Branding: Why Colours Matter and How to Pick the Right Palette for Your Business
This branding mini-series will help you understand the fundamental elements needed for creating a strong visual brand, along with the most up to date advice and tips for getting it right for your business. This week, it’s all about colour.
When it comes to establishing your brand’s visual identity, the power of colour can’t be overestimated. Colour has a deep psychological impact on the human mind, communicating tone and affecting mood. There’s a reason why big businesses invest a lot of time into researching the right colours for their brand.
In this article, we’ll explore the impact that colour can have and give you advice on how to choose the right colour palette for your business.
A Brief Introduction to Colour Psychology
Our emotions are powerful forces that drive most of our decisions, whether we like it or not.!
As a brand, it’s important that you create a strong emotional connection to your audience, and colours are one of the most impactful ways to do this. They help you influence how people perceive your business, and in a crowded marketplace, this couldn’t be more important.
Different colours elicit different emotions and human responses.
Psychologists and artists alike call this colour theory. Although we all have individual colour preferences, studies show that the same colour affects most people in the same way, regardless of their geographic location or background. This response to colour is thought to have an evolutionary origin and is also linked to cultural associations – basically, it’s a complex and science backed subject!
Here are some common colour associations:
Red – Youthful, bold, exciting
Orange – Optimistic, confident, cheerful
Blue – Strong, dependable
Green – Fresh, healthy
Grey – Neutral, calm
Pink – Fun, outgoing
White – Simplicity, safety
It’s worth remembering that different shades of colours impact feelings too. And different colour combinations create different emotional responses.
Think about what you want your branding to do. It needs to draw attention to your business, but what is the message you want to communicate? Colour choice isn’t just about attention-grabbing, it’s the subtle messages that are being communicated.
This is why it’s so important to choose the right colour palettes when building a brand!
How colour impacts your business
Colours will either underline or undermine the message you want to send about your brand personality and this can have a big impact on your sales.
Boosts brand recognition
Colour is linked to memory and recognition. Nearly everyone would recognise the blue, red, yellow and green colours used in Google’s branding.
What mood do people need to be in to engage with your brand? The colour scheme you pick should convey this. Interestingly, some colours can have a physical effect as well as an emotional one. Red actually triggers the pituitary gland and speeds up the heart rate, causing the person seeing it to breathe more rapidly. . McDonald’s famously uses a red and yellow colour scheme because red incites feelings of excitement, while the yellow conveys happiness.
One example of a brand that has made a big impact with colour is Monzo. The bank has a bright, bold pink colour scheme which differentiates them from other more traditional banks. It’s clear to their target audience that they represent something different and new.
A strong set of branding colours that are consistently used across all of your assets, can give your audience an insight into the personality of your business.
How to pick a colour palette for your brand
Choosing a colour palette takes time, research and testing. Whether you want to use a single colour, a combination of colours or have an accent colour running through your branding, there’s lots to think about. Here are a series of questions that you can ask yourself and use as a basis for more research.
- Who is your audience and what are their cultural anchors?
- What colours represent your business values and can they be used to differentiate your business from the competition?
- Where will your branding be seen? The colours will need to work on everything from your logo and business cards to your social media and any packaging you might have.
Tips from one of our designers:
- Do you want to stand out or slot in?
- Map out a competitive landscape, you can see what brands are using what colours – do you want to stand out or use the dominant colour of the category to reassure the audience.
- Where will your brand be seen most?
- If a brand is digital first, then you might expect it to use a more vibrant colour form than a more traditional RGB palette. But if a brand is seen on packaging or in print it’ll most certainly need to be CMYK or use a Pantone colour scheme to ensure it’s reproduced consistently everywhere.
- Use discipline
- There might be many colours in your brand’s palette, but one colour will take the lead, while the rest are there to complement and support. Make it easy for the audience to spot your brand, no matter where they see it.
- Choosing a colour that represents something and has a deeper meaning or connection to the brand can only be a good thing, building a more consistent and personal identity.
If you’d like help harnessing the power of colour to boost your brand, get in touch!