How to Choose Colours for Your Brand

The psychology of colour and its implication on marketing and purchase intent has been widely researched. It is believed that colour can influence your mood, behaviours and even product choices.  Whilst some of the research has been questioned, there’s no denying that you need to consider more than your personal preference for your brand (although, everyone has a favourite colour, right?)

In the study called “Impact of Color in Marketing“, researchers found that “people make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products.” Approximately 62% ‐ 90% of the assessment is based on colours alone.

Here are six points to consider when choosing colours for your brand:

1. Brand Positioning and Personality

Think about how you want to be perceived and the personality of your brand.  Do you want your brand to be seen as calm and nurturing, modern or classic, masculine or feminine, innovative or simplistic?  Does your product or service appeal more to hipsters or a more mature audience?

Many health and insurance such as NRMA, Bupa and Allianz use blue as it is often associated with being calm, honest, knowledgeable and trustworthy. Blue is also a popular colour amongst IT and social media brands such as SAP, IBM, Intel, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Aim to pick a colour that represents your brand’s personality the best.

2. Brand Applications

How you will promote your brand?  Do you have a storefront, a product that requires packaging, or a web site?  Will you need to create uniforms, stationery, brochures, trade show signage or shopping bags?  How will the colours you choose work on all these different mediums?  You may think a light grey logo design is sophisticated and balanced but if you are a retailer, will your prospective customers be able to read the sign from afar?

3. The Psychology of Colour

Basic colour theory teaches you what colours go together well and it can guide you in making harmonious colour choices. We also learn to associate specific colours with certain feelings – for example, we give red flowers to those we are passionate about. In the past, brides would wear white on their wedding day as a symbol of purity.

Here are some other meanings we associate with colours in western culture:

4. Competition

Take a look at your competitors: what colours are they using?  Do you want to be positioned the same or would you prefer to stand out from your competition?

Logo design alone will not differentiate you from your competition.  If you opt for similar colours then you need to look at other ways of getting across your unique selling proposition.  Is it through the selling channels you use, your customer service, your selling price or your advertising?  There are many ways to differentiate yourself from your competition.

99designs reviewed 14,000 logo designs that were created on their site to determine which colours were most popular for logo design. Not surprisingly, blue was the most popular colour followed by black, green and grey. Brown and pink were the least favourite.

How to Choose Colours for Your Brand
Source: 99designs

5. Gender Differences

Do you want to appeal to both males and females?  A research study by Joe Hallock showed that blue (57%), green (14%) and black (9%) were the top favourite colours for men whereas for females it was blue (35%), purple (23%) and green (14%). No men listed purple as a favourite colour.

6. Cultural Differences

Are you hoping to promote your product or service locally or do you have visions to promote it in other markets? Colour meanings can differ across borders.  For example, in western culture, white is considered the colour of purity and innocence, however, in some parts of Asia, white is associated with death and it is the colour of mourning.

Blue seems to be the safest colour globally because it has either positive or at least neutral connotations in most countries and cultures.  Consider where you will be selling your product or service and how best to service the different markets.

There are many things to consider when creating your brand identity but ultimately you need to choose the colour (or combination of colours) that best fit your brand.

How did you choose the colours for your brand? Leave your comments in the section below!

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