Color Psychology: How to choose right color for your brand
Updated: Jul 19
Color is everywhere, and any color you see gives you an emotional experience, whether you realize it or not. It is a universal language of design, and Color theory is both a science and an art of its use. It illustrates the interpretation of color by humans and the visual effects of how colors blend match or contrast with each other. So why care about color theory as an entrepreneur? Why can’t just slap some violet or yellow on packaging and be done with it? They worked for Cadbury and McDonald's, respectively. Isn't it?
One of the toughest choices when designing a logo is deciding the colors of your brand/logo. Finding the right palette helps to boost your brand identity and brings exclusivity to the designs. Therefore let’s dig a little deep about color theory and psychology to help you create a brand that speaks for itself. You can totally contact us for consultation and designing of your brand.
Color theory is based on Color wheel. In 1866 Isaac Newton develops a color disc/wheel based on the reflection of light from prisms. He identified three categories by defining colors systematically:
Primary Colors - Red, Blue, Yellow (predominantly based on RYB)
Secondary Colors - Primary Color Mixes
Tertiary or Intermediate Colors - primary and secondary color combinations
There are two distinct types of color wheels.
The RYB (Red, Yellow and Blue Color Wheel) is usually used by artists as it helps to blend paint colors. And then there's the RGB (red, green and blue color wheel), which is intended for digital use, as it refers to light mixing – such as on TV or mobile screen.
“Do you know People decide whether or not they like a product in 90 seconds or less? 90% of that decision is based solely on the appearance. So, branding of the product should be carefully designed in terms of color, text and graphics for communicating and connecting with the customers.”
As we know color theory is more or less the art or science of integrating various colors with our knowledge is crucial in evaluating the relative positions of the various colors in order to generate a pleasurable effect, thus Color combinations. The most important thing to note is balance, one color should be balanced the next.
“When working with files for any screen usage, work on RGB format, while for printing or offline usage, work on CMYK.”
When starting your design process, you can consider using any of these main color schemes:
Monochromatic - Take one hue and create from various shades and tints of it other components.
Analogous - Use three colors on the color wheel next to each other (for example, orange, yellow-orange and yellow to display sunlight).
Complementary – Use “contrasting color” pairs—e.g., red and green—to maximize contrast in design.
Split Complementary -To ease contrast, add colors from either side of your complementary color set.
Triadic – Three colors which are equally distant on the color wheel (i.e., 120° apart: e.g., red/blue/yellow) make triadic scheme. Such colors may not be vivid, but the framework may be as it retains high contrast and harmony. With this, it's simpler to render visually pleasing projects than with a complementary scheme.
Tetradic - Take four colors (e.g., orange / yellow / blue / violet) that are two sets of complementary pairs and select one dominant color. This enables rich, fascinating creations.
The color wheel can also be categorized into warm and cool colors. The warmth or coolness of the color is known as the temperature of the color.
Warm colors - The colors from red to yellow which convey sense of energy e.g. fire, sun.
Cool Colors - The colors from blue to green and purple which brings sense of calmness e.g. water.
One of the primary colors, a universal symbol of passion, rage and love, red is a common color in branding. If you're looking for a bright, playful, young image of a brand, red is the best choice. In general, red is a color of strength, and brands also use it to display strength, even control. Red sometimes can be over whelming hence should be used smartly.
The most popular brands when it comes to red are Coca Cola, YouTube, Toyota, CNN and Canon.
Many brands use the color green to reflect their products as young and playful. Green is a very down-to-earth hue. It represents fresh beginnings or progress. It is generally linked to nature, development and wealth. Dark green is associated with prestige and power, while light green reflects serenity. Brands that use green color in their products typically include beverages, green tea brands and a variety of Eco- friendly products like Carlsberg, Tropicana, Organic India, Land Rover, Starbucks, etc.
Being the most universally preferred color used to express objectivity, reliability and efficiency, and help to create customer trust is strongly favored by the conventional, corporate business world. This pleasant, soothing color is used as a reducer of anxiety and stress because it has the effect of slowing down the heart rate physiologically. Overusing blue, however, can make a brand appear cold and detached. The most famous being the tech giants like Facebook, twitter, IBM, Skype as well as Nivea, Oreo.
This warm color is a shining display of friendliness and exuberance. Businesses that aim to offer comfort, warm embrace and youthfulness to customers should turn to Yellow. It is worth noting that yellow is too bright to stands on its own hence require a secondary color for background or bordering. Fast food brands are mainly use this color such as McDonald's, Chupa-chups, or brands like Shells, Mailchimp, etc as their secondary color.
Fact: Fast Food brands use to incorporate yellow in their branding as this color evokes hunger.
Typically considered to be the most feminine hue, pink shades are nevertheless flexible. Brands that use pink, being a lighter shade of red, will maintain a sense of excitement and cheer mixed with a sense of comfort. This is a feeling associated with sex and sexuality occasionally. Brighter versions were used to sell less pricey, trendy items to teens/tween. Although in an older market, dusty pink variations appear to be used. Common brands are Barbie, Cosmopolitan, Lyft, LG, etc.
Purple is a top choice for brands looking to radiate an air of elegance and royalty. For those attempting to express their creativity and calming identity with rational branding, Purple can be your go to color. Brands such as cosmetics and high-end retail firms have Purple as their top preference. Deep purples should be avoided by those looking for a larger, down-to-earth appeal. Brands that use purple as their primary color are Cadbury, Yahoo, Hallmark, etc
Orange incorporates a more refreshing and effective emotion connected to red by using the mellower tones of yellow. Orange is ideal for brands, such as travel agencies, aiming to evoke feelings of vitality and happiness. A perfect color for calls to action is its aggressiveness offset by friendliness. Used frequently in warning labels said to stimulate appetite thus known as ‘call to action color’. Popular brands include Fanta, Nickelodeon, JBL, blogger are named few.
White tends to be overlooked or confined to the background, but it is important to have this neutral color. Simplicity, elegance, and also neatness are expressed by white. These three make it extremely popular in the healthcare, cleaning, or in enterprises related to children. Brands seeking to express a degree of exclusivity and elegance can use white as a primary color for resounding success and build a sense of confidence by tapping into purity and simplicity. Some of the famous brands associates with white Uber, Wikipedia,etc.
Fact: White can be considered as negative space in the design so should be smartly planned and placed.
Black is both classic and elegant and can make it stand out as a brand identity. It seems to fit well with luxury brands, combining the elements of class and dominance. Brands that choose black are aiming to make a bold statement and show a sense of power and integrity. It is one of the colors that can be mixed with others, without compromising the classic attraction, to bring a stronger emotion. Popular ones are Chanel, Zara, HBO, Nike etc.
Color theories develop an analytical model for color and provide an assembly of implementations for concepts, principles, and design. Consider three distinct elements for these theories: the color wheel, color harmony, and the sense of how colors are used. Be conscious, as each color is subjected to multiple interpretations based on individual interpretations and experiences. Moreover, certain cultural variations across the world might contribute to the differences in actual meaning and derived interpretation of brand's views, therefore need consideration.
From the logo and website, through social media and advertisement collateral, brand colors can be seen everywhere. Make sure you have thought all these things through before you commit to a color. Creative marketing makes use of customers' feelings to efficiently promote their product or service. A fast and inexpensive way to bring the correct message is to use color as a medium.
If you want to know about brand strategy which can be helpful in regressive time, then click here.