Colours can make or break your brand
+ 5 ways to use them effectively
Colours may not seem like a significant part of your branding, but whoa nelly, yes they are! Colours can change the way your audience connects to your brand and their perception of it. It can affect your brand’s personality and how your audience expects your brand to behave. Used incorrectly and inconsistently, colours can break the trust of your audience. There have been studies that show that over half of people exposed to a message will either be attracted to a message or not based solely on colour. And, using colour in your branding, effectively, can increase brand recognition by up to 80%!! (facts from www.colormatters.com).
THIS is HUGE!
The perception of colour can change whether you’re audience is male or female. Men tend to prefer shades of a colour (when black is added to a colour), whereas women tend to prefer tints (when white is added to a colour). Here is an example of shades vs tints using the colour red.
Shades of red- mostly preferred by men (when black is added to a colour):
Tints of red- mostly preferred by women (when white is added to a colour):
Colour psychology has been used by businesses as an important part of their branding for years and it’s still heavily used today. How you use colour can really have an impact, either positively or negatively on your brand. If you’re selling internationally or to another country, please make sure to do your research about the meaning of colour in that particular culture as it can vary greatly.
If you’d like to know more about colour perceptions and meanings, please have a look below 🙂
Red is the colour of love, passion, strength, energy, action, lust, sex and determination. Its negative associations are blood, danger, warning, war, murder and anger.
Companies that use red well are: Coca-Cola, Vodafone, Target, Virgin, Kellogg’s, Canon, Salvation Army, KFC
It’s also a great colour if you want to invoke a sense of urgency or if you’re selling food as it can trigger your appetite.
Orange is the colour of warmth, strength, success, optimism, youth, friendship, happiness, courage, confidence, healthy food, energy (but not as extreme as red or yellow). Its negative associations are that it can sometimes be superficial, ignorant, pessimistic and mean “caution.”
Companies that use orange well are: Orange, Easy Jet, Nickelodeon, Fanta, Shutterfly, Lufthansa
Orange (like red) is great if you’re selling food as it also can trigger your appetite. Because of it’s youthful association, it is also great for selling toys or products for a younger audience.
Yellow is considered a very positive colour and is considered bright, pure, happy, cheerful, sunny, fresh, energetic and is also associated with food. Yellow is the MOST visible colour from a distance. On the flip side, yellow is considered highly unstable for a colour, overwhelming, cheap, unreliable and child like. Yellow can also mean cowardly.
Companies that use yellow well are: McDonalds, Caterpillar, JCB, Subway, Nikon, National Geographic, Ikea, Renault
If you’re branding is more innocent or you’re selling something very positive it can be a great choice, but it’s better left as an accent colour, so it’s not too overwhelming.
Pink is a very feminine colour. It’s a mix of red and white, so it also can be considered romantic and signify love (just not as intensely as red). It’s also considered energetic, youthful, playful, sweet and can represent friendship.
The negative side of pink is that it is considered highly feminine, so you wouldn’t want to use it on products that were geared towards men specifically.
Companies that use pink well are: T-mobile, Breast Cancer Awareness, Superdrug, Barbie
If you’re selling something for women or girls, pink can be a great option and alternative to red. Although I do think that pink tends to be overused a bit in girls’ toys.
Green is a very fresh and earthy colour. It can signify nature, growth, fertility, harmony, money, safety, healing, peace, positivity and rebirth. However, green can also mean greed, envy or illness.
Companies that use green well are: Starbucks, John Deere, Android, BP, Sony Erickson, XBOX 360, Wholefoods, Tropicana
Green is great if you have an environmental brand or a brand promoting growth. If you sell healthy living products, green is a great choice.
Blue is considered a very friendly, down-to-Earth, stable, reliable, strong, calming, trusting, and peaceful colour. It is also linked to consciousness and intellect. However, it can be considered a very masculine colour and may not always be a great choice when marketing to women. It can also be considered cold. It can suppress the appetite, so it’s not the best choice for food products.
Companies that use blue well: Tiffany & Co, Facebook, Dell, GE, Ford, Boeing, IBM, Twitter, HP, American Express
Blue is great for brands wanting a hero/protective/stable/reliable personality or tech businesses. You’ll see a lot of corporations using the colour blue.
Purple is considered royal, luxurious, exclusive, powerful, wealthy, mysterious, magic, creative and sentimental. Negatively it can be considered sad and suspect as it’s seen as a rare colour.
Companies that use purple well are: Cadburys, Yahoo, Welch’s, Aussie
If you have a luxury product or if your business wants to “transform” it’s audience or if you want to appear mysterious, it’s a great colour. It’s also one of the most popular colours with children, so a great choice for children’s products.
Brown can be friendly, honest, reliable, simple, and represent the Earth or outdoors. Like the warmer colours it can be used to market food. Negatively it can be considered dirty and boring.
Companies that use brown well are: UPS, Hersheys, Godiva
If you’re an environmental, food or shipping company, brown might be for you…or maybe as an accent.
White is considered positive, fresh, pure, intelligent, clean, perfect and virginal. Also, it’s often used as the “good guy” colour. Negatively, white can be considered boring, sterile, cold, clinical and bland.
Companies that use white well are: Apple, AVON, Playboy, The White Company
White is a good choice for technical or medical products. It’s also good for businesses wanting to promote an angelic feeling.
Black is an elegant, sleek, sexy, powerful, mysterious colour that could also mean dangerous in a good way. However, black can also mean danger, evil and death.
Companies that use black well are: Chanel, Adidas, Lexus, The Ritz, Bentley
Black is a great choice for luxury products. It can also have a slimming effect. You can also change it’s texture from gloss to matte to have a different effect all together.
There is no complete right or wrong way to use colours as every human views colours differently. But, using the above as a general guide should make a difference to your branding.
5 ways to use colours effectively:
- Logo- A logo is not your complete branding, but is a visual representation of your brand, so it must include the right colours to convey your message.
- Website- use your colours sparingly as too much can be overwhelming, but make sure to incorporate your colour scheme into your headings, titles, buttons, links, menus and photography/icons.
- Social media accounts- make sure there are touches of your colour scheme on your social media profiles and that they match your palette.
- Printed material- make sure your flyers, menus, business cards, car magnets, uniforms-anything you print that’s associated with your business uses your colours.
- Ads- whether you’re advertising on FB or Google, or anywhere else, make sure to stick to your colours
Being consistent with your colour scheme will really help give your business a strong voice and build trust with your audience.
How do you use colour to your advantage?
Struggling to find colours that are true to you but support your brand?
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