Colour Psychology and How to Use it in Your Branding

What is colour psychology?

Colour psychology is the study of how colour can affect people’s emotions and behaviours. Understanding colour psychology and using it correctly can be super helpful when deciding on branding. 

The right colours can trigger the right responses. Knowing what emotions you want to evoke from your audience is the first step. Then you can apply this to colour psychology, using it to subconsciously encourage your customers to react in the desired way.   

All (good) branding uses colour psychology. Choosing colours that work in harmony with a brand’s mission and its target audience is a true sign of great graphic design. 

Research suggests that around 90% of first impressions of a brand are based on colour, and that colour can improve brand recognition by up to 80%! 

Choosing a colour scheme shouldn’t be taken lightly, it really can be the make or break for your branding.

Is it really that simple?

Well, yes and no. Each colour has its own set of positive and negative emotions that it can produce. So a certain colour can be used to make viewers feel a certain way. An easy example would be the colour red: initial impressions are typically danger, passion, power, etc.

But knowing the effects of each colour isn’t all of it. There are general rules, but each customer is different. For example, maybe your target audience wouldn’t react the same to a certain colour due to their cultural background or personal preference.

We could get deep into this but ultimately you just need to know your audience as well as possible and choose your colours as carefully as you can.

What colour means what?

Now it’s time for the fun part! 

Like we said, there are general patterns to follow for each colour. Using this knowledge along with what you know about your audience is the best way to use colour psychology wisely.

Red

  • Power
  • Strength
  • Passion
  • Energy
  • Excitement

Red is a powerful colour and is great for attracting the viewer’s attention. It can be used to create a sense of urgency and encourage quick decisions, so it’s used a lot for calls to action like “buy now” or “click here”.

Because it’s a strong colour that can represent danger it’s best to pair it with softer colours to balance it out. Think of Youtube’s logo as an example. 

Blue

  • Trust
  • Logic
  • Loyalty
  • Security
  • Serenity

Blue is usually used to calm its viewer and show that its owner can be relied upon. Customers trust brands that use this colour. Usually it’s brands that provide communication, banking and other day-to-day necessities that require reliability. 

Think about Twitter, Facebook and Barclays Bank. 

Check out this cool blog about how we see the colour blue!

Green

  • Nature
  • Health
  • Hope
  • Growth
  • Prosperity

It’s a given that viewers associate the colour green with nature and growth. It evokes feelings of freshness and hope, as well as sustainability and health. Think of brands like Whole Foods and Starbucks. 

Darker shades of green can also be used to represent luxury, such as Harrods.

Here’s a really good breakdown of the colour green in design.

Yellow

  • Happiness
  • Creativity
  • Friendliness
  • Optimism
  • Warmth

The colour yellow represents light and sunshine, so it makes the viewer think of happiness and warmth. It’s also great for grabbing the viewer’s attention, such as McDonald’s’ infamous yellow M.

Its eye-catching qualities can also be used to show caution and warn of possible dangers, often on dangerous machinery and equipment that you’d seen in factories or other with other manual jobs.

Take a deeper look at using the colour yellow in design here.

Orange

  • Bravery
  • Energy
  • Warmth
  • Confidence
  • Innovation

Similar to the colour yellow, orange can be used to convey heat and light. It shares a lot of the same qualities as the colour red, without being seen as too aggressive. 

Orange is really good for building brand loyalty and showing customers that you can be relied upon. Think about Easyjet.

Thinking of using orange in your branding? Read up on it first!

Purple

  • Wisdom
  • Luxury
  • Royalty
  • Creativity
  • Sophistication

Deep purples can be seen in so many brands that represent luxury and creativity. Cadbury’s chocolate is a perfect example of both. 

Softer shades of purple are also associated with femininity and sentimentality.

This blog takes a look at what the colour purple can mean for your business.

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So there’s a quick rundown of colour psychology for you! 

It’s SO important for branding to have the right colours. Otherwise, you could completely miss the mark of who you’re trying to connect with and misrepresent your brand entirely.

Use this as a rough guide, along with what you know about your brand and your audience, to really make your branding shine!

Book a free consultation call with the studio today to see how you can use the power of colour psychology to your advantage when it comes to your branding.

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