Color is an essential element of branding. Your choice of color will dictate whether your product will stand out from the shelves or blend in with your competitors. It’s a consensus in the world of advertising and marketing world that brand colors are a critical business decision. And it requires the same level of thought and effort a company owner would put into choosing a general liability coverage, a shop location, or tagline.
But how, exactly, does color make or break your branding?
How Color Affects Your Business
To put it simply, color affects emotions and behaviors. It incites feelings and influences the decisions of a shopper, and these decisions will affect your sales. The right color enables you to portray your brand the way you want to. It allows you to connect with your target market.
If you choose the right colors for your brand, you are more likely to:
- Associate your brand with the right themes
- Convey the right brand values
- Follow the tone and identity of your industry
- Evoke greater trust
- Be memorable to your target audience
In contrast, if you chose less-than-appropriate hues, you are more likely to:
- Damage your brand image
- Make your prospects forget about you
- Make customers ignore your produces
- Convey values that don’t align with your business
Breaking Down the Meaning of Colors
So what feelings or thoughts does each color evoke?
- The colors in the Red family evoke excitement, passion, danger, action, and energy. This is the reason red is used for call-to-action buttons on a website or as a label for hard stops or danger warnings. As an intense color, red evokes strong, dynamic emotions.
Famous brands that use the color red are Coca-Cola and YouTube. In Coca-Cola’s taste, red tends to encourage appetite. This is also the reason many fast-food chains incorporate red into their branding. YouTube uses red, on the other hand, because of the excitement of watching online videos.
- The color orange stands for playfulness and creativity. Energetic and fun, it’s less attention-grabbing and urgent than red. Moreover, it comes off as friendlier and more enthusiastic.
This is the reason it’s recommended for home improvement and DIY brands. For instance, the signature orange hue of the Home Depot logo conveys the creativity needed to come up with ideas for your home. The children’s channel Nickelodeon and publishing house Penguin Books also bank on the playful and approachable nature of the color to attract children and readers.
- As the happiest logo in the spectrum, yellow evokes sunshine, positivity, optimism, and dreams. Yellow and golden tones uplift the spirit and convey a carefree lifestyle. This is the reason yellow or gold is used by many luxury brands and even fast-food chains.
For example, McDonald’s is known for its golden twin arches logo because it aims to make people feel great. The same goes for luxury car manufacturer Ferrari, which represents a fast-paced but carefree life.
- Green is the color of prosperity and growth. Brands related to food and gardening won’t go wrong with green because it’s a color that represents nature. Take John Deere for instance. As a manufacturer of agricultural and forestry machinery, John Deere quickly conveys its identity to its target market — farmers, arborists, agricultural entrepreneurs, and more.
- One of the most popular brand colors, blue evokes calm, peace, trust, and tranquility. Brands that need the highest level of trust from their customers use the color blue.
Healthcare systems, dental products, and banks use blue to convey professionalism. Tech giants, such as Facebook, Intel, Skype, and IBM also use blue as part of their brand identity to show that they are trustworthy.
- Brands use purple to associate their products and services with nobility, luxury, and wisdom. Cadbury and Milka, for instance, chose the color purple to represent their rich, luscious chocolate. Hallmark also used this shade to associate its products with honoring time and tradition.
- Black is the color of sophistication, making it a popular color among luxury fashion brands like Gucci, Prada, Chanel, and Burberry. It comes off as formal, serious, and traditional.
- Brown reflects simplicity and strength, which is why it’s a favorite among brands who want to convey that they’re grounded and secure. Brands that use natural materials often incorporate brown into their visual identity. Famous brands include UPS and M&M’s.
Choosing a Color for Your Brand
With so many colors to choose from, how do brands select the right one for their brand? Here are a few guidelines:
- Determine the brand values you want to communicate
- Study how the colors could be perceived by different types of customers, especially if you plan to expand to different countries
- Choose at least three different colors (a base, accent, and neutral). Use color theory to check if they complement one another.
Lastly, always check with your target audience. This ensures that it conveys the right message to your customers. It takes a lot of effort to choose the right brand colors, but if you make the right choices, you’re setting your brand up for long-term success.