Choosing the right colours for your logo and brand is very important. Colours convey the emotion or personality of a brand and will be used not only on the logo, but throughout all of the business marketing media – website, business cards, brochures, in-store /office signage, staff uniforms, advertising and social media.
How a Logo Color Influences Perception of Your Brand
Colours have a powerful effect on our emotions. And these emotions play a major role in how we behave as consumers. Brand colour psychology provides a framework for understanding how and why we interact with the brands in our lives. When it comes to picking the “right” colour, research has found that predicting consumer reaction to colour appropriateness is far more important than the individual colour itself. In a 2006 study, researchers found that the relationship between brands and colour hinges on the perceived appropriateness of the colour being used for the particular brand. In other words: Does the colour fit what’s being sold?
“Colour psychology” is a study of hues and their influence on human behavior. It’s one of the key pillars of branding and marketing and it is a key player when it comes to deciding on your logo’s colors.
What colour do you think of when you hear the word “nature” or “love”? “relaxing” or “energetic”? Logos are essentially artwork, created to represent your business or brand, and artwork is subjective. But with careful thought and planning, you can select the perfect colours for your business branding.
While the effect that colours have on our emotions differs from person to person based on gender, cultural context and personal experience there are some general guidelines that have been borne out by countless colour psychology studies. An understanding of these guidelines gives you one more tool in the underlying goal of branding: architecting reality by influencing and shaping consumer perception.
It can be daunting trying to narrow down what colour is best for your brand, but a little “colour psychology” can at least narrow down what works for others and what doesn’t.
Choosing your branding colours is easy if you know what you’re trying to communicate. One of the earliest steps in building a brand is determining your brand personality. Essentially, you want to think of your company like a person: who are they? What’s important to them?
Once you established what your brand personality goals are, how do you determine which colours will work best? It starts with first learning the emotional associations of each colours.
Here’s a list of general colour emotional meanings:
Red stands for love, romance, passion, excitement and anger. It can signify importance and command attention.
Orange stands for energy, playfulness, vitality. It is invigorating and evokes friendliness.
Yellow evokes happiness, youth and optimism, sunshine, beach, sunflowers – all happy things, but s0me shades of yellow can also seem attention-grabbing or affordable.
Green evokes nature, earth-friendly, stability, prosperity, growth and calm.
Light Blue – A light shade of blue exudes tranquility, trust, openness. It can also signify innocence.
Dark Blue – Dark blue stands for professionalism, security and formality. It is mature and trustworthy.
Purple can signify royalty, creativity and luxury.
Pink stands for femininity, youth and innocence. It ranges from modern to luxurious.
Bright pink – fun, sexiness, bold (feminine)
Medium to dark brown creates a rugged, earthy, old-fashioned look or mood.
Soft brown to beige – natural, calm
Fun, diversity, optimism
White — White evokes cleanliness, virtue, health or simplicity. It can range from affordable to high-end.
Gray — Gray stands for neutrality. It can look subdued, classic, serious, mysterious or mature.
Black — Black evokes a powerful, sophisticated, edgy, luxurious and modern feeling.
Keep in mind that the above list doesn’t include all of the shades and hues in between your standard reds, blues, greens etc. There’s turquoise, magenta, claret, french navy, russet, lavendar, etc etc. This list is just about endless and while a light blue may definitely be wrong for your brand, a ‘tabriz blue’ may be perfect. How the colours are perceived also depends on the style of the logo, where they’re used and just as importantly, what other colours are used with it.
When choosing brand colours, don’t choose too many. Most brands have a maximum of 3 colours, with the exception of some tech brands like Google or Instagram (though Facebook and Twitter are a conservative blue and white). It’s fine to go multicolour if it suits your brand but in most cases, it won’t work well.
Here are some tips to help you workout the best colour options for your brand & logo:
1. Plan on choosing 3 colours
Your main, accent and a neutral colours. Brand colour schemes can have between 1-4 colours depending on the type (see below), but even monochrome schemes will require some variation in hues for different purposes.
2. Choose your main colour
Of all your brand’s personality traits, which one is most important? Your base colour should reflect not only your brand personality’s most dominant trait, but also appeal to the target audience you’re trying to reach. You’ll choose the remaining colours based on how well they match with this one.
3. Choose your accent
Your accent will be the colour you use the most after your base colour. This is a bit trickier than choosing your base colour because their are more restrictions: aside from matching a brand personality trait, your accent colour must also pair visually with your base colour, not to mention appease your audience.
4. Choosing your neutral
Your neutral colour will most likely be a background colour, something chosen to avoid attention. Typically these are different hues of gray, but beige, whites and off-whites work, too. Black is also an option, but be careful; it tends to dominate any colour scheme it’s a part of.
Create an emotional connection to your brand
There are no set rules for choosing your branding colours, so treat the above as a basic guide to help you work through what’s best for your business. Above all, remember that the main purpose of all of your branding, including the colours, is to create an emotional connection between your brand and your target audience.
If you would like help or advice with your branding, including colours and logo design, get in touch.