You’re trying to design the logo for your brand or thinking about a colourway for your virtual and printed copy. How do you know what colours to pick? Can you just plump for your favourites or is there some science behind the way in which brands choose their colour schemes? Can you affect the way a consumer sees you JUST by using a particular colour?
Colours create feelings
There’s lots of research which says that colours have a huge effect on how people feel, and that these feelings can change how people behave as consumers. One such piece of research showed that, just by changing the colour of the call to action button, click throughs on a webpage increased 21%. Another research study showed that 90% of snap judgements about products are made on colour alone.
Human beings have known that decisions are affected by colours for thousands of years (fact: even the ancient Egyptians used colour symbolically!).
Brand colour psychology is the study of how human emotions around colours affect consumer perceptions about brands. Colour psychology can help give a framework for understanding how and why consumers interact with your brand in the way they do.
Nuances in colour
It’s not quite as simple as changing the buttons on your website and letting a magic colour get you sales (as that first study might have you believe).
Think about the connotations of red, for example. Red is used widely to represent danger – on STOP signs, warning triangles, traffic lights. Yet it’s also synonymous with love or lust – think about the branding of Valentine’s Day or the connotations of red lipstick. Our reaction to colour cannot be expressed in simple terms.
The feelings someone will infer from a colour are dependent on the object, its context and who is observing it. When you’re designing your brand colours, this gives you a fantastic opportunity: you can make sure that the colours of your brand identity create the emotions you want from the customers you are focused on. A 2006 study found that this idea of ‘perceived appropriateness’ is the crux of the relationship between colour and brand.
It’s all about your customers
In short, the answer to “what are the best colours for my brand?” from a colour psychology point of view is, “the ones that communicate the right message to your perfect audience.”
Knowing your customers – who they are, their demographics, what they think, why they choose to act in a particular way – will allow you to differentiate your brand design and identity to best appeal to your ideal customer.
Research has found that predicting how your perfect customer will react to your chosen colours for your brand is far more important than the colour itself.
I don’t have a degree in colour psychology – where do I start?
If you’re looking to create a brand logo, makeover your brand design or make standards for your brand identity, here are the five steps to help you on that journey:
Make sure your brand will always communicate the right message to your perfect audience.
If you’d like to talk more about your brand identity design, drop us a line.
I am a brand consultant and conceptual designer. I love using creativity to solve problems for our clients. In my spare time, I like jigsaws and probably a bit of a board game geek.