Color plays a big role in many things, and because of this it’s one of the most interesting things for businesses to study. There has been a lot of research done to see how colors affect human behavior, and businesses were quick to pick up on the benefits of these studies for product and brand development.
In the psychology of colors, association is the name of the game. Basically, we associate certain emotions with specific colors. This is based on our upbringing, our culture, or even outside influences like the opinions of others, usually a collective. Most of the time, though, this association is so innate that we don’t notice it, but those who study color theory and understand its effects do.
Photo from The Logo Company
For example, take a look at these basic colors. See what they’re commonly associated with, and how you can use these colors in your branding:
Red, which is the warmest color, exudes high energy. This could go both ways: positive, as in the form of excitement, or negative, as in the form of alarm. Red is used to grab attention for things that are important, which is why your office deadlines and announcements are always outlined in red. It can also symbolize youth, such as in toy or junk food brands.
Orange is the color of confidence. It’s unapologetic and proud, with a dash of fun thrown in. Undoubtedly, it stands out among other colors, and if you saw a big orange sign in the middle of a road, you’d probably have to stop and see what it says. Similar to red, it’s also a very youthful and enthusiastic color, thanks to its bright and warm hue.
Yellow is the color of the sun, which in itself is a symbol for happiness. Like orange, it stands out in a sea of other colors, and it can be used to call attention to specific faces, icons or points. This is why the yellow highlighter is always the most common one. Just like the sun, it can also convey feelings of warmth and clarity.
What more could green represent than Mother Nature herself? This association has been made so long ago and kept alive for so many years that the term “going green” literally means to get back to nature. So if your business has anything to do with organics, sustainability, or the elements, green is of course a good idea. But even if it doesn’t connect to any of those things, using green still conveys the feelings we get from nature: health, growth, and peace.
The color of many websites and social media platforms, hospitals and health products, as well as most things that have to do with technology, blue is a color of dependability, safety and security. Blue is associated with the sky, which has a calming effect on all those who look at it. For that reason, blue is commonly used when you want your customers to feel safe and valued.
Purple has been considered the color of royalty for so long that it dates back to when kingdoms existed and people were actually ruled by them. Today, purple still symbolizes grandeur, mysticism and the extraordinary. Purple calls to your imagination and lets it run wild, so brands like to use this “anything is possible” mindset created by the color to direct their customers’ focus on the many possibilities created by their products or services.
Black, the color of darkness, is widely known to be an “edgy” color. In the case of branding, it’s usually put alongside other colors to balance them out to neutralize the polarizing effects they may have. For example, making yellows or reds a few shades darker, or adding black text on top of them, might lower their excitement factor and make them safer-looking instead.
White, on the other hand, is elegant and minimalist. It’s the color of cleanliness and purity, but it’s also the color of simplicity. White, and to an extent gray, can be used to symbolize sleekness or class. Black and white, especially when used together, make striking and memorable logos because they balance each other out – putting the edginess of black against the purity of white.
If you’re curious about color theory and the many more ways to express your branding through colors, see
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