Branding Colors: Everything you need to know when picking a color for your brand8 min read

By 14 September 2020 Design, Marketing

The first time you look at a brand, you first get attracted to the colors of the brand. Though colors do not really ‘speak,’ they do say a lot by just being there, doing their thing. It is over the years and years of mankind that certain colors are now associated with certain feelings. When starting a new company, as tricky as it may be, a lot of people tend to ignore the study on choosing the right colors because they usually already exhaust themselves on other things like content, marketing, and finances. Colors, however, deserve a lot more attention!

Colors happen to be the biggest motivator of consumer behavior. You could be a new startup or could be just branching out your company to other fields, regardless, the color scheme should never be overlooked. What is first seen by the eye is what makes or breaks brands and products. The overall visual appearance of a brand or a product is what actually drives the people and consumers to that point where they decide if they really want to invest in the brand. Colors play with emotions while also eliciting a lot of information without even any text on it. No matter how great your products are, if they do not look good, they will not sell – as simple as that.

Let us help you with this comprehensive guide on how to pick the right colors for your brand!

We all know about colors on the surface like red means danger, green means nature, brown means the earth, and blue is to calm. But each of these colors actually plays an underlying role with the brain of the receptor looking at them. This whole process, called color psychology, is basically the study of how colors influence behaviors and patterns. Color psychology is a great tool when it comes to marketing and branding of a product.

So, how do we really look at colors and what do they mean?

First things first, let’s get to the bottom of each color and really understand the meaning behind each.

Red is associated with danger, excitement, energy and often even as the color of love or passion and desires

Pink in general is romantic and feminine but various shades of pink can be played with for portrayal of different images. Magenta and hot pink, for example, is used at times for a bold image depiction

Orange on the surface looks like a color that would be used for freshness and vitality. The underlying meaning, however, is to portray creativity and cost-effectiveness

Yellow is the ever-playful, happy and optimistic color. Works very well in the food industry, often to attract kids and youth

Green, the color of nature, is also used to depict money and prestige

Blue is the most trustworthy color – A color that elicits reliability and calmness

Purple is used for brands when they want to show that they are royal, while also not out-of-the reach royal. It is the color of friendly royalty and majesty. Example- Hawaiian Airlines

Brown comes into play for brands that are into products that are organic and wholesome. It is so because brown is associated with being is down-to-earth and honest

White is used as a color that is pure. It imparts innocence, simplicity and a genuine feel

Black, though widely used to convey a formal and luxurious image, it can also look gothic and sorrowful. Hence, a brand using black as their color needs to smartly play with it

Color of all colors- Multicolor widely portrays diversity, openness, acceptance, and unity 

Each color, of course, has a huge spectrum of colors (ever heard of fifty shades of grey?) Red sure is for danger but a shade of maroon would rather be better related to the feel of the Autumn. However, in a broad spectrum, this is what each color means. Let us talk about it more in detail ahead.

Understanding what color suits your brand the most- Decoded

1. Identify your brand’s goals, your target audience, and the brand personality

Before you start looking for a color that you ‘think’ will suit your brand, first look at a deeper question and identify what really are your brand goals? Who is your target audience? What is the personality of your brand? Picking black for a brand that sells finger food and is run on the principles of fun and excitement – just because you personally love the color black – will never work out.

Citibank, Bank of America, Chase, and Barclay’s – all of these bank institutions are blue, which obviously, is not a coincidence. The banks want to feel reliable and literally ‘bankable’ which is why they decide to go with calmer tones and moods. On the flip side, imagine if Citibank used the color pink? What image would it then have on the clients? At the same time, imagine Victoria’s Secret being blue and not pink?

Hence, first up, understand what your brand offers, who does it offer to, and what really is your brand’s personality. Do you want your clients to feel rich, informed, excited? Does your brand offer fun, inspiration or are you as a company more serious and somber?  Ask yourself questions before you even start to think of a color.

2. Take a look at your competition

This is not to copy them or take inspiration, but to actually see what different can you do with your brand – while still being relevant. To enter a market that already has a lot of similar, pre-existing products, there is a high chance of your and your brand being ignored in the noise. Hence, you need to stand out. For example, if you are a moisturizer company, you placing your white color moisturizer bottle on a shelf full of moisturizer will not make sense. Moisturizers usually all look similar as they all come in very subtle colored bottles like white, baby pink, or beige. However, let’s say your moisturizer is infused with lavender, a purple color moisturizer bottle will sure grab attention!

Hence, strive to look different while still not looking unreasonable with your color palettes.

3. Experiment with a brand color palette

When picking up a color that you believe suits your brand, you need to remember that every color has a huge range of shades and hues. In other words, blue is not just blue; it is light blue, navy blue, sky blue, aqua blue, and even grey-blue. An understanding of color hues, color shades, color tints, color tones, and color codes come into play.

Since brands have colors more than one, putting them all together in one place is called a brand palette. Making a color palette will help you see all the colors in one place, perhaps on one mood board, so you can figure out which note, shade, code, tone and tint you exactly are looking for. A brand palette is also helpful because you see the logo and the website in one place; for example, an aqua blue logo and a navy blue website. You will know if all of these elements of your brand actually go well together and are in harmony.

Final Thoughts – How far should you go with brand colors?

In terms of experimenting and playing with the colors, you should go all the way in with your brand colors. Mix and match tones and hues, saturate the colors, play with the tints; take your time to figure what works the best for you.

When it comes to where all to use your brand colors, you might want to go all in. Let your color appear in all the touchpoints and interactions since you will be eventually then associated with that color. For example, when you see a flight stewardess in a bright red uniform, you are more likely to think of Virgin Atlantic than any other airline. However, before you really go all in, you have to make sure that you test out the colors in all formats – print and on the screen. You might want your colors to appear in logos, websites, business cards, advertising, stationery, on social media platforms, uniforms – wherever you can think of. 

Here’s hoping you come out with a colorful branding story with our tips!

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