How did you choose colors for your brand? Did you choose those that appeal to you personally? Did you try to pick colors that correspond to each other? Or did you try to step one level deeper and make a research on the meaning of color? If you answered “Yes” to the last question, well done! You may check out some other interesting articles on our blog. For the rest of us — welcome to the brief lecture on color psychology!
Have you ever experienced a certain impact a color has on you? Maybe, you felt joyful in a yellow room, or you felt angry seeing a rapid movement of red images on the screen. Despite the popular belief, colors affect us more than just by bringing aesthetic pleasure. Being exposed to a certain color leads to feeling particular emotions.
We must notice, though, that the way colors make you feel is determined by your origins (your previous experiences, your culture, your beliefs). In India, white is the color of mourning, while in the rest of the world brides wear white dresses for their wedding day! It goes even further. Not only do we feel about colors differently, we may also see them diversely. With color vision deficiency set aside, there are people who can easily distinguish up to 11 different hues of white and have different names for them. That’s the attribute of nationalities, who live in snowy environments (e.g. Eskimos). Another example, slavic languages have two separate words for blue (the color is divided into lighter blue and a darker one), but a native english speaker does not see a vast difference between those two and calls them with one name.
Additionally, nations have developed color related symbols over time and those symbols are polar opposites to one another. With that being said, you now realize that color psychology is a tricky field to study.
Nevertheless, studies show that colors tend to make a similar impact on us. That’s why big corporations pay close attention to which color to use for their marketing. That’s why you should think of that as well.
Let’s take a closer look at the main colors on the color wheel.
Red is often associated with excitement, energy, passion and action. It stands out and drags attention. That’s why “order now” buttons and many road signs are red. But there is also a negative connotation of the color red. It may be perceived as the color of anger.
Orange is the color of youth, creativity and enthusiasm. It is a “playful” color, often used by producers of toys for kids and DIY kits. If these are the associations you’re looking for, orange may be your best choice.
Yellow often symbolizes sun in different cultures. That’s why its meaning in color psychology revolves around positivity, happiness, cheerfulness. Adding yellow elements to your website may help its users associate your company with something positive. However, yellow is also the color of warning signs, that’s why you can use it for temporary announcements on your site.
Stability, harmony, peace and calm are often associated with the color Blue. Nothing extraordinary — blue is the color of sea and the sky. However, blue can also be perceived as cold and sad. It is worth playing with the hues of blue. The color may have different meaning depending on its saturation.
Green is an international color of nature and money. It is related to feelings such as harmony, health, and generosity. Simultaneously, it can mean envy (just like in the cartoon). Green may be your pick if your company works in the health or fitness niche.
For decades Pink was used for branding of goods for women and girls. Its psychological meaning refers to playfulness, unconditional love and tenderness. While it’s stereotypical to use pink for women’s products, pink may still be your choice, if the goods you produce are fragile and delicate.
Purple is a royal color. It represents richness, wisdom, power and luxury. However, it can also be associated with arrogance. It’s a good color for moderate use — its excess may cause the feeling of frustration.
The most special color is Black as it is technically an absence of any color. In color psychology it represents elegance and sophistication. Do you want your brand to appear as powerful and mysterious? Go for black! Keep in mind, though, that it is often associated with danger (in pop culture bad guys often dress in black).
White is a color of innocence and purity. It is widely used as a background color as it does not draw too much attention to itself and looks good with any other color. However, as it was previously mentioned, such associations are true mainly for western cultures.
Gray is a combination of black and white, that’s why it’s the most neutral color. Respectively, the color means neutrality and balance. Very few brands use gray as a main corporate color, but it plays its role well as a minor one. It helps the other colors stand out.
How do you find the listed features of the colors? Have you ever noticed such an impact colors make? It is important to keep in mind that colors may be perceived quite differently. Do we associate a brand with being joyful because of its orange logo or do we think so because of funny advertisements the brand runs? That’s a good question. There’s nothing wrong with taking a certain color and adding a whole new meaning to it, thus making your brand more outstanding. However, choose wisely — some colors have too strong associations with certain phenomena.
When so many variables are present, how do you choose what’s best and not get lost along the way? In COI, we cut our teeth in branding and marketing, that’s why we would be happy to share our knowledge with you and help you choose corporate colors that suit your company and values. Fill in a brief below and let’s begin a colorful cooperation!