How to Pick Your Brand Colors
*Please Note, This Post is Geared Towards American Cultural Understandings of Color. Some colors are not universally seen to represent the same things, so I just want to be sensitive of that.*
Color is an incredibly important part of our society. At a young age, our brains begin to process the world around us through the use of color. Even our most primal survival skills shift around color, and help us make quick, life-saving, decisions. For example, not touching the very colorful frog, or avoiding a snake with bright stripes could tell you that something is dangerous. Colors have deeply engrained meanings in our culture today, and it’s crucial to know how the brain perceives certain hues.
You may have already established a brand or company. Or, you might be getting ready to launch your new brand into the world. Either way, today I’m going to show you how to analyze colors, so that you can pick the ones that represent your brand accurately. Some of these color meanings may be familiar to you, especially if you live in the world of marketing. This color analyzation is called Color Psychology.
Purple is a very unique color. Purple is associated with royalty, charm, luxury, spirituality, exotic experiences, and exclusivity. Purple can also be associated with forms of creativity, because of the mix of blue and red. Big brands that use the color purple, are Cadbury, Hallmark, Yahoo! and Twitch.
Blue is one of the world’s favorite colors. The color blue displays several characteristics, such as calm, peace, dependability, social, technology, sleep, water, and innovation. You can see blue in logos like Banks, Facebook, Intel, Casper, and local News Stations.
The color red means a lot to us as Americans. Red means passion, stop, power, blood, love, fire, meat, and energy. Red can also be found in a lot of food brands, such as McDonalds, Wendy’s, Chik-fil-a, Arby’s and so on. Red is a powerful color that causes several reactions in the brain. The color red can raise the heart rate of the viewer, and speed up their metabolism at the same time (hence the connection with food).
Naturally, orange is associated with citrus, energy, action, spunk, autumn, warmth, and opportunity. Companies like Hubspot, Fanta, Firefox, Reeses, Nickelodeon, and Dunkin Donuts all use orange in their logos. If you’re looking to put some punch in your brand, orange could be the way to go.
Green is a very earthy color. When the human eye perceives green, it is has a calming and an energizing effect all at the same time. Green symbolizes life, growth, earth & nature, “Go”, Money, tranquility, Ease, and Health. Green can be seen almost everywhere, especially in logos like Spotify, Rolex, Whole Foods, Starbucks and Land Rover.
Yellow is a very unique color, and one of the brightest on this spectrum. Yellow stands for speed, happiness, food (in some forms, combined with reds), Optimism, Sunshine, and Energy. If you want a color that is attention-grabbing, yellow is the best bet. This is why Taxis and Construction signs are painted yellow. Although it’s great for capturing attention, it can also cause people to lose their tempers, or make babies cry more easily.
Pinks are associated with youth, feminine traits, fun, birthdays, warmth, candy and treats, and more recently, Breast Cancer Awareness. Logos with pink as their primary colors are Barbie, Lyft, Pepto-Bismol, Baskin Robbins, and Victoria’s Secret.
Brown is also another earthy tone, but represents ruggedness, rather than life. Brown stands for dependability, toughness, friendliness, and humility. Brown is usually associated with coffee, or chocolate as well (obviously). Some companies that use brown as their primary color are UPS, Hershey, A&W, and Nespresso. Brown is not a very popular color for most companies, but it definitely has its place.
Black is a basic color, but also very powerful. Black is heavy, because it is all of the colors blended into one. For that reason, black symbolizes power, efficiency, security, technology, toughness, luxury, and timelessness. Some logos that are always seen in black are WWF, Cartoon Network, Adidas, Sony, and Chanel.
White is a soothing color. It represents cleanliness, purity, peace, medical, simplicity, longevity and wisdom. Some companies that use white consistently are The North Face, Apple (again), Nike and Tesla.
White is seen as a very positive color, and used in lots of high-tech products to symbolize quality, or in hospitals to symbolize cleanliness.
Overall, color has many different effects on the brain. So it’s important to choose the color, or colors that represent your brand and messaging. Picking the right colors will help you attract the right customers, and give them the right feel for your company as soon as they see your logo. Think of color as speaking to the subconscious of your customer. The more accurate your colors are, the better the visual communication will be.
What are your brand colors, and why did you pick them? Send me a note!