Color psychology in branding: understanding every color meaning
When you think of any well-known brand, a color probably comes to your mind, right? The power of colors and how they affect our perception of things is undeniable. Each color has one or more emotions linked to them, from anger to joy, and choosing the proper one to reflect your brand’s spirit is a matter of importance.
Pink, red, blue… there are tons of colors to pick from, and understanding their true meaning when it comes to your brand is essential to make the perfect final choice. If you don’t even know where to start or simply want to learn more about the psychology of colors in branding and discover their meaning, then this post is what you’ve been looking for. Let’s dive into the colors!
What is the psychology of color?
First things first – let’s start with a proper definition. The psychology of color is a scientific discipline that studies and observes the differences between colors and how they do affect us. There’s quite a lot of history behind this interesting discipline.
Sir Isaac Newton is a true pioneer, as, during the last years of the seventeenth century, he made a significant discovery: the color spectrum. Traveling a few centuries forward, in the early 1900s, the psychiatrist Carl Jung made a study to understand how colors impacted the human mind.
Nowadays, these studies have led to a solid discipline that is principally used in advertising and marketing, so let’s move forward and discover more about each color!
Meaning of colors in marketing
Knowing how to convey your business’ brand is key if you want to catch the attention of new potential clients and stand out from the crowd. When setting the best marketing strategy for your company, colors can play a leading role, with their various psychological effects on consumers influencing their choices. Diverse studies have proven that different colors have various psychological effects on consumers and influence them to choose one or another brand. The gentle allure of pastel colors, for instance, with their soft and soothing tones, can evoke feelings of calmness and nostalgia, fostering a positive emotional connection with your brand. Incorporating these hues strategically into your branding can create a visual identity that resonates with your target audience, making them more likely to engage and choose your brand over others.
Looking forward to more? We want to uncover all the meanings and secrets colors have, so stay tuned and take notes!
Curious fact – black isn’t a color, but the absorption of all colors! It’s produced by the total absence of light, and as such, it provides humans with all kinds of different sensations. The black color psychology is diverse. It can evoke elegance, attractiveness, and luxury, but on the other hand, it can lead to negative emotions, such as fear, sadness, or anger.
Many brands pick black for their logos, all alone or often combined with white, as their main colors, as a way to keep it simple but classy. Some good examples of this are luxury brands such as Chanel or Michael Kors. It’s also prevalent in the technology market, for example, in Sony.
Let’s dive into the purple color psychology. Historically, this color has been associated with royalty, power, and wealth. But why? Purple isn’t a color that can’t be found in nature, so the resources to create a dye were quite expensive – only rich individuals could afford clothes with this color.
When it comes to emotions and meanings, the purple color is associated with femininity, spirituality, mystery, or creativity. Brands choose this one because it’s perceived as intriguing and quite rare. It’s common in large food companies, such as Taco Bell or Cadbury, and even in the makeup industry, for example, Urban Decay.
We can sum up the gray color meaning in two words: balance and neutrality. This color, that’s in between black and white, helps any brand to keep clean and, certainly, neutral appearance. Gray color also conveys professionalism, calmness, and sophistication, so it’s an excellent choice!
It’s usual to find this color, both in shades close to white and black, in any website interface. A good example is Apple – the gray color helps them to keep it neutral and even with a certain sense of exclusivity. On their website, we can find this color in the header to create a contrast with their logo.
The power of yellow and how it affects consumers is undeniable! The yellow color psychology is crystal clear, as this bright color is associated with optimism, happiness, confidence, excitement, and of course, positivity.
Even though it’s an exceptional choice for your business branding, be careful! An excess of yellow can even generate stress and be a bit overwhelming. We can find yellow in some iconic brands such as McDonald’s, Ikea, or even in the famous social network Snapchat.
Our next stop is the green color, which is commonly related to nature and money. Other positive emotions and meanings include fertility, generosity, or health. Some studies have shown that we, the consumers, tend to perceive the products with green on them as healthy, even if they aren’t!
This color will be your top choice if your company is eco-friendly, or belongs to the fitness niche, as it will help convey that sensation of health and well-being. Some good examples are Greenpeace, John Deere, and Starbucks.
The white color psychology is quite interesting, as its perception varies depending on what region we are in. For example, in Western culture, this color symbolizes safety, cleanliness, neutrality, or purity. But it can also evoke emptiness or cold, so if your brand is energetic, it may not be the best choice.
However, it’s common to find white in the fashion industry, with brands like Zara, and in tech companies, as this color can also carry a fresh and modern spirit along with it! A top tip: feel free to combine white with other colors.
This red light hue is often associated with love, calmness, kindness, or even romance. It has been traditionally associated with feminine brands through famous doll brands such as Barbie to adulthood where it is common to see this color in magazines or makeup brands, for example, Cosmopolitan and Victoria’s Secret.
