Brand Colors: 6 Secrets To Setting The Right Mood For Your Brand
Human beings are naturally drawn to visual experiences. Whether it is recalling people or brands, visual cues are always involved. While these cues are in the form of faces for people, they can be logos or colors while recalling brands. That’s why brand colors are cornerstone assets in branding.
Colors are undoubtedly the most visually stimulating element in any branding kit. No wonder brands go to the extent of trademarking colors or even introducing new ones in color-matching systems like Pantone. All these are steps that brands take to preserve their brand identity. That’s how important colors are in branding.
Knowing that brand colors mean so much to your business and your branding success can make the decision a bit overwhelming. If that’s the case, look no further. We’ll be talking all about brand colors in this blog. Stay tuned for some easy tips on choosing the best colors for your brand as well.
- Why are brand colors critical in building a brand image?
- Finalizing your brand colors – 6 tips you need to hear
- Create consistent aesthetics incorporating your brand colors with Kimp
Why are brand colors critical in building a brand image?
From establishing your brand identity to helping people easily remember and recognize your brand, brand colors have several roles to play. We’ll list down a few of them here:
About 90% of first impressions of a brand depend on colors alone.
Your brand colors, when used consistently, become unique representatives of your brand. Using them in your ads and branding materials from day one helps establish a strong connection between your brand and the colors.
Colors are perceived differently based on the context, cultural norms in a particular region, and other aspects. So, when you choose the right colors for your brand, you are introducing your brand to your audience from the right viewpoint.
Recognition and recall
We’re guessing the signature bright pink in the above packaging was enough to help you recognize Baskin Robbins before even reading the brand name. See what brand colors can do?
Colors are said to help strengthen brand recognition by about 80%. Just like helping in building awareness, colors can also help customers recognize and recall a brand accurately. This works particularly when you choose a distinct color for your brand and stick with it.
Does that sound hard to believe? We’ll give you an example. Take a look at the below image.
Do you think of Tiffany & Co. even though the brand name is not mentioned on the box?
Or, here’s another exercise. Look around you and see if any particular color reminds you of any of your favorite brands. If you can think of a brand name just by looking at a color it means that the brand has effectively built its recognition through its brand colors.
Keeping up with the growing competition is one of the biggest challenges for most brands. Brands have to consistently make an effort to retain their position in a crowded marketplace. And brand colors can be of great help in this aspect.
As you walk through a supermarket aisle where the beverages are, how many times have you accurately reached for a blue soda can from the lot knowing that it’s Pepsi without even reading the label? Several times, perhaps! That kind of differentiation is possible only with strong brand color choices.
Since colors are easy reminders of a brand, they also turn out to be memorable assets that capture the brand’s identity. Consequently, most brands that rebrand make the switch by altering their logo design or tagline, or other brand assets but do not change the brand colors too much.
If you look at some of the most popular and successful rebranding campaigns, most of them retained their colors when the logo design changed. For example, Dunkin’ retained the signature orange and pink combination when it came up with a new logo in 2019.
Kimp Tip: One of the biggest fears when it comes to rebranding is that existing customers might not recognize the brand’s new look. Since colors are some of the most memorable entities in a logo design. So, retaining them is a good way to ensure that your brand stays recognizable. That’s exactly what Dunkin’ did in its 2019 rebranding.
Rebranding campaigns can be a lot of work. And you need to prepare for a sudden spike in your design workload in order to get the word out. A Kimp subscription can be an easy way to tackle that!
Have you noticed how you naturally favor specific colors in specific categories? For example, when it comes to choosing a car, some always go for black.
Go through your bag collection and see if most of your bags are of a particular color. These are not just about ‘favorite’ colors but about ‘preferred’ colors in different categories. That’s proof that customers subconsciously connect with colors over time.
Similarly, brand colors help build an emotional connection between a brand and its consumers.
Nearly 46% of consumers prefer buying from brands they are familiar with. These are brands that have made an emotional connection with the consumers. Brand colors have a strong role to play in that.
Having laid down a few facts that point toward the significance of colors in branding, let’s now get to the topic of how to choose the right brand colors. Because that’s where the confusion begins for most brands.
Finalizing your brand colors – 6 tips you need to hear
1. Pay attention to your audience
The best kind of brand colors takes two main things into consideration – the brand personality and the target audience personality. Let’s talk about the latter first.
Your brand colors are going to have a critical place in your brand’s logo design. And they consistently appear on your marketing graphics as well. All these graphics are meant to attract the attention of the right audience and carry your message forward. Do you think they will all work if the color does not appeal to your audience? Not at all! That’s why you should understand your audience when you choose brand colors.
You can make an audience-focused decision on your brand colors by taking into consideration two aspects – color psychology and color perception based on cultural norms.
- Understand color psychology – Color psychology talks about colors and their moods. For example, yellow and other warm colors make you happy or energetic, and green and blue can appear soothing.
- Understand cultural differences – Cultural norms affect the way certain colors are perceived in specific regions. For example, red is seen as an exciting color, in general. But in China, red is seen as a symbol of fortune. It’s an auspicious color that appears in various traditional Chinese celebrations as well.
