Pay attention to the colors around you. How does being in a red room make you feel? What about being surrounded by blues? Does a bright yellow sign grab your attention better than a white one?
Color is one of the most impactful and essential tools a marketer can use. Studies show that different colors can trigger different psychological and emotional responses. There is even a theory based on this reaction called Color Psychology. The clever use of color can have a significant impact on brand perception and can even drive customer actions.
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Why Color Matters and How to Use It
A brand or organization makes so many color choices. Whether in selecting logo designs, website layouts, marketing ads, shareable infographics, physical signs, store or building designs, the colors chosen by a company will impact its audience. Color Psychology researches that effect.
Different hues and tones have been found to alter human behavior. Selecting the right colors to back up your brand’s marketing and performance goals is very important.
Get to Know the Basics of Color Psychology
Blue is the most popular color in the world. It is found to rank higher with men than women, however, so it may not be the best choice for brands catering primarily to women.
Blue is calming and associated with strength, wisdom, security, and trust. On the negative side, blue is not a color often found in natural food sources and can suppress appetites. It also has connotations of sadness and cold.
Red is a color often used for call-to-action buttons and signs announcing sales, as it indicates a sense of urgency. “Act now!” Red can also create a physical sensation of hunger in a viewer and is frequently used by food brands, especially fast food establishments.
Red is associated with power, excitement, energy, and passion. On the negative side, red can signify anger and aggression.
Green is the color of life and nature. Green hues call to mind treelines, fresh grass, and rolling fields. Companies that go with green branding can be associated with health, high-quality, and all-natural options.
Green brings up feelings of relaxation and freshness and can also be associated with wealth, as it is the color of American money. On the negative side, green may represent old-fashioned ideals and stagnation.
Purple has, throughout Western history, been the color of royalty. From the Romans to Queen Elizabeth, purple was the color of choice to represent superiority. Today purple can be used to showcase superior products, services, and experiences.
Purple brings up associations with wealth, wisdom, and decadence. Purple is typically seen as a more feminine color, however, so it’s probably not ideal for pushing an especially-for-men product. On the negative side, purple can also represent moodiness and excess indulgence.
What better way to brighten, warm, and add happiness to a brand than with yellow? Yellow is the color of the famous smiley face icon, sunshine, and daisies. Yellow can represent positivity and youth.
Yellow creates feelings of optimism, warmth, and friendliness. On the negative side, yellow can be associated with fear and anxiety.
Another bright choice is orange. Orange is fun, young, exciting, and associated with activity and sunshine. Orange is a popular choice for outdoorsy and sports brands and brands catering to children. This is because it conveys a sense of “get-up-and-go.”
Orange can create warm feelings, as well as feelings of creativity, confidence, and courage. On the negative side, it can be associated with warning, frustration, or immaturity.
The most common association with pink is femininity. While not as popular as it once was, pink is still a popular color for brands catering to girls and young women.
Pink is youthful and can be quirky, unique, and imaginative. On the negative side, too much pink can be overwhelming or childish.
Black is a staple color found everywhere. As a statement color, black is associated primarily with luxury brands. Black can give off a powerful, refined look.
Black is associated with power, elegance, and sophistication. On the negative side, black can seem cold, oppressive, or unhealthy.
When looking for clean and simple, many brands turn to white. White can be seen as modern and sophisticated. Many luxury brands associate themselves with pristine white hues.
White gives off a sense of purity, innocence, wealth, and simplicity. On the negative, white can seem bland, sterile, and empty.
Choose the Desired Emotion
When selecting colors for a brand, consider how the brand is positioned and the emotions you wish to evoke. Is this a luxury brand? A bargain company? Do you want viewers to feel peaceful and calm? Or motivated to act? Where do you plan to use the color choices? Before selecting, examine the company messaging, services, products, and marketing goals. It also helps to look at other brands’ colors within the same or similar industries.
Test with Audiences
Color Psychology is not an exact science. Once your brand has made color selections, test the choices with target audiences. Try running A/B tests with different options, and see if the resulting reactions are what you expected them to be. Create sample logos, share infographics with varying profiles of color, put websites up side by side, and let test subjects choose. Ask your audience to indicate how each color or combination made them feel. Test and test again for the best results.
Marketers have a lot of decisions to make when establishing consistent branding for a company or organization. Color selection, you’ll now understand, is about much more than what looks best on a sign or a website. Learning about Color Psychology could be very helpful in reaching your brand’s marketing and performance goals.