But times evolve and change, so nowadays, some popular companies have chosen this color as their primary one, even if their products are not meant just for women. Some good examples are Dunkin’ Donuts and LG.
Let’s dive into the meaning of brown color. This warm color includes tons of positive connotations, such as warmth, stability, and practicality. Light brown shades, such as beige, it’s common in the interior design industry, as it’s perceived as a neutral tone.
If you own a cozy coffee shop, this is the color you may have been looking for! It will help you convey a sense of sophistication and comfort. Costa Coffee is a perfect example of this, but they’ve given a twist by picking a reddish-brown tone.
The blue color is one of the preferred choices in the corporate business world, as it helps build customer loyalty and conveys a professional image to the world. This color has lots of meanings, where we can highlight reliability, calmness, and trustworthiness. It’s often related to one-to-one communication as well, so many big communications companies have blue as their primary color – for example, Twitter or Facebook.
High-tech companies usually opt for the blue shade as well. Why? Technology can be quite stressful for consumers, so this color helps to convey a sense of calmness. Here we can highlight Samsung or IBM.
If your main goal is to capture your customer’s attention at first sight, then red is what you need in your life. The red color psychology is quite clear and is often associated with passion, energy, action, or excitement. Probably, as a user, may have noticed that this color is frequently used in CTA buttons as an effective way to tell the user to cancel an action.
An iconic brand that has red as its primary tone is Coca-Cola, along with joyful words such as happiness. This color it’s found in a large variety of big companies, from Burger King or KFC to Netflix or Vodafone.
In terms of color psychology, orange is related to enthusiasm, balance, joy, creativity, or adventure. It’s the midterm of red and yellow, so it combines energy, warmth, and happiness. This tone is an excellent choice for your business branding if it’s a high-energy one, for example, an online shop, a gym, or a toy store. But avoid it if it’s a law firm or any other corporate business.
This color can be found frequently in retail, in firms such as Timberland or Hermès, and in energy drink brands, for example, Fanta or Sunny Delight.
We can sum up the magenta color meaning in emotional balance and harmony. It’s halfway between red and violet, so it’s the perfect combination of energy and passion. The magenta color is associated with happiness or joy, so it helps customers perceive a company more optimistically.
As pink, magenta is often associated with femininity, so it can be found in logos of companies targeting a female audience. A clear example of this is Bourjois Paris, one of the top make-up brands in the world, and big fashion brands such as Roxy.
Turquoise is located between blue and green in the color wheel. This soothing color evokes serenity, sophistication, and peace of mind. What’s best – it encourages creativity! This blue shade will be your best choice if your company belongs to the communication field, or even to education.
There are lots of examples in the market, but we can highlight Skyscanner, Deliveroo, or the iconic Tiffany & Co.
How does color affect consumer behavior?
When it comes to final purchasing decisions, emotions and feelings have a huge weight, even greater than many other factors. Colors are capable of creating emotional reactions in consumers in a more subliminal manner than photos or text can do. They have a strong influence on marketing. For example, color can boost a potential buyer’s willingness to read a packaging by 80%, according to a recent study.
It’s critical to select colors that are evident with the characteristics of the products you’re willing to sell, as many consumers make purchase decisions on a subconscious level. If your brand is able to reach clients on an emotional level, you’ll get a deeper relationship and even change their shopping habits. That’s why you should sit and think about your product, your niche, and what you want to transmit.
How to choose the best colors to build brand awareness?
As demonstrated throughout the article, many logos employ monochromatic color schemes to enhance contrast and remove unnecessary elements that might distract from the brand. The final color scheme you set for your branding will influence the marketing strategy and materials, from the logo to flyers or brochures. It’s also essential to use that chosen color palette across every platform to give your business a unified and recognizable appearance.
There are a few steps you should take when finding your brand’s colors:
- Create and define your identity as a brand, so you can set your main goals and what you want to communicate.
- Dive into the color meanings. This second step is covered in this article, so you can tick it out!
- Make quick research on your direct competitors.
- Pick your primary and secondary colors. Once you have them, make a quick test and define where to place each.
This is just a quick preview, so if you want to be an absolute pro, here at Wepik you’ll find a complete guide about how to choose the best colors for your brand!
We know there is a lot of information in this post, which will make you able to pick the right colors for your business, but to make things easier for you, let’s make a small summary:
- Black: elegance and luxury.
- Purple: wealth, power, and femininity.
- Gray: balance and neutrality.
- Yellow: positivity and happiness.
- Green: nature, money, and health.
- White: neutrality and purity.
- Pink: love and kindness.
- Brown: warmth and stability.
- Blue: reliability and trustworthiness.
- Red: energy and passion.
- Orange: enthusiasm and creativity.
- Magenta: harmony and emotional balance.
- Turquoise: sophistication and serenity.
That’s all for today, but stay tuned because soon, we will bring you new posts with tips and tricks to take your business to the next level!