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The psychology of colors in branding: Fact or foe

If you think that color is all about aesthetics – you can’t be further away from the truth. Recent studies show that up to 85% of consumers name the color of the product as the primary reason behind its purchase. What’s more, 90% of snap judgments about purchases are made based on the color of products.

In today’s article, I’ll walk you through the role of color in branding and the psychological meaning of different colors. You’ll also find out why color is so important for branding and understand how to choose the right brand color palette for your company.

What is the role of color in branding? 

They say first impressions count. This is especially true when it comes to your brand since your brand color is likely to be the first thing customers see. Colors elicit emotions and feelings, as well as convey important nonverbal information. This enables customers to form an initial impression within seconds without even knowing what your product is about. Put simply, brand colors are powerful in helping customers decide whether or not they want to engage with your business further.

Meaning of different colors

Different colors provoke certain emotions which then are connected to the brand itself. All of these make the cornerstone of color psychology – a discipline that can help you develop a brand triggering the right association from the customer. 

Here is a brief summary of color meaning based on color psychology:

Red. Reflects passion, excitement, and anger. It also signifies the importance and commands attention.

Best fit. Red color fits best for food and beverage companies, cinema, and other quick attention-seeking brands whose main goal is to cause a feeling of urgency.

Blue. Stands for professionalism, security, and formality. It reflects maturity and trustworthiness.

Best fit.  Trustworthy blue works best for tech and fintech companies showing their professional stability and approachable nature.

Black. Evokes a powerful, sophisticated, edgy, luxurious, and modern feeling.

Best fit. Black is a great choice for a strong attitude in communicating with brands as well as entrepreneurs. This color is best for crypto projects, luxury perfume and makeup retailers, and VIP lawyer companies.

Green. Stands for stability, prosperity, growth, and connection to nature.

Best fit. Almost all shades of green would suit DeFi or smaller startup companies. It is a great choice when using it as an overlay or smaller details if the business is from the finance sector.

Purple. Signifies luxury, royalty, and creativity.

Best fit. Pure purple as well as its neon shades that sometimes even become more of a pink are a go-to color for NFT and Metaverse projects. It communicates creativity and endless possibilities.

You just saw a simplified version of the color palette, and the human connection to color goes much deeper than this, just think about all the color shades. The impact your brand colors have can depend on many things such as the style, design, how they are used, what target audience are they attracting, etc.

Why does color matter so much for branding?

Color psychology in marketing and branding is more complex than “green conveys calm”. It is a part of a brand’s visual identity. Through the emotional appeal, you can achieve higher brand recognition, speed up decision-making, and practically make your audience do exactly what you want them to do.

Here are the main two reasons why color matters in branding: 

  • Color elicits natural human responses. Colors can make customers feel happy or sad, hungry or relaxed. These reactions are rooted in psychological effects, biological conditioning, and cultural imprinting. 

For example:

📍Hunger. The red color makes people feel impulsive and hungry. The body’s biological response to red raises heart rate and blood pressure to cause the customers to want to tear through burgers, fries, and more just a little faster. 

📍Happiness. Bright, warm colors like yellow, orange, pink, uplift customers’ by promoting the brain to release dopamine – the happiness hormone. The brighter and lighter the color – the more optimistic your customers will feel.

  • Color helps create an association between brand and pricing. Colors don’t just trigger emotions – they also build associations between the brand’s size, its market impact, quality of the product, and price. For example, color combinations of beige, brown, gray, white, and pastel colors can make your brand identity look more expensive. 

📍Cheap-looking colors. While vibrant in art and illustration, neon colors can be perceived as rule breaking and attention-seeking. However, overusing neon colors for your brand’s design can spoil the user’s visual experience and make your brand identity look cheaper.

How to choose the right brand color palette

There is no right way to pick the color theme for all brands but we gathered 4 tips to help you get closer to selecting that one memorable palette: 

  • Know your focus. Have a clear idea about what your brand’s goals are and how you want your target audience to feel.
  • Think about psychology. Understanding color psychology can help you pick the palette based on the feelings you want to evoke.
  • Experiment more. Make sure you try at least five different color options to ensure you find a color palette that is most relevant to your brand. 

Research. Do thorough research on the designs and color schemes of other brands in your industry. Also, research and study your customers and marketplace to appeal better to your audience. However never forget to tweak something here and there in order to stand out from your competitors.

Summary

Color can make or break your branding. To elevate your visual identity, explore the psychological meaning behind the colors, avoid cheap-looking colors, remember about the association between colors and natural responses, and develop a palette that corresponds to your pricing model, target group age and status. While there is no ideal process to picking the right color theme, I recommend experimenting more, doing your research, and narrowing down the focus. 

If you need help with rebranding, feel free to contact LKI Consulting!

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