Your company website and logo is saying more to your customers than you think. According to color theory, the reds, blues, and yellows that you’ve chosen to represent your brand, are more than simple visuals. Colors have the ability to embody emotion, spark interest, and provoke engagement. Find the right colors to use and you can align your marketing strategy to the message you want customers to receive when they connect with your brand.
The Color Theory: What Colors Have to Say
Individually, every color symbolizes something. These different meanings, when applied to logos, websites, and marketing campaigns, have visual influence over your users, their engagement, and overall brand perception. According to past psychological studies, color has a whopping 85% effect on customer purchasing. Once you understand what colors mean, you can strategically incorporate the right color choices to your brand’s design and portray a personality that’s attractive to your target audiences.
Red is an emotionally intense color and is often used to indicate urgency and danger. Because of how bold and visible the color is, red can be used to alert people with warning signs or calls to action. In advertising, you'll see 'Buy Now' or 'Click Here' buttons.
In general, red is used to convey messages of love, care, passion, warmth, and intensity. Coca-Cola is a brand that has taken advantage of the color's ability to stir up these types of emotions with their iconic Coca-Cola can. Their marketing and advertising is filled with displays of friendship, sharing, and community.
Another brand that uses red as a staple is Target. In addition to messages of love and care, the company uses the color to communicate urgency. Their brand focuses on making customers feel like they can get what they need quickly and at a great price.
Your brand's messaging and content should lead the way on setting a proper tone for you audience, and adding the right splash of color will keep it memorable.
Yellow is an interesting color because it brings about different types of emotions depending on the context of your message. Associated with generosity, happiness and optimism, yellow “is the brightest color of the visible spectrum, and is the most noticeable of all colors by the human eye”.
Because of how the color stands out, yellow used on emergency vehicles and construction signs. Similarly to red, people experience an increase heart rate when they look at the color. Light the bright son, it's a color that makes people feel happy and warm.
People looking at yellow also experience an increased appetite. McDonald’s double yellow arches are recognizable globally. Their marketing capitalizes on the effects of the color, targeting these emotions in their customers. In general, yellow is one of the most popular colors in the food industry and dominates branding for fast food companies.
Orange is a combination of yellow and red. Naturally then, it's not a surprise that orange exudes a mix the emotions associated with both colors. By putting together the intensity and urgency of red and warmth and happiness of yellow, the result is joy, enthusiasm, friendliness, fun, creativity.
Appropriately, Nickelodeon, the number one brand for kids entertainment, uses orange as their primary color. Young adults and kids are left with an uplifting feeling when they see the color and become more enthusiastic and creative
HubSpot is another company strongly associate with orange. The orange color displayed throughout their marketing and advertising mirrors the youthful and upbeat culture of their company. As a result, marketing and sales companies view their products with refreshed eyes toward their creative energy and perspective.
Green symbolizes growth, harmony, health, and balance. Marketers often use green if they want to be associated with environmental awareness, nature, or sustainability. Since green sits across the color spectrum from red, the color opposes many of the feelings that red exudes. Instead of danger, green represents safety. Red provokes feelings of urgency, while green promotes balance.
Whole Foods is the perfect representation of a company that uses the green in their company branding to showcase that they are a company that focuses on natural, health related products. The company is a retail market that provides organic food and home goods. Target customers looking at their green logo will quickly be able to see and derive the overall message of their brand.
Companies like Starbucks will also incorporate green into their marketing to let their customers know that they support eco-friendly ideas and products. The large coffee corporation places a heavy emphasis on social impact and believes in serving the community and creating opportunities. The green in their logo is fitting to this.
Blue lives on the opposite spectrum of red, orange, and yellow. It's considered a cool or cold tone, opposing the emotional intensity, urgency, and passion of warmer colors. Blue conveys feeling of calmness and consciousness and is associated with trust, loyalty, and security.
Companies within the tech industry like Hewlett Packard, Samsung, and Intel often use blue throughout their branding so that their customers will have feelings of confidence and trust toward their products. Tech companies find the use of blue to be effective for their marketing because it helps to humanize their products and instill loyalty in their customers.
