroom range indicate cleanliness and comfort, it also indicates strength, reliability and trust.
Choosing the right colours for your marketing efforts can be the difference between your brand standing out from the crowd, or blending into it. By using colours strategically for your marketing efforts, you can get your audience to see what you want them to see and help them perceive you the way you aim to be perceived. This is why understanding colour psychology can be so useful for your marketing efforts. Because it can help you portray your brand the way you want to.
While choosing the right colours can enhance your brand perception, poor colour selection can do damage to your brand image. For instance, if you choose the wrong colours for your content or logo, it can turn out to be less readable, and hard for your audience to understand. Or you can risk being ignored all together.
Here is a basic breakdown of what certain colours mean:
RED: Marketers like using red to capture attention. The meaning to red is associated with excitement, passion, danger, energy, and action. You might’ve noticed that some brands use red for ‘order now’ buttons or for their packaging as a way to stand out on the shelf. In colour psychology, red is the most intense colour. And thus, can provoke the strongest emotions. Red can also trigger danger so you want to use the colour sparingly. If you add the colour red to your website, save it for a call to action such as SALE ICONS which may be a contrast to your existing colours.
Popular brands who use red are Coca-Cola, You-Tube, Netflix, Kellogg, Toyota, Lego, KFC and Nestle.
ORANGE: represents creativity, adventure, enthusiasm, success, and balance. The colour orange adds a bit of fun to any picture, website, or marketing material it’s on. Despite its attracting colour, it’s not as commanding as the colour red. Many marketers still use the colour for call to actions or areas of a website that they want to draw the eye too.
Orange’s colour meaning shines through in logos like Nickelodeon and Fanta. Nickelodeon is a children’s channel and so the logo accurately represents the creativity and enthusiasm that a children’s show would need through their playful orange colour. Fanta has always been a playful cheerful brand, just think about the first time you tasted it and how you felt.
YELLOW: revolves around sunshine. It evokes feelings of happiness, positivity, optimism, and summer but also of deceit and warning. Some brands choose to use a cheerful yellow colour as the background or border for their website design. You can also choose to use yellow for your ‘free shipping’ bar at the top of your website if it matches the rest of your website’s design. A little touch of yellow can help your website visitors associate your store with something positive.
The colour yellow is used by brands such as Ferrari, Lays, McDonalds, and Lipton. Many people dream of driving a Ferrari. The luxury brand is associated with this feeling of happiness, summer, and a carefree lifestyle. Imagine sipping a cold Lipton Iced Tea on a Summer’s day or eating lays whilst enjoying the rugby. AND don’t get us started on Happy Meals…
PINK: This is primarily popular for female products as it revolves around femininity, playfulness, and unconditional love. it’s no surprise that brands like Victoria’s Secret and Barbie use the colour so heavily.
GREEN: Growth, fertility, health, and generosity are some of the positive colour meanings for the colour. The colour meaning for green also carries some negative associations such as envy. If you’re in the health or fitness niche, you might choose to add more green to your online store. For example, your homepage banner image or logo might include a green background. Popular brands such as John Deere, Animal Planet, BP and Land Rover are perfect “outdoor” brands trying to incorporate the nature element of green.
BLUE: ties closely to the sea and the sky. Stability, harmony, peace, calm and trust are just some of the feelings your customer may feel about your brand when you integrate the colour blue into your branding. Conversely, blue can also carry some negative colour meanings such as depression and can bring about a sense of coldness. Blue can be used in your website’s logo or on your website’s top navigation. Some retailers add their guarantee, trust certification or free shipping icons in a blue colour to strengthen the trust aspect the colour is known for. Brands such as Dell, HP, Oral-B and Pfizer use blue for the trust element.
PURPLE: royal colour. The colour meaning for purple is connected to power, nobility, luxury, wisdom, and spirituality. But avoid using the colour too much as it can cause feelings of frustration. Some perceive its overuse as arrogant. You can add hints of purple to your website’s design such as on your free shipping bar, your logo, and as an accent colour in your graphics. Popular brands using purple are Cadbury, Babies R Us, Hallmark and Yahoo.
WHITE: showcases innocence, goodness, cleanliness, and humility. However, it could also have negativity of sterility and cold. Most brands have a white version of their logo, not only for the positive connotations but also for practicality of using it on different mediums for marketing.
BLACK: mystery, power, elegance, and sophistication. In contrast, the colour meaning can also evoke emotions such as sadness and anger. Many fashion retailers have used black in their logos. Black is also a popular colour for text as it’s an easy colour to read. Some brands choose to use black and white photos for lifestyle banner images or icons to create a certain tone or consistency on their website.
Black is a colour retailers such as Chanel and Nike use. Chanel uses black for their logo and has several black and white images on their website to maintain a consistent look.
GREY: represents balance as its an in between black and white – think “grey area”. It also represents control, intelligence and refined. Negative connotations could be depression, loss and plain, but don’t let that scare you away from using it as grey compliment a lot of colours and is a great neutral tone if you want to make your brighter colours pop. Brands such as Apple and Wikipedia use grey to showcase their simplicity where Mercedes-Benz and Lexus use it to showcase their sophistication.
And lastly, BROWN: Brown is an earthy colour, the colour of earth, wood and stone. Naturally this colour related to comfort, security and down to earth. Think about that cosy woollen jersey you love to cuddle up in or those brown UGG boots, what about your cute furchild or Nespresso. Every eat an M&M and not feel happy?
So now that you know what colours mean, how are you going to use this in your brand or will it make you think differently about the brands you are loyal too?