How Colour Psychology Impacts Your Branding And Marketing

What does the choice of a colour impact? Turns out a lot. When it comes to marketing, colour psychology plays a big role. Colours 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 colours 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 colour. And 80% said that colour increased brand recognition.

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

So let’s get started.

Colour Psychology In Marketing

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

In your marketing, the colours 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 Colours Are Better Than Others

Some colour 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 colours 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 where 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.

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 Colour Psychology 

There are certain “universal values” associated with different colours (e.g. 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 colours 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 colours 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 colour psychology, because simply choosing a certain colour doesn’t make your product or service something it isn’t.

How Different Colours 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 colour, 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 flipside, 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 colour 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 colour 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 colour 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 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 favoured 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.

Colour Variations And Colour Psychology

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

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

And they can be combined to create colour 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 focus 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 colour can be when we consider logos and branding. Most companies will pick a colour 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 colours to protect their brand from being diluted by competitors in the same market.

Image from Conversioner.com

Using Colour Schemes In Your Designs

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

Colour schemes or colour harmonies are different colour 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 Colour Schemes:

Monochromatic colour schemes have different shades, tones and tints of the same pure colour/hue. Combining different elements of one colour 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 Colour Schemes:

Complementary colour schemes include two colours that are directly opposite on a colour 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 colour schemes can really make things pop as the two colour are direct opposites.

Split Complementary Colour Schemes:

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

Analogous Colour Schemes:

Analogous colour schemes combine colours that are beside each other on the colour 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 colour.

Triadic Colour Schemes:

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

Kimp Tip: No matter the colour 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 Colours For Your Brand

Colour is undeniably an important element in developing your brand identity. And as you develop your brand, you could even say the colours 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.