Colours affect people’s moods in a lot of different ways. This is a concept that can be traced all the way back to the initial days of marketing and continues to be one of the primary concepts used in branding today. Most people don’t even realize how powerful a role colour has on their purchase decisions. A buyer’s mood is the biggest factor in whether they will make a purchase or not, and this is the reason colour theory has such a significant role in brand identity design.
Look at how some banks built their entire marketing campaign around the colour brown. This simple concept of an otherwise seemingly plain colour expresses everything that UPS stands for and promotes the right mood. This will be discussed in more detail later in the post. For now, it’s important to understand that colour philosophy must be one of the defining factors in a branding strategy.
What Is colour Psychology?
Colour Psychology is defined as the study of colours and their direct impact on human behavior. Each colour plays a role in how people feel and the way they act. Black usually stands for life or death; the colour red screams “alert,” and purple makes people think of health.
Why Is colour Psychology So Important for Branding?
Aside from the literal definition, entrepreneurs need to be aware of the legitimate impact that colours will have on their brand.
- colours used in branding convey a very specific message, all without saying a single word.
- Target markets are more likely to respond to a colour that provides emotional appeal toward the solution of their problem.
- colours make brands consistent in their messages. Therefore, brand messages stand out.
- Never underestimate colours because studies have shown time and time again that they have a powerful impact on branding.
Colour Theory and How It Impacts the Brand Image
It’s time to look at the powerful impact that colours have on delivering a brand’s message. Brand colour philosophy uses a framework of creativity that uses colours to promote the emotions that people experience when using the product or service. Each colour has its own role to play.
Black is one of the most popular colours in retail because it represents professionalism and sophistication. Most of the text should be written in black since it’s the easiest to read. Only specific words or phrases should use another colour, and only when that word needs to convey an emotion. Even then, it should be limited.
White represents humility and cleanliness in most cultures around the world, which is why it’s used as the backdrop on most eCommerce websites. It’s also the cleanest looking colour in the spectrum, so using it as a background in product photos is also a good idea. Top brands in the world are starting to embrace white.
Grey represents balance in psychology since it’s where white and black meet – sort of the intersection of ying and yang. Grey also expresses sadness, but it really just depends on its application. In most cases, this is a colour that’s used in fonts that need to be balanced and neutral. However, some brands take it a step further.
More specifically, blue reminds people of the sky and sea, two things that everyone depends on for life. Therefore, there is a sense of trust that comes with it. It’s why security brands and certifications are prominently blue in their design. However, brands need to be very careful because blue is also linked to sadness. Therefore, a brand designed around happiness might want to avoid blue.
The red colour screams for attention and is full of energy, but mostly promotes a sense of alert or danger. Red tells the brain that it must take action. If you look at a majority of websites, red is prominently displayed on buttons where the designer wants people to take a specific action – buy now buttons or subscribe buttons. With that said, red must be used carefully, or it can quite literally scare away customers. It only works if contrasting with other elements of a marketing message.
Yellow is quite obvious and resembles the sun. When people think of the sun, they think of happiness, optimism, and positivity. If you notice, yellow is generally used when a brand is expressing something positive. For instance, Walmart uses it for its “rollback” sales, and charities use it to display the “happiness” that donations bring. Bringing in yellow to display these types of messages on a website can do wonders for a business.
Green is the most common colour in association with growth, and it also connects emotions with nature. So, investing firms and environmentally friendly brands generally use green as a primary colour for marketing. With that said, wealth doesn’t have to be monetary either. It can be the growth in knowledge, health, or anything else. So, it works with fitness and coaching brands as well.
Orange is a more adventurous colour and has always been associated with creativity and enthusiasm. While it’s brighter than red, orange doesn’t come with the same sense of danger or alert, so it can be used in more calming, yet enthusiastic marketing messages. It can, however, still be used to draw attention to specific elements.
Playfulness and love are two of the primary emotions that people attach to pink. It’s also associated with femininity, but that fact circles back to the primary two moods. For instance, lingerie brands tend to use pink as their primary colour because their products involve both love and playfulness.
Purple has always represented a life of luxury. Even Kings and Queens used to use this colour to represent royalty. The only problem with purple is that it can also be seen as arrogant, but this comes with overuse. Just be sure that it’s used strategically.
The colour brown provides a sense of comfort and reassurance due to its earthly nature. After all, what better reassurance is there than the ground that’s walked on? Everyone trusts it. Brands that want to promote reassurance in their message will choose brown.
We encourage you to look for these colours every time you go shopping just to see how strategic stores are in their placement of products. One of the things that instantly jumps out are brands and how they are placed within the network of competing brands. It’s not by accident. Shelf and colour placement is thought out and planned by teams of creative minds.