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  • Writer's picturePanacea Lim

Brand Colours: Color Psychology

Colour plays an important role in how your brand is perceived. Whether you’re a fashion brand trying to connect to a youthful audience or a medical supplies store trying to strengthen customer trust, you can study colour meanings to help you better attract and connect to your ideal customer. Colour psychology can be used to help build a strong, relatable brand. In this article, we’ll explain what colour psychology is and educate you on the colour meanings for the most popular colours used.

What is Colour Psychology?

Colour psychology is the study of colours in relation to human behavior. It aims to determine how colour affects our day to day decisions such as the items we buy. Does the colour of a dress compel us into purchase? Do the colours of a package make us choose one brand over another? Does the colour of an icon make us more likely to click on it? The short answer is yes. But the why part is a bit more complicated. Colour meanings can have an impact on why we prefer certain colours over others. The same colour can also have different meanings that are dependent on our upbringing, gender, location, values, and a variety of other factors.

List of Colour Meanings

Red Colour Psychology

Marketing colours like red can capture attention. The red colour meaning is associated with excitement, passion, danger, energy, and action. You might’ve noticed that some brands use red for ‘order now’ buttons or for their packaging as a way to stand out on the shelf. In colour psychology, red is the most intense colour. And thus, can provoke the strongest emotions. Red can also trigger danger so you want to use the colour sparingly. If you add the colour red to your website, save it for the call to action or sale icons if it’ll contrast well with your store design.

Red is the iconic colour used for brands like Coca Cola and YouTube. The colour red tends to encourage appetite hence why brands like Coca Cola use it often in their branding. They also use words like happiness in their branding so they use the colour red to build excitement. YouTube likely uses the colour red due to the excitement of watching videos online. Notice how the red part of their logo is the play button which can help compel someone into action. It encourages you to want to press play on their videos.

Orange Colour Psychology

In colour psychology, orange represents creativity, adventure, enthusiasm, success, and balance. The colour orange adds a bit of fun to any picture, website, or marketing material it’s on. Despite it’s attracting colour, it’s not as commanding as the colour red. Many marketers still use the colour for call to actions or areas of a website that they want to draw the eye too.

Orange’s colour meaning shines through in logos like Nickelodeon and The Home Depot. Nickelodeon is a children’s channel and so the logo accurately represents the creativity and enthusiasm that a children’s show would need through their playful orange colour. The Home Depot sells products that you can use for your home. Many Do it Yourselfers (DIY) head to Home Depot to buy products to renovate their home or make adjustments. The orange logo here also represents creativity.

Yellow Colour Psychology

In colour psychology, the colour meaning for yellow revolves around sunshine. It evokes feelings of happiness, positivity, optimism, and summer but also of deceit and warning. Some brands choose to use a cheerful yellow colour as the background or border for their website design. You can also choose to use yellow for your ‘free shipping’ bar at the top of your website if it matches the rest of your website’s design. A little touch of yellow can help your website visitors associate your store with something positive.

The colour yellow is used by brands such as Ferrari and Ikea. Many people dream of driving a Ferrari. The luxury brand is associated with this feeling of happiness, summer and a carefree lifestyle. The Ikea brand also uses the colour yellowing in their branding. What does buying furniture have to do with happiness? Well, let’s look at who’s likely buying those products. Many people who’ve just bought their first home or are moving out for the first time, will head to Ikea to buy products to furnish their home. This milestone is usually filled with happiness and optimism for the new change making yellow a great colour to associate with the brand.

Pink Colour Psychology

Pink is a popular colour for brands that primarily serve a female audience. In colour psychology, pink’s colour meaning revolves around femininity, playfulness, immaturity and unconditional love. Some brands have chosen to use the colour pink for the product packaging especially for girl’s toys. Whereas other brands highlight the pink colour in their logo, website design, or to highlight key messages.

Since the colour meaning for pink includes femininity, it’s no surprise that brands like Victoria’s Secret and Barbie use the colour so heavily. Victoria’s Secret even named one of their brands Pink. On their website they use a combination of pink and black to highlight key marketing details. Their logo and certain marketing messages also uses the colour pink. On Barbie’s website, CTA’s are in a bright pink colour. Their top navigation and drop down menu also subtly use the colour. And of course, their product packaging and logo reinforce the feminine pink colour in their branding.

Green Colour Psychology

In colour psychology, green is highly connected to nature and money. Growth, fertility, health, and generosity are some of the positive colour meanings for the colour. The colour meaning for green also carries some negative associations such as envy. If you’re in the health or fitness niche, you might choose to add more green to your online store. For example, your homepage banner image or logo might include a green background.

The use of green is made popular by brands such as John Deere and Roots. John Deere’s entire brand revolves around nature. Their product line centers around landscaping, agriculture, lawn care equipment and more. The colour green is so ingrained into their branding that even their equipment is the same shade of green as their logo. That way, when someone sees that product, they’ll immediately know it’s a John Deere. Roots is a fashion retailer. However, when browsing their banner images and marketing materials, you’ll often find their models in natural outdoor settings. The green logo blends well with their nature imagery helps them attract outdoor enthusiasts as their target market. So even if your products don’t necessarily tie to a niche, you can use colour to help you attract a specific demographic.

Colour Psychology Blue

In colour psychology, blue’s colour meaning ties closely to the sea and the sky. Stability, harmony, peace, calm and trust are just some of the feelings your customer may feel about your brand when you integrate the colour blue into your branding. Conversely, blue can also carry some negative colour meanings such as depression and can bring about a sense of coldness. Blue can be used in your website’s logo or on your website’s top navigation. Some retailers add their guarantee, trust certification or free shipping icons in a blue colour to strengthen the trust aspect the colour is known for.

Tech brands like Facebook, Twitter and Skype often use blue in their marketing. But retailers like Walmart and Oral B also use the colour. The blue in the Walmart logo can help position the brand as trustworthy, reliable, and relaxing. After all, Walmart is a place where you can buy groceries and do shopping all in one convenient location. Oral B is a dental health brand that sells toothbrushes. Healthcare niches, like Oral B, typically use blue in their branding to help people associate the brand with a quality, reliable and safe product.

Purple Colour Psychology

In colour psychology, purple is a royal colour. The colour meaning for purple is connected to power, nobility, luxury, wisdom, and spirituality. But avoid using the colour too much as it can cause feelings of frustration. Some perceive its overuse as arrogant. You can add hints of purple to your website’s design such as on your free shipping bar, your logo, and as an accent colour in your graphics.

Purple is a colour brands like Hallmark and Yahoo use. When browsing both websites, you’ll notice that purple is an accent colour. On Hallmark, the logo and the top navigation are purple but the rest of the website uses a variety of other colours. On Yahoo, the logo, top navigation words, and Yahoo icons like Mail use the colour purple.

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