May 6, 2021

The Psychology behind Branding Colours

Brand colour psychology is the study of how colour impacts the way brands are perceived. Certain colours ignite and trigger different emotions, these emotions play a major role in how we behave as consumers.  Does the colour of a dress or tie compel us into purchase? Do the colours of a package make us choose one brand over another? Does the colour of an icon make us more likely to click on it? In short - yes!

The why is where it gets complicated.

The effect colours have on our emotions, differ from person to person, based on personal experience, cultural reasons, gender, values and so on. Although there are differences, numerous studies have come up with general guidelines on the psychology behind brand colour perceptions.  

Picking the right colours for your brand & marketing efforts can be the difference between your brand standing out from the crowd, or blending into it.

Strategically using colours can help your audience see what you want them to see and how you want to be perceived. Understanding colour phycology can help you achieve this.

List of Colour Meanings:

Psychology of Red

Red is an intense colour and demands attention. The colour red needs to be carefully used in branding and marketing as red can provoke the strongest emotions. There is a reason why stop signs are red and on the flipside sale prices are put on red tags or the buy now sign on a website – provoking you to make a purchase.

Many iconic brands have used the colour red, such as Coca Cola and You Tube. Red is said to increase the apatite & excitement, hence why red is so prominent in Coca Colas branding.  You Tube have likely played on the excitement of the colour red when watching videos and also entice you to click the play button which is also red.

Positive Red Emotions

·        Power

·        Passion

·        Energy

·        Fearlessness

·        Strength

·        Excitement

Negative Red Emotions

·        Anger

·        Danger

·        Warning

·        Defiance

·        Aggression

·        Pain

Psychology of Orange

Orange is a stimulatory colour and in colour phycology represents creativity, success, enthusiasm, balance. It is a fun and energetic colour used in marketing to draw attention and in call to actions, although not as commanding as its counterpart red.

Brands such as Mitre 10 sells products you use for your home where many DIYers head to Mitre 10 to buy products to renovate. The orange represents creativity, grabbing your attention and being relatable to the trades industry as orange is a common colour on high vis jackets and traffic cones.

Positive Orange Emotions

·        Courage

·        Confidence

·        Warmth

·        Innovation

·        Friendliness

·        Energy

Negative Orange Emotions

·        Deprivation

·        Frustration

·        Frivolity

·        Immaturity

·        Ignorance

·        Sluggishness

Phycology of Yellow

Yellow colour phycology revolves around sunshine, evoking feelings of happiness, optimism, positivity and summer. Although yellow can be a difficult colour to take in and can be associated with anxiety, frustration and fear. This may be why you may not see a lot of business branding that is solely yellow.

A large company that uses the yellow hue is of course McDonalds. Associating it’s branding with happiness and it is the most visible colour in daylight, the golden arches are easily spotted on a busy road.

Positive implications:

·        Optimism

·        Warmth

·        Happiness

·        Creativity

·        Intellect

·        Extraversion

Negative implications:

·        Irrationality

·        Fear

·        Caution

·        Anxiety

·        Frustration

·        Cowardice

Psychology of Green

In the colour psychology of green it is highly associated with nature, money, growth & health. There are also negative associations such as envy.

John Deere has engrained the colour green within their branding and products. Their brand revolves around landscaping, agriculture, lawn care and more. Their equipment matches their brand colours; therefore you will immediately recognise John Deer. The green logo blends well with their nature imagery in their marketing; this helps them attract outdoor enthusiasts as their target market. So even if your products don’t necessarily tie to a niche, you can use colour to help you attract a specific demographic.

Positive implications:

·        Health

·        Hope

·        Freshness

·        Nature

·        Growth

·        Prosperity

Negative implications:

·        Boredom

·        Stagnation

·        Envy

·        Blandness

·        Enervation

·        Sickness

Psychology of blue

Blue evokes the mind, is serene & calming with close ties to the sea and the sky. Customers may feel trust, calm and at peace when blue is integrated into the branding. As any colour blue’s negative emotion scan mean sadness or a sense of coldness. In colour psychology blue is a favourite, particularly preferred by men.

Many social media tech brands like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn use the colour blue, as it is associated with intellect, the mind, making it the colour of communication. Along with the perception of being trustworthy, dependable and safe.

Positive implications:

·        Trust

·        Loyalty

·        Dependability

·        Logic

·        Serenity

·        Security

Negative implications:

·        Coldness

·        Aloofness

·        Emotionless

·        Unfriendliness

·        Uncaring

·        Unappetizing

Psychology of purple

Purple is a balance of both masculine and feminine traits, being the colour of royalty and bravery. Purple is one of the rarest colours found in nature which can come across as either special or artificial.

Cadbury are well known for their distinctive purple hue. Associating their brand with luxury and quality.

Positive implications:

·        Wisdom

·        Luxury

·        Wealth

·        Spirituality

·        Imaginative

·        Sophistication

Negative implications:

·        Introversion

·        Decadence

·        Suppression

·        Inferiority

·        Extravagance

·        Moodiness

Psychology of pink

Pink is a feminine colour with many brands targeting a female audience, integrate the colour pink. Pinks colour psychology can mean playfulness, femininity and unconditional love. Toy brands targeting girls, will use pink packaging to attract their attention, other brands may use pink to highlight key messages.

Feminine brands like Victoria Secret heavily use the colour pink; they even named one of their brands pink. Therefore being attracted to their female target market base.

Positive implications:

·        Imaginative

·        Passion

·        Transformation

·        Creative

·        Innovation

·        Balance

Negative implications:

·        Outrageousness

·        Nonconformity

·        Flippancy

·        Impulsiveness

·        Eccentricity

·        Ephemeralness

Phycology of black

Phycology of black means mystery, power, sophistication and elegance. In contrast black can evoke feelings of anger and sadness. Black is a popular colour in branding as it is an easy colour to read and stands out on white.

Many retailers choose black, such as Chanel. Chanel is a luxury brand with the black accentuating the elegance and sophistication of the brand.

Positive implications:

·        Sophistication

·        Security

·        Power

·        Elegance

·        Authority

·        Substance

Negative implications:

·        Oppression

·        Coldness

·        Menace

·        Heaviness

·        Evil

·        Mourning

Psychology of white

White reflects the light and is a symbol of purity and innocence. White is the colour of blank slates, symbolizing freshness and new, untarnished beginnings. The sterility that is positive for white in the healthcare sector can count against it elsewhere. Used haphazardly, white can bring to mind coldness, emptiness, and isolation.

The White Company, a retail chain utilise the colour white throughout their branding, name and products they sell. Portraying sophisticated, fresh, luxury items that they sell.

Positive implications:

·        Cleanness

·        Clarity

·        Purity

·        Simplicity

·        Sophistication

·        Freshness

Negative implications:

·        Sterility

·        Coldness

·        Unfriendliness

·        Elitism

·        Isolation

·        Emptiness

Remember, none of these emotional responses are objectively fixed to any given colour. When it comes to the psychology of colour, context and culture matter. Colour can play a huge role in consumer perception and how your brand identity is perceived - understanding the psychology of colour can help with how you market and portray your brand. Which colour is right for your brand?

by 
Jess Stanley

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