The Psychology of Color in Branding

As children, our main relationship with color was through the box of crayons we used to fill the pages of a coloring book. As we got older, the dynamic shifted from using color for art to using color to help us make purchasing decisions.

Clothes, wall paint and vehicles all tend to be chosen based on preference, but most don’t think far beyond that in terms of the subconscious effect of color. Experienced marketers know how to use a combination of depiction, messaging and colors, to evoke an emotion or sway a viewer’s perception in order to connect a certain way with their target audience.

Logos are the first use case of a color scheme and the most repeated. They are just as important as the company name. McDonald’s, Apple, and FedEx are instantly recognizable, even to those who don’t consume their products or services. Everyone knows what the golden arches are.

Household names synonymous with their famous logos have often undergone extensive data analysis and test group surveys but some started in the basement of a modest family home and evolved over time as sales and marketing experts were brought in to help. Regardless of where you’re at in the journey, we’re going over the basics of color psychology and how it relates to business so you can use it to your advantage.

Color and Emotions

Color is a powerful tool to use in marketing your brand. It can influence the line of thinking, emotions, and reactions of people. It has a psychological effect that plays a part in the relationship between the company and its target market. The right color logo can command the attention of the right customers in the right way if used effectively.

According to a study from the University of Missouri, the color(s) on a company logo has a significant impact on how customers view the brand as a whole. Jessica Ridgway conducted a survey at the university wherein she created fake logos and asked 184 subjects about the emotions they felt when they saw the logos. Each color gave the participants a series of emotions when viewing the logos, which were closely in line with previous color psychology studies conducted on colors in general.

Based on the results, Ridgway suggested that companies should choose their brand or logo color based on what they want their target market to feel towards their company. They should know what personality traits they want to have associated with their brand and how they want to impact their target market, then align their logo and branding colors accordingly.

Color and Business

Companies listed in the Fortune 500 are considered the biggest companies in the world, so it is safe to say that at least most of them know what they are doing, right?. Let’s take a look at the trendiest colors used by Fortune 500 companies.

According to research, the most prominent color used by the biggest companies in the world is BLUE. It is the most used, especially by companies in the finance, health, and tech industry, because it signifies calmness , dependability and security. Dell, PayPal, AT&T, Samsung, and Volkswagen are some of the brands that use the color blue to send a feeling of trustworthiness and tranquility to their consumers.

Red is the second most used color by top companies. It is mostly related to retail and food brands because red is shown to stimulate appetite. Companies like KFC, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Wendy’s use this color to invite customers come eat in their establishments.

Yellow invokes positivity, warmth, and vibrancy. It is associated with sunshine and happiness. Some brands which include the color yellow into their logos are Burger King, Ferrari, Best Buy, and Lays. Most food brands actually include both yellow and red in their logos to maximize the “emotional” pull.

The color black is mostly used by high-fashion brands such as Celine, Chanel, Dior, and Prada. It enhances the feeling of sophistication which appeals to their high end fashionista target market. Many other companies are also using this color to give the impression of a minimalistic, modern and elegant brand logo.

Green is the color associated with nature. Hence, it evokes the feelings of serenity, peace, and the symbol of life. It also represents the color of money and wealth. Some companies that incorporated green into their logos are Starbucks, Land Rover, Whole Foods, Animal Planet, and Android, creating a sense of calm and success around their brands.

How to Create Your Logo:

When creating your company logo, it is important to do your research. Make sure you know who your target market is. Ask yourself, what do you want your customers to feel when they see your logo? Be clear about what kind of emotion you want to express to your customers.

When you are in the process of making your logo, you have to choose what kind of design you want. There are two dominant designs: symbols and wordmarks. Symbols put the focus on a specific image or iconography to represent your brand. Wordmarks focus on the company name as the main point of the logo.

You also have to think about the right color scheme, of course. Colors aren’t just the primary Red, Blue, White, Yellow, etc. but have many different hues and combinations that should be considered. Often times the shade of a color has a huge impact on the overall impression of your brand and how customers perceive it, so it’s important to put some time and research into this decision.

Color and Workspace

Color does not only affect the relationship between brand and customer, it also affects customers and employees in your physical place of business and/or workspace. This topic is well researched and scientific studies have shown that colors affect productivity and morale of employees in the workplace and can effect the overall experience of your customers while in your place of business. So let’s review a few examples.

Let’s start with the typical color seen or used in most offices, the color WHITE. That color, along with other bland colors such as gray or beige, can evoke feelings of sadness and gloominess. Feelings that companies don’t want employees to feel considering it will affect their productivity and efficiency. So if bland neutral colors are not effective, which colors are?

Blue, as mentioned earlier gives a positive impact on customers and also provides great results in the workplace. It’s easy on the eyes and provides a calming effect to a busy office. Hues of blue will help employees feel calm and soothed during work and give customers a sense of security and trust.

Yellow is associated with sunshine so it provides a feeling of optimism, happiness, and just an overall good attitude throughout the day. It can cultivate a good feeling of energy which can increase productivity, creativity, and efficiency of employees. It’s also effective in creating a cheerful and positive experience for customers.

Using Color as a Tool for Success

Colors make our surroundings vibrant and full of life. Even if we are not aware of it, we associate certain feelings with specific colors and are affected by them every day. In this way consumers are influenced by business brands through use of color in their logos and branding. Colors are also used by companies to design their workspaces and places of business so they can maximize the productivity, creativity, and efficiency of their employees and overall experience of their customers. The right colors can be powerful and influential on many levels when applied to business. So the next time you think a color is just a color, think again! Instead, use it as a tool to help drive your company to success.

Team work makes the dream work so let’s work together! Wherever you are in your journey, we’d love to help your dreams take flight.

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