Why colour matters: branding and the psychology of colour

Why colour matters: branding and the psychology of colour

Why colour matters: branding and the psychology of colour

psychology of colour in branding

Colour is one of the most noticeable components of a brand – perhaps even the most important. It has a significant impact on consumer perception, buying decisions, and the future success of the overall brand. Colour helps with recognition and memorability: studies have shown that brand colours increase recognition by 80%.

Having said that, we shouldn’t be swayed by our emotions: it’s not about what we like, it’s about what’s right for the business. Men and women perceive colours differently and, in general, have different colour preferences. But when it comes to colour psychology, there are fundamentals that shouldn’t be ignored. So, when a designer suggests your logo should be red, it’s unlikely to be because they personally like the colour red, but because they think it best represents your brand.

Coming up with an appropriate colour for your brand is often a challenge for businesses. This is where a basic understanding of colour psychology, and common colour associations, can help to set you on the right path. Here are some essentials everyone should know.

Yellow

Yellow is perceived as positive, happy and warm – just like we feel on a sunny summer day, which is often one of the most common connotations it’s used for. Alternatively, it can be attention-grabbing and used to warn the audience.

Common word associations used with yellow are caution, cheerfulness, curiosity, happiness, joy, playfulness, optimism, sunshine and warmth. Brands that use yellow include Nikon, Stanley and Caterpillar.

Green

Green is the colour of nature. It invokes a strong emotional response with safety and balance. It can symbolise growth and healing. Darker greens are often associated with money and wealth, while lighter greens are calming and caring.

Common words associated with green are fresh, healthy, eco-friendly, nature, growth and fertility. Examples of brands that use green include Macmillan, Starbucks, Land Rover and BP.

Blue

Blue is perceived as trustworthy, loyal, dependable and serene. It’s popular with organisations that want to present an image of trust and dependability, such as banks. Blue is also popular with cleaning products and with airlines. Brands often choose blue to use to target men.

Common word associations with blue include authority, calmness, confidence, dignity, dependability, loyalty, logical, honesty, security, serenity and trust. Brands that use blue include Barclays Bank, IBM, Intel, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Purple

Purple is a rich colour, often associated with royalty and luxury. It’s also a rare colour in nature and many relate it to mystery. It’s said to stir up feelings of nostalgia.

Common words associated with purple are fantasy, mystery, sensuality, nobility, courage, boldness, sophistication and luxuriousness. Brands such as Cadbury, Hallmark, Asprey, Yahoo, Monster and Zoopla use purple.

Pink

Overall, pink is seen as a feminine colour that conjuring feelings of delicateness and sweetness. However, bright and vibrant pinks have a bold and modern appeal.

Common words associated with pink are romance, gentleness, femininity and softness. Brands including LG, HMV and T-Mobile use pink in their branding.

Red

On the one hand, red is associated with danger, energy and power. On the other, it’s aligned with love, passion and desire. It’s an emotionally-charged colour with high visibility, so it’s often used to label sale items in shops or Buy Now buttons on websites. Red can also stimulate appetite, so it’s frequently used by food brands.

Words associated with red inclue love, passion, adventure, action and danger. Brands that use red include McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Nike and Walls.

Orange

Energetic and warm, orange combines attributes of both red and yellow. It’s associated with joy, sunshine, playfulness and is often used in logos to stimulate emotional responses.

Common word associations for orange are creativity, enthusiasm, lightheartedness, affordability and youth. Some brands that use orange are RAC, B&Q, Halfords, Easyjet and JCB.

Brown

Brown is associated with nature and utility, and a sense of security or safety. It’s often used in relation to construction or in food packaging. Brown is regularly found to be people’s least favourite colour – although alternative names, such as mocha or tan, are seen as more likeable.

Brown word associations include wholesomeness, warmth, honesty, earthiness, natural and simplicity. Brands that use brown include UPS and – before its now-iconic rebrand – Starbucks.

Black

Black signifies luxury, exclusivity, elegance, sophistication and authority. Brands that use black are usually secure and believe that their reputation speaks for itself – meaning they don’t need colour to convey their stability and value.

Common word associations for black include independence, authority, distinction, formality, power and professional. Sony, Bose and Adidas are three of many brands that use black in their visual identity.

Grey

Grey evokes a sense of professionalism and calm, and is often seen as sleek and upmarket. Grey can sometimes be substituted with silver.

Common word associations for grey include practical, solid, timeless, neutral, professional and sophisticated. Brands that use grey in their branding include Apple, Mercedes-Benz and Nintendo.

White

Yes, white is a colour – or, technically, the absence of colour. It’s used to signify purity, cleanliness, simplicity and freedom. It evokes a sense of spaciousness and clarity.

You don’t really see brands use white – their logos are often only white when used on top of another colour. Instead, white may play a large part of a brand’s visual identity, like the skincare brand Simple – to support the brand values or brand message.

Colour theory in practice

Single colours are one thing, but the fun really begins when you use more than one colours: analogous colours, complementary colours, split complementary colours, triadic colours, tints (adding white to a pure hue) and shades (adding black to a pure hue). Many brands combine two colours to great effect. The McDonald’s logo is red and yellow – what does this tell us about the brand? Colour psychology tells us that red is high in energy and increases appetite, ideal for a fast food company. Meanwhile, the yellow is friendly and cheerful, associated with the company’s mascot, Ronald McDonald. For McDonald’s, red and yellow is the ideal colour combination – and it’s one that’s replicated in many fast food giants.