Social media companies like Facebook and Twitter have also capitalized on the sense of stability and trust that blue draws out of their customers. The success of these organizations depends on the degree to which they're able to create a sense of community. The color blue helps with this by providing feelings of tranquility, loyalty, security, and faith.
Black is a color that is usually associated with mystery and the unknown. This can sometimes leave negative connotations when used, but in general, black denotes strength and authority. It is considered to be a very formal, elegant, and prestigious color. When paired with bright colors, the use of black results in a powerful color scheme, immediately attracting attention.
The Walt Disney Company is a company that has fully captured the mysticism of the color black with their logo. The well-known entertainment enterprise thrives on the idea of bringing magic to life. By using black, Disney is able to highlight the power of magic and the idea that anything is possible.
Louis Vuitton uses black to emphasize the elegance and prestige that their brand embodies. The luxury retail company is well known for their LV monogram and is seen internationally as a valuable fashion brand. By using black in their marketing, Louis Vuitton showcases the strength of their brand and attracts attention to the power behind their prestige.
Purple is the medium between red and blue, combining stability with energy, and relaxation with intensity. This balance is the reason that purple is often used to convey power, nobility, luxury, wisdom and ambition. Purple has the shortest frequency of wavelengths visible to human eye and appears to "pop" less, so it is not used for branding as often as the other primary colors. When associated with the correct complementary colors though, it can convey very powerful messages.
Many academic institutions like NYU use purple in their branding as a representation of the wisdom and knowledge that their organizations can offer to their students. People interacting with these educational facilities can gain a sense of ambition and the power when due to the use of purple in their marketing and branding.
White is the combination in equal parts of all the colors of the spectrum, meaning that it contains all the elements of every color, positive and negative, in a perfectly balanced way. It carries the strongest connotation with equality, fairness and neutrality. For this reason, white is often associated with purity, innocence, and wholeness. Brides and doctors wear white to symbolize exactly this.
Using white as a stand-alone color for your marketing is nearly impossible, a white logo on a white background cannot be seen unless paired with a color. This is where your color combination choice will dictate the vibe and message of your branding. Although white is very rarely connected with negative connotations, used in excess can make your branding be perceived as stale and empty and cause feelings of sterility and isolation.
If used correctly, white can be used as a strong representation for innovation. Apple is a company that's really taken hold of the what white represents and has fully enveloped cleanliness and creativity with throughout their branding, marketing, and advertising. The company has used white to emphasize the sleekness in the packaging of their products and continue to claim and innovative presence in the tech industry.
Mixing Up the Perfect Batch of Colors for Your Brand
The number of colors you have to choose from are endless. Colors can be combined to create new ones. They can also be mixed with white, black, and gray to create different tints, shades and tones, respectively. Warm colors, like red, orange, and yellow, exude energy. Cold colors, like green, blue, and purple, are more calming. ** (country to country)
**Now that you have a few colors in mind, consider how you can amplify your message by combining them. To highlight standout items with your page design, choose complementary (or opposing) colors. For a more analogous look, choose colors that are close to each other on the color wheel. If you’re looking for something more vibrant, a triadic combination offers a nice balance amongst three contrasting colors.
How to Make Your Brand Speak with Color
From a marketing perspective, not only do the meanings of your colors matter, but also the strategy behind how you use them. Align your brand colors to your consumer’s preferences. Here are some way you can factor color choice into your campaign strategy:
Select for Conversion. Bright primary and secondary colors like red, green, orange, and yellow are have higher conversion rates. Darker colors tend to convert less.
Consider the Isolation Effect. Colors that stand out have a higher chances of being remembered. Fill your headline, menu item, or CTA with a bold color, surrounded by base colors, like black and white.
Cater to your buyer persona. Focus on the preferences of your target audience. Men are more drawn to bold colors, while women prefer softer tones. Consider age, religion, nationality, regional holidays.
Explore different perspectives. The meaning of a color may vary from culture to culture. Depending on the experiences of your target audience, you may be sending a different message with the same color.
Color has a direct impact on the efficiency of your brand goals. Building a strategic design campaign for your company can lead to an increase in conversion and continuous growth of your business.