Color in branding can be a controversial topic because there are very few established facts about the use of color. The problem with color is the cultural differences that affect how people perceive color. For example, here in the US, it is traditional for us to wear white at a wedding, but in Japan they prefer their traditional multi-colored kimonos. You might have heard that yellow is the happiest color in the spectrum, or red denotes passion and blue signifies trustworthiness. The truth is that colors are not as effective in evoking specific emotions as the personal experiences of your customers. Take green for example. It can certainly be used to denote environment-friendly, but it can also mean calmness, freshness and sometimes even finances.
It’s not as important for your color to live up to a stereotype but to your own brand. In a study titled The Interactive Effects of Colors, the relationship between brands and colors hinge on the perceive appropriateness of the color being used for your brand. In other words, does your chosen color fit with the image you want to portray? For example, if you want to be known as a relationship expert who helps middle-aged women find love amidst the busyness of life, do you think the colors grey and blue would fit in with your brand?
Here’s a color guide that can help you choose what color you want to use depending on your brand:
1. Red = if you want to be seen as passionate, powerful, courageous, warm
2. Green = if you want to be seen as a lover of nature or if you want to convey a feeling of universal love; can also be used if you want to be seen as youthful, or financially wise
3. Blue = if you want to be seen as logical, lighter blue if you want to add a touch of fun; also symbolizes trust, integrity, loyalty
4. Purple = if you want to come off as imaginative and creative; when used improperly, it can convey losing touch with reality
5. Black = if you want to be seen as efficient, glamorous, sophisticated, luxurious or exclusive; can also be seen as secretive or mysterious
6. Yellow = if you want to be seen as fun, friendly, optimistic, happy and confident
7. Orange = if you want to be seen as fun, playful and social (some brands pair orange with blue to integrate a feeling of reliability)
8. Pink = if you want to be seen as feminine; light pink for sweet and brighter pink for sex appeal
9. Brown = if you want to be seen as warm, dependable and down-to-earth; also if you want to be seen as earth-friendly
10. White = if you want to be seen as clean, pure, efficient, simple, sophisticated, perfect
In a study named Color and Research Application, researchers found out that color differentiation is important in establishing brand identity. If your competitors all use red or other shades of red, use purple.
Two studies named Aesthetic Response to Color Combinations and Consumer Preferences for Colors show that while a large majority of users prefer color patterns with similar hues, they favor palettes with a highly contrasting accent color. This means creating a visual structure that consists of a base of analogous colors and contrasting them with complementary colors. For example, if your base color is blue, you can use different shades of blue for the background, but when you want to highlight something, use a bright, bold red to make it stand out.
How much thought did you put into your branding color scheme? Any thoughts or comments on the topic are very welcome. All the best in your branding pursuits.
Image by B-D-S from Bigstockphoto