Colour is very important when it comes to branding. Studies have shown that colours can deeply affect how your brand is viewed by consumers because colour influences thought processes and reactions. So it is essential that you choose the right colours that will effectively communicate your ideal brand positioning to your target market and help you foster a strong connection with your consumers.
The colours used in your brand logo and visual identity also determine how much your brand will stand out from the crowd. A study by Loyola University Maryland found that the colours you use can improve your brand recognition by as much as 80%. You must also ensure they’re the right fit for your brand and they convey the exact message or meaning you want to pass across.
What Is Colour Psychology?
The effect of colours on a consumer’s thought process and actions can be best explained by the psychology of colour. This is basically defined as the study of colours and how they affect human behaviour. It explains how colours affect our decisions such as choosing what product or service to purchase.
Colours can have different meanings or elicit different reactions or emotions in people depending on a number of factors such as one’s gender, culture and life experiences, just to name a few. One colour can mean a few different things to different types of people based on these factors. Studies on colour psychology have however found that there are interpretations or guidelines that apply generally to all or most people.
Understanding colour psychology and the meanings of different colours can help you make better and more informed decisions when choosing colours for your brand. So here is a guide on six colours commonly used in branding and what they mean.
Red presents passion, love, energy and excitement on the positive spectrum. On the negative spectrum, it signifies danger and anger. Red is also a very bold colour visually, so it is a great colour to use for your product packaging as it always sure to stand out. Do not shy away from red if you want to attract a large audience. Red has also been found to stimulate appetite so many restaurants and food and drink brands incoporate the colour into their logo or visual identity to attract consumers. The Nigerian lager beer brand; Gulder is an example of a drink brand that uses the colour red as part of their brand logo.
The colour blue is very versatile. Being the colour of the sea and sky, it signifies calmness, imagination and freedom. It also evokes feelings of trust, sincerity, harmony and reliability so brands like to use blue to convey to their audience or consumers that they can be trusted and relied on. Blue is also a favourite colour of many people so it is a very attractive and appealing colour to use in branding. Social networking services such as twitter and facebook use blue because it signifies communication and clarity. On the other hand, blue reflects negative emotions such as depression and sadness so you want to be careful and choose the right shade of blue when designing your logo. Piggybank.ng, the Nigerian savings platform, use blue in their logo to convey to users that they can trust the service with their money.
Green is a symbol of nature and the environment but it also signifies health and wealth. It represents growth, life, prosperity, hope and vitality. However, it also carries negative connotations such as sickness and envy. Green is a great colour to use when designing a logo or developing a visual identity for a health or fitness brand. It is also a perfect colour for sustainability or environmental NGO’s. Green is known to sooth vision and it occupies a big part of the eye spectrum. In picking a brand colour, you need to know what shades represent what characteristics. Lighter shades of green symbolise growth and freshness while dark shades represent wealth and prosperity. Glo is a Nigerian telecommunications brand which can be seen as using the colour green to represent stability and trust.
Orange is very bright and bold and it symbolises youthfulness, creativity and energy. It stimulates feelings of happiness and compassion. It is therefore a great colour for youth centred and vibrant brands but it should not be used for more serious or luxury brands. Nickelodeon is a popular brand well known for its orange colour which signifies the youthfulness and excitement that embodies its target market; children. Orange, like other colours also has its negative meanings such as immaturity and deprivation. One of the top Nigerian banks; GT Bank have made use of the colour orange in their branding to position themselves as a youthful and energetic bank focused on serving young people.
The colour purple symbolises royalty, luxury and sophistication. It also conveys spirituality and is regarded as a mysterious colour. It is one of the rarest colours that exists and is therefore seen as sacred and special. The colour purple positions your brand as luxurious and elegant. Its negative connotations include inferiority and moodiness. You want to avoid overusing this colour as it can instil such feelings in your brand’s target market. Studies have found that women highly rate purple, way more than men do so it is a great colour to use if your target market is women and girls, which is an opportunity the Nigerian brand; Darling has taken advantage of in their branding as their audience are solely women.
Yellow is the colour of sunshine and it represents feelings of cheerfulness, energy and warmth, similar to the colour orange. Yellow is the one of the most attention grabbing colours so you’ll want to use it for your brand’s visual identity or logo if your goal is to attract a large consumer base. It also reflects positivity and raises self-esteem and as such, it encourages people to engage with your brand. If too much yellow is used however, it can elicit feelings of fear or frustration in your target market so you want to avoid going down this path. Certain shades of yellow also run the risk of making your brand look cheap so ensure you use the right shades and use them in a balanced way. The brand Okada Books makes use of yellow which attracts cheerful book lovers.
When designing your visual identity and brand logo, you must always ensure you consider the range of colours and their meanings and pick the ones that align the best with your brand positioning and the audience you wish to attract.