colour blocks - Branding colour psychology - an introduction.

Over on Instagram I posted a series of posts about colour, how we respond to colour and the impact this can have on our branding. There are positives and negative responses to every colour so we need to be aware of these when designing our branding.


Branding colour psychology - yellow.

The feeling that you get when you see the sun shine in all its glory. Warming you thought to the core. Lifting your spirits and making you smile. Yellow evokes feelings of happiness, warmth, optimism. It’s packed full of energy and fun.

Be warned though – too much yellow can make you feel irritated and nervous.

Splashed of yellow in a brand can represent a vibrant and cheerful and approachable brand.


Branding colour psychology - orange.

Orange reminds me of open fires and walks under autumnal trees. It’s a fun colour, one that evokes fun and energy. It’s a great colour for using with kids as it’s seen as being fun and playful. It can lighten he mood and put a smile on people’s faces.

But be aware… too much orange in your branding can give the impression of cheapness (think EasyJet) – it’s rarely a colour associated with luxury.


Branding colour psychology - red.

It’s a colour that shouts “look at me!” – there is nothing shy or introverted about red. Anything you want noticed – use red (which is why traffic lights, warning signs and post boxes are red). It’s also a sensual colour. The colour of love, valentines and sex.

Using red in a brand can show energy and excitement, stamina, strength and passion as well as stamina, survival and rebellion. It’s bold and youthful.

Negative associations include anger and aggression. Too much red can seem confrontational and be exhausting.

Famous red brands include CocaCola, Lego, Canon, Kellogg’s, Virgin and YouTube.


Branding colour psychology - pink.

A colour I was never convinced by mainly because I hate how everything in shops aimed at girls is pink. Actually I love pink. It can look amazing in branding next to a warm grey, glamorous next to a rich black and it’s the perfect colour to represent cuddles. Used well it can convey thoughts of empathy, nurture and fun. Pink can soothe and warm us.

Pink gets its name from the flower – pinks (and they are mainly pink in colour) – as do pinking sheers as the flower and the sheers have jagged edges.

It’s quite a marmite colour, so… are you a pink lover or hater?


Branding colour psychology - purple.

The colour of magic, spirituality and royalty.

It combines the energy and power of red with the integrity of blue. Its long been the colour of the wealthy as it was expensive to produce – the dye was rare and difficult to get hold of.

Julius Caesar decreed that he was the only person allowed to wear the colour. In Henry VIII’s court, the early of Surrey was accused of high treason for ‘wearing the King’s colour’. Queen Elisabeth I forbade anyone to wear it (apart from her chosen close family). It’s a colour that has certainly caused controversy over the Centuries.

Purple became common after a student working on an anti-malaria medicine accidentally discovered how to make it. It is now widely available but still holds on to its luxurious and hard-to-attain past.

If your brand represents luxury, then purple is the colour for you, but be aware – the wrong tone can make your business look cheap or unattainable.


Branding colour psychology - blue.

Time and time again, research shows that blue is the world’s most popular colour.

It represents clarity and logic. Freshness and calm. Serenity and reflection.

Used in the wrong context, use too much or use the wrong tone and your brand can feel cold and uncaring. It’s also very rarely used for food – that’s why plasters using in kitchens are blue as it makes them easier to find if they fall off (eugh!). It’s a popular colour for banks, and often used for social media platforms too.


Branding colour psychology - green.

There is nothing quite like a huge lawn of fresh spring grass. It looks and smells amazing (despite it making me sneeze!).

Green is the colour of reassurance. It’s restful, comforting and harmonious. It can relax us as we can imagine ourselves back in nature.

The wrong shade or too much green can have negative effect. No-one likes a stagnant gungy green. Like the sludge at the bottom of an old bag of salad if can communicate decay and rot.

Lime green isn’t stagnant or restful – it screams to be looked at (due to its high yellow content) and can be invigorating and inspiring.


Branding colour psychology - brown.

This is such an underrated colour. Often passed by and neglected. Regularly dismissed. It’s underrated and underused, and that means it could make your brand stand out from the crowd.

It’s a colour that can represent safe, reliable or supportive brands. It’s also a common colour to use for anything nature-based, artisan or eco-friendly.

But no-one uses brown for brands right? Wrong. Here are a few examples… Hershey’s, UPS, Ferrero Rocher, Molton Brown.


Branding colour psychology - grey.

Another highly underrate colour in many ways, although the last few years have seen its popularity grow as more and more rooms in homes are painted grey with accents of colour in either a feature wall, soft furnishings or artwork (we have a fair few grey walls in our house too!).

When it comes to grey’s colour psychology, a positive is that it is neutral, a negative is that it can been seen as non-committal, draining, dull or lifeless. Used in the correct way, grey is never dull. Add a splash of citrusy yellow or lime and it comes alive. It can look graceful and sophisticated alongside purple or calming alongside blues.

It doesn’t bring attention to itself, but allows other colours to really shine.


Branding colour psychology - black.

Black can represent glamour, elegance and sophistication, it can convey substance and authority. As a colour it absorbs all light, reflecting nothing so it can convey an air of mystery or a protective barrier.

On the downside, it can express the opposite of all of its positives. It can be seen as menacing, scary, cold, unapproachable and too serious. It can be too heavy or oppressive.

It’s the colours we see with black that have the most emotional impact. A black insect flying past is annoying, but harmless. A black and yellow insect is one to avoid as it could be a wasp or bee. Black and white signage is usually informative, but often not essential. Black and yellow signs need to be noticed – usually offering a warning (think toxic or high voltage signs).

Using black in branding can work wonderfully, but adding the smallest hint of another colour can take it from being a cold and unapproachable, to becoming warmer and more inviting. A tiny change can make a larger impact that you might think.


Branding colour psychology - white.

White in a brand design – why would anyone need to think about white

Colour that isn’t there is just as important as those that are in certain circumstances – your website, on a letterhead or invoice, a PowerPoint presentation.

White is often an overlooked colour – but it’s such an important one.
It can show cleanliness, hygiene, clarity, simplicity and sophistication.
Not used enough on a website and things can be very difficult to read.

Never overlook the importance of white.

Pin for later. Branding colour psychology - an introduction.
Pin for later… Branding colour psychology – an introduction.

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