Brand Color Psychology: Why Colors Matter in Brand Marketing
Updated October 22, 2023
Color has psychological connections to human emotions, and this connection can influence marketing. Using the right colors in your marketing campaigns can trigger certain emotions for customers, leading them to make a purchase or learn more about your product. Understanding each color's associated emotions can help you develop a brand likely to differentiate itself in the market and react positively with your audience.
In this article, we discuss what brand color psychology is, explain why it's important, list its benefits in marketing, discuss the psychological meaning of different colors and provide a few tips for choosing a brand color.
What is brand color psychology?
Brand color psychology is the study of how colors affect the way current and prospective customers perceive a brand. Colors can contribute to people's emotions, as well as their buying behaviors or decisions.
The use of brand color psychology is a powerful tool in brand design. It provides a framework for understanding how and why individuals interact with brands, which can vary according to different characteristics, demographics and preferences. Most colors represent specific feelings, so it's best to choose brand colors that evoke the emotions you'd like customers to feel when they see your brand.
Why is brand color psychology important?
For many companies, brand color can have great significance in their marketing efforts. For example, some popular restaurants have familiar logos and colors that help customers easily associate delicious food with the colors included in the brand's logo. Here are a few reasons why brand color psychology is important:
Equips marketing teams: As marketing professionals use a variety of tools to craft a strategy, color psychology is one more tool to contribute to the branding of a company.
Contributes to reputation: As a brand grows in popularity, customers begin to associate the logo, colors included, with the product itself, which contributes to the ongoing construction of a brand's reputation.
Helps your brand stand out: Using the right colors in your marketing materials can catch your audience's attention, make them want to learn more and encourage them to review your other content.
Benefits of using brand color psychology in marketing
It's important to understand how brand color psychology works so you can attract your target audience, enhance their perception of your brand and convey a certain image or message through colors. Some benefits of using color psychology include:
Improved recognition: If you use specific colors to portray certain messages, your target audience may more easily recognize your brand's image or understand the messages you're aiming to convey. As customers recognize your brand more often, they may be more likely to purchase your products or goods.
Improved connection with customers: Certain colors can spark specific emotions from potential or current customers. You can use color schemes to make customers feel happy, nostalgic or excited, which could lead them to make a purchase.
Positive perception of the brand: The right color selection can change how positively customers feel about your brand. If the content is readable and visually appealing, it may also appear more professional.
Related: How To Find Your Target Audience
9 brand colors and their meanings
Each color can elicit certain emotions and behaviors in various audiences, according to the International Journal of Research in Social Sciences. Here are nine common brand colors and their meanings:
According to color psychology studies, blue is the most common favorite color among the world's population. This global preference and its environmental associations make blue non-threatening, conservative and traditional. On the other hand, it's among the least-appetizing colors due to being an indicator of spoilage. For example, weight-loss plans often suggest you eat food off a blue plate as you're liable to eat less.
Yellow is commonly used to depict fresh ideas and creative projects. It represents sunshine, which can evoke optimism or happiness. It's the most noticeable color, with its visibility associated with cheerfulness and warmth. Many brands use this color in the summer to promote a seasonal sale or product line. Some also use it to signify a warning, but it generally creates a positive feeling.
Purple signifies royalty, which typically connects it to luxury, power or wisdom. Most brands use it in moderation or as an accent color. Lighter shades evoke feminine or romantic feelings while darker shades can represent sadness and frustration. Some people may associate purple with the cosmos, space or time.
Related: How To Design a Logo in 12 Steps
Many companies use this color as a symbol of balance and neutrality. Consider using gray to complement other colors since it can seem dull on its own. You can use it for headers or for fonts as it appeals to a broad audience. Many people interpret this color as sophisticated, luxurious and powerful, so technology and automotive companies commonly use it.
Orange can represent success, creativity and enthusiasm. If you'd like to brighten up a graphic or portray a playful image, consider adding orange to it. You can also feature orange calls to action on your website as it sets an encouraging tone. Since you may see orange on leaves and pumpkins, many link it to the autumn season to promote fall sales or items.
Black can be a symbol of power. Since black is the absence of light, it seems ominous, mysterious or elegant. Sometimes using black alone can bring out feelings of sadness or anger, so consider combining it with more vibrant colors to provide balance. Some brands use black text atop bright colors to enhance a message's background, but it can cause poor readability. Black text on a white background offers optimal value contrast.
Many elements of nature are green, so people tend to think of it when they see green. Environmentally friendly companies often use green. This color also connects people to success, as it represents generosity and health. Many health and fitness companies use it in their marketing materials. However, too much or the wrong shade of green can evoke feelings of stagnation and isolation.
Red is commonly used to evoke strong emotions, generate excitement and prompt action. Red is recommended for successful businesses that feel certain about their marketing strategies. Softer shades of red help brands appear less aggressive. Consider making your product buttons or clearance tags red to bring out these powerful emotions.
The color white is the absence and reflection of all colors. Many healthcare companies use it to signify cleanliness to appeal to patients. Some technology brands also use white to represent a modern style. Since it's the most minimal color, it heightens people's perception of space and gives the eyes plenty of time to rest, which is why your marketing materials should regularly feature plenty of white space.
Related: 26 Ways To Increase Brand Awareness
Tips for choosing a brand color
In addition to understanding brand color psychology, here are some tips to consider when picking your brand colors:
Choose a color that feels authentic
It's important to choose a color that seems appropriate to your industry and feels authentic to your company. This is more important in some industries than others. For example, health care services, especially hospitals, may shy away from red since it's often associated with pain.
Choose a color that reflects your brand personality
Brand personality evokes human emotions, so brand color is one of the most immediate ways to express brand personality. Choosing a color that reflects your brand personality helps build a consistent and cohesive brand experience for customers. For example, a candy company might choose purple to represent its rich chocolate as a status symbol.
Choose a color that appeals to your audience
Understanding your target audience is important when picking a color for your brand. Consider your typical buyer and what color resonates with them. Consider aligning your target audience's defining traits with those of your brand color.
Related: How To Find Your Target Audience
Choose a color that makes your brand stand out
Choose a color that differs from your competitors to help set your brand apart. A brand audit is an effective way to survey colors your top competitors are using so you can identify opportunities to be different. For example, a tech company might go with white if the dominant shade used by its competitors is gray.
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