Color Psychology 101: Identifying your Brand Personality
Color psychology is an in-depth study, and certainly not meant to be diluted down into a few hundred words of study. Picking the correct combination of colors is meant to be a time-consuming process because you are not simply choosing colors that “go well together”; you’re choosing the first thing a potential client will notice about your company and what thoughts they will associate with your brand.
That’s a big deal.
How Brands Use Color Psychology
Did you know that 95 percent of companies use only one or two colors in their logo? The remaining 5 percent use three, but none use more than that. The beauty in simplicity cannot be overstated, because confusing a potential buyer is one of the surest ways to turn them off from your business.
So, what is color psychology? By definition, it is the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior. Color influences perceptions that are not obvious, such as the taste of food. Colors can also work as placebos by having the color of pills be certain colors to influence how a person feels after taking them.
It’s the science behind why McDonald’s obsessively uses red and yellow in their in-store décor (hint: it’s to make you hungry), and why purple is used prominently in Cadbury’s branding—to make it feel more special or luxurious.
There’s more to just color than picking one, you must pick a:
- Hue: what most think of when picking out a color, this is picking the wavelength of light to speak scientifically.
- Value: the brightness of a color—the brighter the color, the higher the value and more light it emits. I.E: a bright yellow has a higher value than a dark blue.
- Tint and Shade: Terms to describe how a color varies from its original hue by the addition or subtraction of white or black.
- Saturation: Synonymous with intensity, it is a measurement of how different from pure gray the color is. It helps to imagine this as how pale or strong the color is.
As you can see, just with these four options, picking a color can sometimes feel like picking the needle from its proverbial haystack.
Using Color Psychology to Your Advantage
There is no one color that decision makers lean on to help them make a decision. From person to person, you’re going to find different colors and design elements that speak to them. One person may love black and hard angles, another may prefer softer greens and rounded corners.
Speaking to decision makers is about sending a message that your brand is trustworthy, and having a great-looking brand is akin to owning a tailored suit versus a second-hand knock off. A great logo is often one of the most practical steps you can take toward building brand equity.
Some common facts agreed on about colors:
- Blue hues create a sense of trust and security, and are often seen paired with banks and businesses.
- Green is associated with wealth, is the easiest color for the eye to process and is relaxing. We associate this color with sustainability and eco-friendly as well.
- Orange is an aggressive color which is used to help create a call to action. Other deem orange as a whimsical, playful color (see: Nickelodeon’s logo).
- Black is used to illicit feelings of power, wealth, sleekness and luxury.
- Reds are vibrant, passionate colors known to raise blood pressure and convey energy, excitement, and confidence.
- Yellows convey optimism, friendliness and McDonald’s uses it in their signage to pop against the blue of a clear sky.
- White gives off the impression of purity, cleanliness, and space.
- Purple lends to relaxation and the sense of luxury.
Some interesting trends to keep in mind– over 50 percent of people choose cool-temperature colors as their favorite (like blue, green), around 25 percent pick warm colors (red, orange), and a little over 10 percent choose neutral colors (black, white, or gray).
Color is only one small piece of the puzzle, and we’re always willing to help you find just the rest design and color that suits you.