Developing a successful brand can be very challenging. It must encapsulate your business’ personality, values, market niche, passion, and target audience in a clear way. It can take a lot of development time to get it right.
One of the most important elements to consider when designing a brand is colour. Colours can trigger an emotional response in a viewer, which can dramatically change how they perceive your brand. In this post, we’ll explain why colour works this way and share some tips for choosing a colour for your brand.
Why Is Colour So Important?
Humans are reliant on visual perception. What we see with our eyes helps us make sense of the environment around us, like our sense of smell or hearing.
Our brains are hardwired to look for colours and patterns which may indicate a source of food or a threat of some kind. Once the human brain has identified a new colour, it will trigger activity in the cerebral cortex and central nervous system. It will also produce chemicals that can elicit an emotional response, a process which is related to our survival instincts.
Take the colour red for example. It can elicit feelings of caution, because red is the colour of blood. Seeing red can also make a person feel tense and ready for action. Green, on the other hand, can make us feel calm and at ease. This is largely because the human brain associates green with plants, which provide cover from predators and may contain food. If perception of colour is important for human survival – just think about what it means for your brand.
Seeing a colour can also trigger memories of certain events, people, or places. This can increase the emotional impact of specific colours even more for some people. A person’s culture can even play a role in determining how they perceive colours, because they may have learned to associate colours with certain events.
To give you an example, people in western countries associate black with death, as it is worn at funerals. However, Chinese families wear white to funerals, so they do not have the same association. These cultural associations should be kept in mind if you are marketing a brand to a specific audience.
The brain recognises colours with long wavelengths (red, orange, yellow) more rapidly than ones with short wavelengths (violet, indigo, blue, green). This is one of the reasons why colours like red feel energetic and lively, while colours like blue and green feel less stimulating. It’s also the reason why high-impact brands often use the colour red.
Choosing A Colour For Your Brand
Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when thinking about the colours to use in your brand
The Target Audience
Successful brand-building is always customer-centric. Think about the kinds of people who will be using your product. Are they young, energetic, and looking for fun? Or are they looking for safety, security, and serenity? Will your chosen colour be memorable to people in this demographic? Remember to consider culture when assessing which kinds of colours your audience would prefer.
Clever use of colour in branding can help you achieve product or service differentiation in the marketplace more easily. For a clear example, look at Apple’s G3 commercial from the 1990s. Apple managed to associate PCs with the brown boxes they normally arrived in, while associating their own computers with bright and intriguing colours.
Brand archetypes are genres which brands fit into. One example is the Sage archetype, which is used by businesses seeking to convey a sense of wisdom and knowledge. Each archetype is associated with certain colours. So, if you wish to reinforce a particular archetype, it may be worth using one of the colours associated with it.
What Are The Psychological Effects Of Common Colours?
While the precise effect of a colour on a person can be altered by their culture and life experiences, most people have the following association with colours and emotion:
Purity, cleanliness, innocence, space, neutrality
Mourning, death, authority, strength, evil, intelligence
Practical, austere, dull, neutral
Danger, excitement, comfort, romance, love
Energy, health, warmth, excitement, wealth, sophistication
Intensity, happiness, warmth, optimism, attention
Peace, tranquility, nature, cool, money, health, fertility
Peace, loyalty, trust, serenity, focus
Wisdom, royalty, prosperity, mystery, spiritualism
Stability, nature, organic, warmth, reliability
Calm, romance, fun, love