Color Psychology In Marketing: How It Impacts Your Branding

What does the choice of a color impact? Turns out a lot. When it comes to color psychology in marketing, there are many things to consider. Colors have the power to affect the way customers view a brand. And not just that, they can even impact the decisions customers make about a brand. The right combination of colors is actually powerful enough to compel a customer to make a purchase. 

According to Kissmetrics, 85% of shoppers bought a certain product because of the color. And 80% said that color increased brand recognition.

This is why color psychology in marketing matters so much. It’s not so much about good colors, or bad colors. It’s about choosing the right colors. And by the end of this post, our goal is to help you pick the right combination to reflect the values of your brand.

Color psychology in marketing

We put great efforts into bringing color into our lives. We go through all this trouble because the colors around us impact our experiences deeply. When it comes to color psychology, even the different shades of a color have distinct meanings. 

In your marketing, the colors you choose send emotional cues to your target audience, they make your brand stand out and they represent your brand’s personality. They help you make certain pieces of information stand out, and guide your audience to interpreting your brand in the ways that you want.

Why Some Colors Are Better Than Others

Some color combinations are more or less accessible, and can impact how easily your branding can be interpreted, or your content can be read.

But many of the associations that we make to different colors are subjective. They’re informed by the influences we grow up around and are impacted by things like our upbringing, genders, where we live, and values. This is why knowing your customer personas comes in handy. Just like other aspects of your marketing, you need to know who you’re marketing to first. Then you can create content that connects to their values and resonates with them.

If you need a hand with this, Xtensio helps you create 5 personas for free within their platform, and Hubspot offers a tool called “Make My Persona“.

Context and color psychology in marketing

There are certain “universal values” associated with different colors. For instance, green means harmony and refreshment, while orange means movement and happiness. But context is also important. What you sell also has certain values associated with it.

So you need to choose colors for your branding and marketing that are appropriate for what you’re selling. An interesting Stanford study suggests that there are 5 dimensions of brand personality. They are sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. Get to know what your product or service is associated with, and you’ll be able to choose the right colors to reinforce this.

Of course, you’ll need to validate your choices. This is where market research and A/B testing can help you with determining what’s appropriate within your niche, represents your brand’s personality, and connects to your ideal customer personas.

Context is important when it comes to color psychology in marketing. Because simply choosing a certain color doesn’t make your product or service something that it isn’t.

How different colors are commonly perceived

Yellow

Yellow is youthful, energetic, and optimistic. It’s used in food packaging as it entices hunger. Yellow is an attention-grabbing color, that prompts decision-making. For these reasons, it can be a great choice for products in saturated markets.

Red

Red signifies energy, passion, and boldness. It creates feelings of urgency and appeals to impulse shoppers, which is why we often see it in promotions for sales. Red encourages appetite and stimulates the body, so it’s used in the food and beverage industry often. On the flip side, some shades of red can represent danger, so they should be balanced with text and/or elements that have positive connotations.

Orange

Orange represents a combination of the associations that we see with red and yellow. Both aggression and excitement are tied to the color orange. As are friendly, cheerful, and confident emotions. It’s thought to bring about a fun, warm, and enthusiastic vibe that appeals to impulse shoppers.

Blue

Blue is a color associated with trust and security. Many conservative brands prefer it for this reason.  It’s also thought to represent dependability and strength, effectiveness, and reliability. Blue is also a color associated with peace and tranquility and has been found to be universally liked across genders.

Green

Green is associated with wealth and being cost-effective (e.g. the Mint app). It also brings out feelings of peace and relaxation, adventure, playfulness, and vitality. Brands with environmental priorities or with organic products prefer it for its obvious ties to nature. Lighter tones of green are thought to be associated with freshness and health. Darker tones, meanwhile, are thought to be tied to luxury and wealth.

White

White is thought to symbolize purity and innocence as well as cleanliness. It’s favored by tech companies for conveying efficiency and simplicity.

Brown

Brown is associated with ruggedness and security. It’s thought to be natural, wholesome, and to symbolize comfort and earthiness.

Color variations & color psychology in marketing

Colors don’t just come in single options. Or with singular meanings.

There are pure colors, tints (when you add white to a pure color), shades (when black is added to a pure color), and tones (when grey is added).

And they can be combined to create color schemes that tell your brand story in a consistent way. In individual marketing pieces, they can also help you create contrasts so that your audience focuses on the right things. A lack of contrast, meanwhile can strain the eyes and create confusion about where to focus.

We can see how powerful the use of color can be when we consider logos and branding. Most companies will pick a color scheme and stick to religiously, until their customers associate them with it. And once that connection is made, they double down even more so. Some companies are even known to have trademarked a set of colors to protect their brand from being diluted by competitors in the same market.

Image from Conversioner.com

Using color schemes in your designs

Now, we’ve gone through an overview of color psychology in marketing. And taken a look at the different colours you can choose from. So let’s take a look at colour schemes. This is the especially fun part – when you start trying out different combinations in your designs.

Color schemes or color harmonies are different color combinations that are aesthetically pleasing. And they can be created through variations in tone and shade. So there’s a ton of options you can try out.

Monochromatic color schemes:

Monochromatic color schemes have different shades, tones, and tints of the same pure color/hue. Combining different elements of one color can create a sleek minimalistic look. Monochromatic designs also have really interesting compositions because of how light and dark areas can be created within them.

Complementary color schemes:

Complementary color schemes include two colors that are directly opposite on a color wheel. There’s usually one warm color and one cool color. And they’ll be used according to the 80/20 rule so that one is dominant, and the other an accent. Complementary color schemes can really make things pop as the two color are direct opposites.

Split complementary color schemes:

This combination includes one base color, and two colors that are adjacent to the base color’s opposite. This scheme is visually engaging, without creating as much tension between the colors as complementary color schemes do.

Analogous color schemes:

Analogous color schemes combine colors that are beside each other on the color wheel. Because of this, designs with an analogous scheme aren’t jarring. Instead, they’re more subtle, calming, and pleasing. This is helpful for designs that need to convey information, and don’t include a call to action. If you do need an element to stand out though, you may need to add in a complementary color.

Triadic color schemes:

Triadic color schemes combine 3 colors that are equally distant from each other on a color wheel. There are either 2 warm colors and 1 cool color, or 2 cool colors and 1 warm color. By making one of the colors dominant, and using the other two as accents, it’s possible to highlight the information you want to.

Kimp Tip: No matter the color schemes you use in your marketing, you should always include some black and white to make sure that your designs are balanced.

Finding the right colors for your brand

Color psychology in marketing is an important element in developing your brand identity. And as you develop your brand, you could even say the colors you choose become your brand. Since people will start to associate you with them. 

So take your time, do your research, and test, test, test. It’ll be more than worth your effort when your branding and marketing hit home with your customers.