The Psychology of Colors: The Essence of Hues in Marketing and Branding

brand colours

Colors breathe life to any design. They are a direct visual representation of a brand’s identity; they reflect any mood, and are capable of evoking emotions. Use the wrong color combination on your branding and design, and we can almost guarantee that you won’t be able to convey the message you want to get across. Worse, your brand might not even be taken seriously at all.

For this reason, understanding color psychology is crucial for a successful content marketing strategy.

A Deeper Dive into Color Psychology

Color psychology in marketing has been studied for decades — and for good reason. Roughly 84.7% of consumers say that colors significantly influence their purchase decisions, while 80% say that colors increase brand recognition. This just means one thing: colors can either make or break your product and branding.

colour wheel

While color perception may vary per individual due to unique experiences, cultures, or memories tied to certain hues, there are general concepts about how specific colors work in marketing that should be considered in content creation.

  • Red. This color is often associated with love, strength, terror, revolt, and survival. It’s a color so powerful that it can easily awaken states of mind and supercharged emotions, even negative ones. Depending on the context, red may also depict aggression or command attention in an instant, so this color must be used strategically and with caution.
  • Yellow. Anything splashed on with yellow is guaranteed to create feelings of glee, cheerfulness, and optimism. It also has the ability to boost confidence and lift the dampened spirits of the person looking at it. However, excessive use of this color may bring about the opposite effect — it may trigger anxiety and fear.
  • Orange. The jury’s still out whether orange is well-loved by people or not, but it sure is effective in eliciting immediate responses. An energizing color, orange combines the psychological meanings of red and yellow, and signifies fun, enthusiasm, and motivation. It also stimulates the appetite; this color works best for food brands and advertisements for marketplaces.
  • Blue. Ever notice how the color blue is often used in healthcare facilities and wellness centers? It’s because blue represents tranquility, trust, and reliability. But as relaxing as this color is, blue is among the colors that aren’t easily seen, and may make your visual content look dull and distant if not used sparingly.
  • Green. While blue signifies peace, green represents healing. It’s a color often associated with nature, growth, and new beginnings. It appeals most to people who love life in general and are attuned to their inner selves; green is effective in striking balance and harmony to any design.
  • Purple. This color is an amalgamation of the powers of red and blue — purple communicates spirituality and stability. It’s also known for symbolizing wealth, and has associations with revenue and leadership (explains why Marketo chose this color for its branding).

Sometimes though, you don’t even have to use distinct colors to define your brand. Neutral colors such as black, white, and grey often serve as the base of all other colors, and when combined or used on their own, may convey their own meaning. A classic example of a brand known for using neutral colors is Apple, whose minimalistic logo and branding never fails to represent the tech company’s dedication to quality, clarity, and sophistication.

Words Associated to Colors

words associated to colours

Aside from feelings, people are also able to associate colors with words — something that’s important to understand if you want to market effectively. Research by Color Psychology and Color Therapy author Faber Birren revealed the common words or concepts people usually link to colors. Here are some of the findings:

  • High Quality – 43% associated it to black; 20% to blue
  • Trust – 34% to blue; 21% to white
  • Speed – 76% to red; 7% to yellow
  • Inexpensive – 26% to orange; 22% to yellow; 13% to brown
  • Security – 28% to blue; 16% to black
  • Fun – 28% to orange; 26% to yellow
  • Reliability/Dependability – 43% to blue; 24% to black

Knowing how much words connect to colors will help you create messaging that would truly resonate with audiences. Appealing visuals + content that match them in every sense = powerful marketing.

Finding Your Best Colors

Let’s go back to what we said earlier about wrong color combinations ruining your brand.

You have more or less 90 seconds to impress a prospect as soon as they look at a piece of your content. How do you know which colors/color combinations would work best?

finding your colour

As you now understand how colors affect people’s perception of things, asking yourself the following questions will help you determine which palette to go for:

  • Who are the audiences you cater to?
  • What emotions do you want to tie to your brand?
  • Do the colors you’ve picked embody who you are as a brand?

Aside from picking a great color combination, testing your colors is important. Check whether the palette you’ve picked enhances the visibility of your CTAs, your social media content gains traction, or if your accent colors don’t clash with your predominant hue. 

Take note that design often varies across different platforms, so it’s critical to avoid using a universal look for all channels. Thoughtful A/B testing conversion monitoring would tell you if a certain color combination or layout appeals to audiences.

Colors: An Integral Part of Branding

Colors have the ability to dictate how your audiences will recognize and engage themselves with your brand. They directly impact the way you present your brand to the world, so don’t just go for random, meaningless color choices – go for the ones that best conveys your message and jives well with your market.

Need help in deciding which colors would suit your brand well? We’re here to help! For your design and branding needs, contact us here.