Color psychology and cultural relevance are both important to understand how your customers will perceive your brand colors and therefore they influence the opinions they will form about your brand as well.
Happy colors and a vibrant overall theme resonates well with brands targeting a young audience. The cheerful color palette in the below logo perfectly resonates with the idea that the target audience consists of kids.
2. Take your industry into consideration
Industry norms are easy cues for further shortlisting your brand color options. Some colors have different interpretations in different industries.
For example, pink in a healthcare brand’s logo can possibly represent cancer-related care. However, in the food and beverage segment, pink can indicate desserts.
Besides, in every industry, there are some colors that are commonly used and some that are avoided most of the time.
Take the healthcare sector for example. Blue is a very common color in this industry. In fact, about 80% of brands in the healthcare sector include blue and white as the primary colors in their logos. On the other hand, some colors like brown and black are not used often.
Ensure that the colors you choose do not appear irrelevant to your industry. Misleading brand colors cause more harm than good.
Kimp Tip: When you take industry standards into consideration, sometimes you are left with very few options in brand colors. You can still create a unique identity by using a fully customized logo that incorporates custom fonts or an illustration that captures your brand personality.
Taking all these factors into account, it is quite helpful if your designer can provide a few different versions of logo designs to choose from. That becomes particularly easy with unlimited design subscriptions like Kimp.
3. Bear your brand personality in mind
Another crucial cue when it comes to finalizing your brand colors is your brand personality. It is about what makes your brand special – your brand values.
For example, most fast-food brand logos have red or yellow, or both as the main colors. It’s because these are colors known to inculcate a sense of urgency and to make people hungry. But the Subway logo uses a combination of green and yellow. The yellow connects the brand to the fast-food segment but the green represents the fresh and healthy ingredients the brand prioritizes.
Kimp Tip: For people to understand and identify with your brand’s personality, your brand colors alone will not be enough. It is about how you use these colors in your design. The kind of roles these colors play in your marketing graphics ensure that they carry the right message. The fonts and imagery you use in your logo complement the effect of your brand colors and together reflect your brand personality.
Take a look at the below logos. Both are in blue. And yet you can instantly distinguish between the approachable and casual mood of the first one and the authoritative and traditional style of the second one. The chosen fonts and symbols in the logo designs help achieve this differentiation in personality.
4. Too many colors spoil the effect
All of these influencers help you shortlist all the color options you can include in your branding. But how many colors do you really need? There’s no magic number that makes these brand colors work as effective advocates of your brand.
As a rule of thumb, stick to 1 or 2 primary colors and 4-5 secondary colors. 95% of the top brands in the world only use 1 or 2 colors in their logo. And these are the primary brand colors integrated into their branding designs.
Your primary colors are the dominant ones, especially in branding designs like logos, business cards, and packaging designs. Your brand’s secondary colors are those that are used to complement your primary colors in marketing graphics, social media designs, and other places where you promote your brand and connect with your customers.
It’s good to have a limited color palette. Too many colors end up distracting the audience away from the core brand message.
Kimp Tip: Choosing colors is the first step but ensuring that these colors work well together is an even more critical decision. Because there might be several aesthetically appealing, brand-relevant, and audience-relevant colors for your brand. But not all of them might look good together. Therefore, factors like color harmonies can help you choose aesthetically appealing combinations.
5. Double-check color trademarks
Colors can be trademarked too. Some brands do this to preserve their visual identity and ensure that their competitors do not piggyback on the popularity of the color the brand creates.
Sometimes it’s individual colors, like Tiffany Blue and Cadbury Purple, and other times it is a combination of colors. For example, John Deere holds the sole right to use the combination of green and yellow in the farming equipment category.
Check for any such trademarks in your industry to avoid intellectual property violations. You do not want all the time and effort that you put into choosing brand colors to land your brand in trouble.
Moreover, even if there are no trademarks, it’s a good idea to avoid colors that are used as primary brand colors by your close competitors. You do not want your customers to be comparing your brand with another.
6. Consider all the applications of your brand colors
As you reflect on all the above ideas for choosing the right colors for your brand, it’s also important to consider contextual relevance. For this, consider the various applications of your brand colors to get a better perspective of how they would suit your brand.
Also, remember that your brand colors appear on digital designs as well as print designs. If you cannot get the chosen colors to reflect the same mood and personality on both digital and print platforms, you are losing the consistency of your designs.
For example, if the chosen colors look great on your logo but hamper the ambiance when used in your store aesthetics, the chosen colors are not fulfilling their purpose.
To avoid these setbacks, add the chosen colors to your brand guidelines and try them on a few simple mockups to get a better idea of how well they suit your brand.
Create consistent aesthetics incorporating your brand colors with Kimp
For fulfilling all your design tasks without a hassle, and to create mockups and multiple versions of your logo and other branding designs incorporating your brand colors, it helps if there is a designated design team handling all your designs rather than having different designs in different places. Moreover. It’s cost-effective if the design service also covers unlimited designs rather than billing based on the number of designs. Factoring in all these benefits, unlimited design subscriptions like Kimp can be a very practical choice for most small businesses.
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