Choosing Your Brand’s Colors with Color Psychology

August 03, 2017

 

Let’s talk about colors!

As a designer, I get a little too excited about colors and how they relate to a brand. You might find me flipping through Pantone books and viciously scribbling down hex codes for inspiration.

Each color tells a story, and scientific studies have shown that there are deeper feelings that people associate with colors. Within 90 seconds, people make assumptions about the initial reaction to your brand’s colors.

According to color psychology researcher A.E. Crowley, color enacts arousal and evaluative reactions.

Knowing these psychological feelings come in handy when selecting the colors for your brand and logo as you try to set yourself apart from the competition (Pepsi is blue, Coke is red).

When a customer looks at your logo, what do you want them to feel? Do you want them to feel as if your brand is trusthworthy? Energetic? Serious? Luxurious?

Take a look at the meanings behind these colors – using scientific research from Lauren Labrecque and how they could visually tell your brand’s story.

 

YELLOW

The first thing that pops up in my head when I think of the color yellow is the sun. Bright and bold, right? You might associate it with extraversion and optimism. For example, Cheerios uses yellow in their brand, and I’d have to say that Cheerios is one…cheery brand (bad jokes are guaranteed).

If your brand’s philosophy centers around happiness and communication, you might want to choose yellow.

Here are some more feelings associated with the color yellow:

 

  • Confident
  • Imaginative
  • Stimulating
  • Affable
  • Genuine

 

ORANGE

Orange and yellow are quite similar, psychologically speaking. However, there’s one quality of orange that sets itself apart: daring.

Brands like Fanta and Nickelodeon have always given off a very energetic vibe in their advertising. At Morris Marketing Group, our philosophy centers around energy, extraversion, and creativity, making orange a fitting color for our brand.

If your brand is energetic and extraverted, and also believes in the power of having fun, choose orange.

Other feelings associated with orange are:

  • Abundance
  • Stimulation
  • Ease
  • Exhilaration
  • Extraversion
  • Energetic
  • Spirited
  • Warmhearted

 

RED

There are so many brands that feature the color red in their logo: Netflix, Heinz, McDonald’s, Target, Time Magazine, H&M, Canon, Lays, Toyota, Old Spice, etc….

So before choosing red, you might want to reconsider. However, red has some very alluring feelings associated it, which is why so many brands probably chose the color.

According to Crowley, when exposed to the color red, the body immediately has a biological reaction. Adrenaline begins pumping, and you feel a sense of stimulation.

The feelings are:

  • Leading
  • Strength
  • Affectionate
  • Fervent
  • Influential
  • Contemporary

 

GREEN

Ahhh, green is soothing. It harkens peace and newness. Pantone believed in the color green so much that they dedicated 2017 to “Greenery.”

You see green everywhere: when you’re playing music on Spotify, grabbing your latte at Starbucks, taking a Tic Tac to freshen your breath, and talking to a loved one on WhatsApp.

If your brand’s philosophy centers around bringing about peace, calmness and comfort, green is your color.

Other feelings associated with green are:

  • Balance
  • Harmony
  • Wellbeing
  • Courage
  • Nature Loving
  • Opulence
  • Leisure

 

BLUE

Possibly the most famous color out there (sorry green). I see blue everywhere I look on this computer screen: at the top of this Word document, the Dropbox icon syncing, the Share to Facebook button on my research.

Blue gives off the essence of intelligence and communication. Brands like Twitter, WordPress, and LinkedIn focus heavily on using communication to define their brand.

Does your brand center around talking and expressing a lot? Go with blue.

Feelings associated with blue are:

  • Experience
  • Freshness
  • Distinguished
  • Effective
  • Consistent
  • Thoughtful
  • Dependable
  • Fruitful

PURPLE

You don’t see too many well-known brands with the color purple, so this might be your shot to stand out amongst the hues of reds, blues, and greens. Of course, there is Taco Bell, FedEx, Craigslist, and Yahoo.

I automatically connect purple with royalty, and I do have to say that the chalupas at Taco Bell are quite worthy of a crown.

Purple feels like luxury, exclusivity, and regality. It’s perfect if your brand is an upscale boutique or fancy restaurant.

Other feelings associated with purple are:

  • Attractive
  • Elite
  • Excellence
  • Sensory
  • Chic
  • Mystical
  • Noble

 

PINK

In the words of Aerosmith, “Pink is my favorite color.” In 2017, pink has exploded over everything that it’s even gotten a new name: millennial pink.

If you want to jump on the millennial pink train, your brand will give feelings of cheerfulness and sophistication.

Brands like Susan G. Komen, Baskin Robbins, and Hello Kitty feature pink in their logos.

Other feelings associated with pink are:

  • Pleasant
  • Encouraging
  • Honest
  • Soft
  • Cultured
  • Soothing

 

While I’m no psychologist (according to my degree in Communication), I have often felt emotions associated with the color of a brand. When I drive past McDonald’s I feel it’s confidence and influence its had on the world. When I log in to just about any social media network, I feel the need to communicate and express my thoughts.

So, are you ready to tell your brand’s story with color? Send us an email at Valerie@mmgmemphis.com or give us a call at 901-423-3770, and let’s build a brand!

 

Zack Orsborn is the senior marketing communication specialist at Morris Marketing Group. He designs, manages social media accounts, and writes copy. 

 


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