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Colour psychology plays an important role in how your brand is perceived and recognised. If you’re a fashion brand trying to engage and attract a youthful audience, or a chemist chain trying to instil trust and peace of mind, brand colour is an essential part of your marketing process.

Understanding colour psychology is vital to help build a strong, reputable brand, that’s why big multinationals spend lots of time and money in creating their final brand look.

So, What is Colour Psychology?

Colour psychology is the study of colours in relation to human behaviour. It aims to determine how colour affects our day to day decisions, such as the items we buy. Does the colour of a dress compel us to purchase it? Do the colours of a package make us choose one brand over another? Does the colour of an icon make us more likely to click on it?

The short answer is yes. But the ‘why’ part is a bit more complicated. Individual colour meanings can have an impact on why we prefer certain colours over others. The same colour can also have different meanings that are dependent on our upbringing, gender, location, values, and a variety of other factors.

Why is colour psychology important in marketing?

Colour evokes feeling; it incites emotion and this is why it plays such an important role in selecting the best colours for your business’s branding. Choosing the right colours can make the difference between your brand standing out from the crowd, or blending in with the others.

While choosing the right colours can enhance your brands visibility, a poor choice of colours can be detrimental to it. That’s why successful companies with a clear vision, invest a lot of time and money in creating the right colour choices for their branding.

What do individual colours say and suggest?

Red is the attention grabber. It’s associated with excitement, passion, danger, energy, and action.
In colour psychology, red is the most intense colour and provokes the strongest emotion in us leading to excitement and happiness, hunger and alertness. Red is the iconic colour used by famous brands like Coca Cola, Virgin, Levis, Vodafone to name a few.

Blue is tied closely to the sea and sky, evoking stability, harmony, peace, calm and trust. Tech brands often incorporate blue into their logos like Dell, Facebook and Intel to promote their trustworthiness, reliability and care. It can also be seen appearing in financial and legal brands the world over for the same reasons.

Yellow is a feel good colour, conjuring up feelings of happiness, positivity, optimism, and warmth. The colour yellow is associated with brands such as McDonalds, Ferrari and Ikea. These brands use yellow for different reasons. Ferrari for instance use it to convey freedom, carefree lifestyle and luxury. McDonalds on the other hand want to convey happiness, warmth and contentment in their product to their customers.

Green’s association with all things eco and sustainable has seen an increase in it’s usage as new and young companies adopt it to convey their commitment to a ‘save the planet’ narrative. It’s also seen as a growth, fertility, health, and generosity colour, along with ties to the banking and finance sectors. Land Rover, Holiday Inn and Starbucks use green as an effective way to voice their ecological messages.

Mono colouring makes a statement

White showcases innocence, goodness, cleanliness, and humility, as seen in the western world. In some parts of other global societies, white has quite the opposite meaning, so always keep in mind who your target audience is. Uber, Nike and Chanel use white to very good effect and can even swap to using their logos in black as a stark contrast, arguably in an attempt to cover all the virtues of white and black together. Images will also be in black and white to further embellish the brand and messaging.

Black is a popular colour in all sectors of business. Black’s colour meaning is symbolic of mystery, power, elegance, and sophistication. It naturally works well with white for very good reasons as they are seen as the epitome of contrast. Black is also a popular colour for text as it’s an easy colour to read on all light coloured backgrounds. Notable brands include Sony, WWF and the BBC, and similar to the brands that use white, they can also adapt between black and white.

Grey represents neutrality and balance in life, sitting in-between black and white and offering a balance in contrast to black and white. Greys are not widely used in branding due to their flat and generally indifferent state. Greys however, effectively find their place when used in conjunction with a stronger more emotive colour, as a compliment. Apple are the most notable that use grey in their brands to great effect, even their products primarily are seen in classic grey finishes.

The psychology of colour debate and research goes on…

Even though colour psychology has been studied and analysed for many years, there’s still a lot more to learn and discuss about the exact impact that colour has on human psychology.

Hopefully the above has given you a little insight to consider when it comes to colour psychology and the important role it takes in the branding, services and products of every company, no matter the industry.

The psychology of colour in marketing is a powerful tool to add to your marketing belt. How will you leverage it’s use?
Let us know!

#418makesithappen #psychology #colour

Doug Norman

Author Doug Norman

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