Understanding the psychology of colour for your brand design

Understanding the psychology of colour for your brand design

Colour has a big influence on how your brand is perceived by your target audience. People make snap decisions about your company from the first things they see, whether that is your shop fronts, your company logo or your fleet of vans or your website. With only a few seconds to make an impression on a potential customer, your branding is vital for turning that potential client into a sale.

We can learn a lot about how people perceive your brand by studying the psychology of colour. Humans respond to different colours in different ways and we make decisions based on what we sense. Colour can be a useful tool to communicate your brand values at a glance. Do you know what your company’s chosen brand colour is saying about you?

While your reaction to colour is influenced by your gender, your culture, and your experiences, colour can influence how we perceive and are attracted to certain brands.

How Brands are using the Psychology of Colour

You may notice that brands in the same sector have similar visual styles and often the same colour scheme. For example, brands in the financial sector such as banks seem to favour blue. Think about Barclays Bank, Nationwide, Halifax and, even the bank that likes to be ‘different’, the Co-Operative Bank. All of the above have a shade and tone of blue as a significant part of their brand image. Big food brands, such as McDonalds, KFC, Heinz, Kellogg’s and Coca-Cola use a lot of red. This is no coincidence.

The colour you choose for your corporate branding should align with the image that you are trying to portray. If you sell yourself on price, or on quality, or on being reliable, you should choose the colours which reassure consumers.

What does each Colour Represent?

Below are some of the words which are associated with different colours. Which of these words would best describe your brand?

Blue – responsible, trust, honesty, security, relaxing, calm, idealistic, devotion, conservative, safe, inflexible, confidence, dependable. Often seen as quite a corporate colour.

Red – great for attracting attention. Reflects passion, excitement, strength, stimulating, masculine energy, danger, youthful, bold.

Orange – adventure, enthusiasm, optimism, stimulating, affordable, cheap, creative energy, friendly. Orange has often been seen as a good colour to secure conversions.

Yellow – happy, cheerful, playful, optimism, wisdom, creativity, agitating, confident. Very eye catching.

Green – growth, vitality, harmony, calm, nature, health, kindness, money, wealth, wellbeing, freshness, peace.

Purple – wealth, high quality, sophistication, imaginative, fantasy, wise, rebellion. You will often see this colour used to promote luxury products.

Pink – compassion, romance, inspiring, warm, comforting, nurturing, calm, feminine energy.

White – creativity, calm, simplicity, equality, cleanliness, new, fresh, cold.

Black – authority, control, dignified, intimidating, confidence, ambitious, expensive, power, sophisticated. Used by companies such as Adidas to appeal to an edgy, youthful audience.

How does Colour Affect Conversion Rates?

The colours that you use on your website and other literature can have a significant influence on whether that person goes on to purchase from you. The easiest way to see this demonstrated is on the web, where it is simple to perform an A/B test to see the effect that colour has on the resulting conversion.

There are several factors which influence the success of your call to action, such as size, location and text, so if you really just want to test the best colour, you will need to keep all the other variables the same. The most important thing to remember about calls to action is to ensure that they stand out. Choose the important task that you want your website visitors to do on that page, and ensure that you have a strong and prominent call to action that helps them to complete that task.

Website call to action

Have a brainstorm on your brand values and the image you want to portray, then use the psychology of colour list above to tell you what colour you should be using. You may end up with a completely different branding than you expected.

At Visualise, we work with clients to identify the colours which best represent their brand, and build the results into our brand creation projects.

Find out more about our creative strategy service.

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