Creating a strong brand is a must for any business. You want who you are and what you’re about to be crystal clear to your clients and customers. And in order to build a strong brand, business owners spend a ton of time, money, and energy on their branding – creating the perfect logo, developing their corporate voice, designing their website.
But there’s one aspect of branding that’s incredibly important to building a strong brand identity that sometimes gets overlooked. And that’s color.
The colors you choose to incorporate in your branding (also known as your brand color palette) play a huge role in how your brand will be received by your audience, which ultimately will play a huge role in how successful your brand is with said audience.
How important is it? Well, a recent study found that up to 90% of initial judgments about a brand or product are made based on color alone.
So, in other words, it’s pretty darn important.
But why are the colors you choose so important? What kind of influence will they have on your audience? And how do you choose the right colors for your brand?
Why Color Matters
So, the first step in understanding why the colors you choose are so important to your branding is understanding the way colors influence people.
Different colors have different effects on people. In fact, there’s an entire science dedicated to understanding how colors affect people; it’s called color psychology. And according to the principles of color psychology, the colors you choose to include in your branding can have a serious influence on your audience and how they perceive and interact with your brand.
Colors can affect how people feel, how they behave, and how they perceive things. So, for example, let’s take the color red. Red is widely perceived as an aggressive color and is often used to signify danger or passion. From a branding perspective, it’s often used to excite the audience.
Designed by Jerome Olivet
If you were launching an action sports beverage, red would be a great color to use; it would provoke the high energy, thrill-seeking feelings in your audience they’d need in order to buy your product.
Credits to French designer Jerome Olivet
But if you were launching a line of relaxation supplements, red would be a less than ideal choice; because red tends to ignite excitement in the audience, it’s out of line with your overall branding of being focused on rest and relaxation.
Instead, use pastels color, cool-toned colors or earth-toned colors for relaxing and soothing feelings.
By Andre Larcev
Designed by Studio FNT
The Effect Colors Have On Your Audience
Like I mentioned earlier in the article, different colors have different effects on different people. There’s no hard and steady rules on how color will influence an audience; people bring their own unique perspective to how they interact with your brand, and their past experiences will color the way they view and react to the brand color palette you choose (pun intended!).
That being said, the majority of people do have similar reactions to certain colors, and using these as a benchmark can help you understand how to use color to your advantage in your branding.
Here are some ways colors are perceived in branding:
Credits to: Svetlana Smirnova
Feelings Associated With Red: Passion, Love, Danger, Excitement
Ways It’s Used In Branding: Brands often use the color red to generate a sense of excitement or urgency within their audience.
Credits to: Oscar Bastidas
Feelings Associated With Orange: Happiness, Optimism
Ways It’s Used In Branding: Brands use the color orange to appear warm, approachable, and friendly. Orange is also a common color choice for brands targeting children.
Designed by Bond
Feelings Associated With Yellow: Happiness, Optimism (also sometimes associated with Instability or Craziness)
Ways It’s Used In Branding: Similar to orange, yellow is often used in branding as a way to appear warm and approachable.
Satis Branding by Gustavo Freitas
Feelings Associated With Green: Calm, Serenity
Ways It’s Used In Branding: Because it’s so prominent in nature, the color green has an instant calming and soothing effect on consumers. Companies typically use green as a way to signify their ties to nature and health.
Telemobisie Project – Behance
Feelings Associated With Blue: Calm, Serenity, Confidence
Ways It’s Used In Branding: Similar to green, blue is a natural color that instills a sense of calm. It also is associated with stability and can increase consumer trust and confidence.
This is just a short overview of some of the ways color can influence an audience. To learn more about color psychology and dig deeper on how to use color to influence your audience, be sure to visit ColorPsychology.org.
How To Choose The Right Brand Color Palette
Now that you have an idea of how color will influence your audience, it’s time to choose your brand color palette.
When choosing your brand color palette, you want to begin with your audience in mind. Who are your target customers? What is the effect you want your branding to have on them? And, based on those two factors, what are the best color choices to get you there?
Different audiences are going to require different color choices. So, for example, if you were launching an outdoor gear brand targeted towards middle-aged men, the colors that would have the most successful effect would be completely different than if you were launching a toddler clothing line for girls ages 2 to 5.
Think about who you are as a brand, who your audience is, and what color best bridges the two together.
Once you have a primary color, build your brand color palette around it. Choose colors that are complimentary to your primary color; clashing is only going to be an eyesore and distract from your branding. Also, keep the colors in your brand color palette to a minimum; between 2 and 4 colors is ideal to make a visual impact (and reap the rewards of color psychology) without overwhelming your audience.
Source: Satis Branding
The colors you choose to include in your brand color palette say a lot about who you are as a brand, and they also determine how your audience will ultimately perceive and interact with your brand. Make sure you choose the colors that both feel true to who you are as a brand and are the most likely to get you to your desired results.