Color plays a big part in the perception of your brand and product or services. They determine the first impression that a potential customer will get when they lay eyes on your branding for the first time. Colors can do so much more than just making your visuals attractive and eye pleasing, they convey feelings, emotions and experiences. Each color has a unique and distinct meaning attached to it. Every color instills a different feeling in the person who sees it. The importance of color cannot be overstated, the right colors can make your brand and the wrong ones can break it.
There is a whole branch in psychology dedicated to the study of colors and how they affect human behavior called “color psychology”. It has its origins in ancient Egypt, people there realized that colors had a real effect on people, and they started using them for holistic development. More recently, prominent psychiatrist, Carl Jung theorized that there is a deep connection between colors and human beings. He believed that the response that people had to different colors was more or less the same universally. Based on these theories several studies have proved that there is a very real effect of colors on human perception. Colors have the ability to influence our perceptions and they can enhance the effectiveness of a message.
Why Is Color Important?
There is an undeniable relationship between customer reaction and brand colors. The colors that you choose for your brand will become a part of its personality and identity, it will determine how your potential customers view your brand. To control the perception of your customers about your brand and get the desired reaction out of them it is vital that you put in some time and thought into what your brand is about and how you want your business to be perceived by potential customers.
Additionally, color can also give you control over what you want the customers to see, where their eyes go first. If you utilize color in the right way you can help them find the information they need and how to get started. If you choose the wrong colors and don’t employ them in an effective manner it will have the opposite effect and ultimately end up hurting your brand and business.
Lastly, the colors of your brand can make your business stand out from your competition and create recognition. Therefore, color choice can affect sales. If you make the right choice it will reflect in the bottom line and the number of customers that end up buying your product or service.
Basics of Color Theory
To choose the best possible color or color combination for your brand requires you to know the basics of the theory behind color. It is not just an endeavor for painters and graphic designers. Knowing how the color theory works will give you a better perspective on which colors will suit your brand best.
Primary Color – There are three colors that all other colors consist of; yellow, red and blue. When these three primary colors are mixed together, they can be used to create the next level of colors.
Secondary Color – Orange, green and purple are the next level of colors that are created using the three primary colors. If we mix red and blue we get purple, if we mix blue and yellow we get green and if we mix red and yellow we get orange.
Tertiary Color – When primary colors are mixed in a way where one color is emphasized more than the other you get a color that is closer to the primary color that was emphasized more but has a hint of the other color used as well. Examples include red-purple, yellow-green or blue-purple.
Pure Color – This refers to a tertiary, secondary or primary color that has not been mixed with black, white or any other color. These colors are the purest representation of a color and are often cheery, intense and bright.
Tints – If you add white color to a pure color you get a tint. They are often paler and lighter than the pure color.
Shades – If you add black color to a pure color you get a shade. They are often duller and darker than the pure color.
Tones – If you add gray color which is a mixture of white and black color to a pure color you get a tone. It basically reduces the intensity of the pure color.
This is the basis on which all colors in existence are based on, each different type of color has its own meaning and mental impact on the customer. It is important to go for the right combination to ensure that it conveys the message that you want.
How to Choose Color Combinations?
The general rule of thumb when deciding which colors to go for is to keep it simple. 2-3 colors are more than enough to convey your brand’s message to the customer. You want the colors to state the identity of your brand clearly and concisely. If you end up going for too many colors, it will end up causing confusion in the mind of the customer as they will be getting too many signals and meanings by looking at your branding. Choose 2-3 colors that you feel depict your brand the best and use them in a creative and effective way to make your brand recognizable.
One great choice is going for complementary colors. These are colors that are opposites of each other on the color wheel. The advantage of using complementary colors is that you can use them to make any text on your branding stand out. The way this is achieved is by using one color as the main color and the other color as a secondary or supportive color to direct the attention towards your main color. What this does is that it always points the viewer’s eye toward the main color and the text or visual that you use the main color in will be highlighted. This is a great way to convey the information you want without causing any form of confusion.
Sometimes using split complementary colors is also a great option. You will have one color as your main color and two colors as secondary or supportive colors. This has the same effect as using two opposite colors but gives you the option to be more creative with your branding.
Analogous Colors – These are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. You can use them in a combination to create a subtle and clean theme for your branding. If you are not doing it for you, use a complementary color as a supportive color to allow for more creativity.
Monochromatic Colors – Another approach you can take is using a single color but incorporating different shades, tints and tones. If you are looking to create a very easy of the eye and mellow branding for your business, then this is something that you should consider.
Triadic Color Combinations – This is a color combination that utilizes three colors that are evenly distributed along the color wheel. It can be used to create a branding that gives off a very vibrant and lively feel.
Tetradic Color Combinations – This color combination consists of two pairs of complementary colors. Having four colors in pairs that are opposites of each other results in a very sharp and striking branding that leaves a strong impression on the customers.
Square Color Combinations – This color combination is very similar to the tetradic combination, the only difference is that it has pairs of complementary colors that are evenly distributed on the color wheel.
Each color holds a unique psychological response in humans. To decide which color will be best to convey the message that you want to give the customer about your brand, you should know about what some of the basic colors mean in terms of meaning and response.
Red – It is a very impactful and powerful color. The adjectives that the mind associates with this color are provocative, aggressive and energetic. This color can be used to convey the message of energy and passion about your brand.
Orange – This color is the representation of shelter and warmth. It is also known as a color that promotes positive attitude and motivation. If you are looking to convey the message of fun, friendliness and cheerfulness then Orange would be a great choice for you.
Yellow – Yellow is the representation of optimism and vibrancy. If you are looking to captivate the attention of your audience, then this color will be good for your branding.
Green – This color links people’s brains to nature and health. If you are looking to create a branding that seems calming and inviting to people, then green is a good choice.
Blue – This a color that is linked with positivity and trust. It gives people a feeling of responsibility and security. If you want your branding to create trust, then blue is the perfect color for your brand.
Purple – This color signifies royalty and exclusivity. If you are looking to give your customers a feeling of sophistication, then this is a good color option.
Pink – Depending on the shade this color can be either energetic or romantic. If you have a product or service that deals with either of these emotions, then pink is a great choice.
Brown – This color gives people a feeling of stability and simplicity. It is great if you want your branding to be approachable and welcoming.
Gold – It is the representation of abundance, charm and luxury. However, it is advised to use this color conservatively as too much of it can cause a negative outlook for your branding.
Black – This color represents seriousness and sophistication. It works well with high-end products and services.
White – White evokes the feeling of cleanliness and purity. It is surprisingly very attractive to the human eye. If used in the right way it can enhance your branding greatly.
Warm vs Cool Colors
There is a huge difference in perception when it comes to warm colors and cool colors. It is crucial to choose the right range of warmness or coolness to convey the message of your branding. Warm colors are often darker and convey intensity and passion whereas cool colors are used to induce the feelings of lightness and calmness.
The canvas for your branding needs to be neutral so that it does not steal the spotlight from your text or visual, that is where neutral colors come into play. White, black, silver, ivory, brown, grey, gold, tan and beige colors are all great examples of what you should use as a base to highlight the main message of your branding.