The Psychology of Colour in Marketing and Branding
  • By Tom Curry

    Digital Agency Designer

Two products exactly the same, but in different packaging. One person buys one product, another the other, just because the colours of the packaging were more appealing to the different people.

This is no accident.

In most cases, every aspect that can affect the design element of a brand is carefully considered, including the age, gender and style of the target audience, and closely analysed before it’s presented to the unknown public. Some brands have even gone so far as to trademark a colour, such as the discount store Target and the chocolate company Cadbury, which trademarked its own specific shades.

Colours can leave a lasting impression on people and can raise a range of emotions; this makes them extremely important when creating your logo, website, promotional material, or even painting your new office.

So let's talk colour

Below are different colours and how the can represent brands, as well as some of the psychology behind them.

  • Blue

    Blue is most often used to represent a brand that is trustworthy, responsible, dependable, and secure. Huge brands such as Facebook, Twitter, NASA, Intel, IBM, Barclays, Halifax, and Ford all take advantage of the colour Blue. Facebook has around 1.80 billion monthly active, users with over 1.13 billion of them logging on daily; with this kind of traffic, the social media company must be trusted to protect their users’ most personal information. Barclays, TSB, and Halifax are just a few of the UK banks that have relied on the colour blue to establish faith in the safety and security they provide for their investors.

  • Yellow

    Yellow is used to catch attention, as it is the most noticeable colour to the human eye. This colour represents optimism and happiness. You can see yellow used by restaurants, theme parks and construction.  Restaurants such as McDonald’s, with its iconic golden arches, make effective use of the colour yellow. In the construction industry, it is the perfect eye-catching colour for potentially dangerous machinery.

  • Red

    Red is one of the most attention-grabbing colours, it’s known to raise blood pressure, increase respiratory rate, and invoke a sense of urgency. This colour is mostly used by drinks manufacturers, TV advertisements, and retail shopping. Coca-Cola is a brand that instantly springs to mind for the use of red in all of its advertisements and packaging. Coca-Cola has a popular legend that tells it rebadged Santa Claus to match (sadly, this is an urban myth). One of the biggest uses for the colour red is when January comes around and there are sales in every shop. You always see the big red 50% off signs as they are hard to miss and they create a sense of urgency. This increases the chance of you going in and grabbing the last product on the shelf.

  • Green

    Green is the easiest colour for the eyes to process and brings to mind health, serenity, freshness, and money. It’s largely used by organic food retailers and coffee shops. One of the brands that springs to mind is the famous Starbucks coffee; they focus heavily on lifestyle. With over 24,000 stores worldwide and a drinks menu that has reached icon status. There’s nothing better than having a refreshing coffee, sat in a quiet corner of your local store, preparing to write the most amazing novel ever wrote.

  • Black

    Black is one of the boldest colours. It promotes business, elegance and luxury. Black is best used in glamorous evening wear and stretch limousines. If you want to convey drama, sophistication, and declare social status, black will certainly do the trick. Many banks offer black credit cards with no upper limit to their highest net worth customers. Now that’s luxury.

  • White

    White contains all of the colours in the spectrum in equal amounts, promoting a feeling of balance. This colour is often used in tech brands, spas, and in the medical industry. The use of white in your logo or marketing materials represents that you have nothing to hide. Apple, one of the most well-known brands in the world, uses white for its primary branding to relay information and make products stand out from the crowd with a sense of transparency and cleanliness.

Next time you are looking to create a logo or brand, have a read through this article, and look around at others in your competitive market for inspiration. The right colour can make all the difference in attracting the right consumers toward your brand.

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