 

What does all this mean for the average person?

Well, there are no hard and fast rules for choosing a brand’s colours. However, by understanding the psychology of colour, you can make a selection based on years of insight. Remember that the colour you choose will trigger an emotional response in your customer, and it’s that response that you need to think about. Choosing a colour that embodies the personality of your business is critical to building an authentic brand.

Download the Think! Colour Theory Chart here.

 

Want your branding to start telling the story of your company? Our team is well-versed in all the colours in the spectrum and we’re ready to take your branding to the next level. Get in touch to find out more.

Other thoughts.

Think! Associates Limited
Victoria House, Victoria Street, Taunton TA1 3FZ
+44 (0)1823 423212
studio@thinkassociates.co.uk

© Think! Design Associates Ltd

Website designed by us, naturally!

© Think! Design Associates Ltd

Website designed by us, naturally!

Bold thinking

Bold thinking

Bold thinking

Think design

Nothing stands still: over time your business changes and your marketplace changes so you need to keep up-to-date, to keep being relevant. Over the 18 years we’ve been in business, our logo has remained largely the same – except for tweaks to the colours, such as adding a light grey for a more sophisticated look. Now, to reflect a changing business landscape, and with a growing presence on social media, we decided it was time to refresh the Think brand. So we have a new look: a new typeface for the brand, together with a brighter, more contemporary main brand colour. And we’ve added some equally fresh supporting colours which you will begin to see in our social media posts and our email newsletters.

 

New business cards

We spent a lot of time researching different stocks, finishes, and inks to get a vibrant green to match our online brand colours. Our new cards are printed on a quality duplexed board from GF Smith and use a neon ink. We hope you like them. If you bump into Dora at a local networking event, ask her for a card.

 

If you’re ready to think creatively – get in touch today.

Other thoughts.

Think! Associates Limited
Victoria House, Victoria Street, Taunton TA1 3FZ
+44 (0)1823 423212
studio@thinkassociates.co.uk

© Think! Design Associates Ltd

Website designed by us, naturally!

© Think! Design Associates Ltd

Website designed by us, naturally!

10 signs you should invest in branding

10 signs you should invest in branding

10 signs you should invest in branding

brand logos

Let’s talk about branding, or, more specifically, let’s talk about ten signs that indicate you should definitely be investing in your brand.

 

1 – No one really knows who you are

Talk to people and ask them if they’ve heard of your business. If nobody has a clue who you are, then it’s time to invest heavily in some branding. Build a brand, create a clear message, and they’ll soon know your business!

 

2 – People are contacting you for the wrong reason

Do you get calls from potential leads that are asking if you do certain things? If you keep getting asked about the wrong service, then your branding is clearly messed up. This shows it needs some investment, right now.

 

3 – You’re falling behind your rivals

If all of your closest competitors are doing better than you, then it’s one of the biggest signs you need to focus on branding. If you build your brand up, then you can get more attention and create more leads.

 

4 – Your business looks outdated

Does your logo look like it’s made from ClipArt? Is everything about your company’s image outdated and old? If so, then this indicates you could do with some rebranding to freshen things up and get with the times.

 

5 – Consumers don’t trust you

Consumers trust some companies more than others, and it’s all to do with their branding. If you invest in your brand and create an image that inspires trust, then this will only benefit your company moving forward.

 

6 – You’ve changed the focus of your business

Sometimes, your business can start with one focus, but then shift to something else. If this has happened, then you have to invest in branding to rebrand your company around this new focus. Otherwise, everyone will be confused.

 

7 – You’re not gaining customers

A lack of customers is a good indication that your current branding just isn’t working. With an injection of cash, you can improve on your entire brand image to draw in new customers and make more sales!

 

8 – You’ve been receiving negative press

For whatever reason, there’s negative press surrounding your company. All it takes is one mistake to send the media flying in. So, if this is the case, then some improved branding can help you re-establish yourself as a legitimate organization and repair your reputation.

 

9 – People think your prices are too high

Are consumers avoiding your services because they’re deemed overpriced? Often, people will pay more for something based on the brand alone – just look at all the Apple products out there! If you genuinely think your services/products are worth a certain amount, then invest in branding to make your business look like its worth it!

 

10 – You have no social media followers

Social media is only an effective form of digital marketing when you manage to grow a substantial following. If nobody is following you, then it could be a branding issue. As such, you need to invest.

 

If you notice any of these signs in your business, then you should definitely invest in branding today. By creating a fantastic brand image and message, you appeal to more people. It’s the key to establishing trust, developing a good reputation, and drawing in a loyal customer base.

 

If you’d like to find out more about Think! and how we might be able to help you – get in touch today.

Other thoughts.

Think! Associates Limited
Victoria House, Victoria Street, Taunton TA1 3FZ
+44 (0)1823 423212
studio@thinkassociates.co.uk

© Think! Design Associates Ltd

Website designed by us, naturally!

© Think! Design Associates Ltd

Website designed by us, naturally!