The psychology of colour in branding
“Visual perception is the primary sense humans have for exploring and making sense of their environment. Colours trigger a diverse set of responses within the cerebral cortex of the brain and throughout the central nervous system,” brand strategist Thomas Dawson explains
. “The proper perception of colour has been one of the key drivers of human evolution. If colour is that important to human evolution, just think how important it is to building the value of your brand.”
While you might not spend a lot of time thinking about colour as it pertains to branding elements like logos, web design, graphics, and social media content, you should probably start paying attention to it.
Here are a few things you need to know about how colours impact consumer psychology in the digital age:1. Colours trigger associations with brands
“A brand’s logo has the ability to drive purchasing decisions and increase its recognition. Colour even triggers certain emotions in people,” entrepreneur Rose Leadem writes
. “Red has been seen to trigger stimulation and appetite, as well as grab attention – that’s why brands such as Frito Lay, Coca-Cola and Budweiser utilise the bright colour. Blue creates a sense of trust and reliability – seen in logos such as Facebook, CitiBank and Samsung.”
It’s not just billion-dollar corporations that utilise colours to prompt specific brand associations with consumers – smaller companies can do the same. Take Bobby Ford Tractor & Equipment
as an example. They are strategic about the products they sell – working with brands like Kubota, Echo, and Bad Boy, which are all predominantly orange – a colour that’s seen as creative, confident, and friendly. This sort of consistency forges a mental connection with customers that improves brand recall.2. Don’t forget about negative space
While most people think about bright colours like reds, oranges, and blues when discussing the psychology of colour, don’t overlook the importance and influence of negative space – also known as white space.
Visit some of today’s leading websites and you’ll notice that most of them are using lots of white space to present a clean and sophisticated look. This is a purposeful approach designed to eliminate distractions and promote seamless user experiences. If you fear that your website is too “busy” on the visual front, some white space
could do wonders for user engagement.3. Be aware of your audience
In today’s global marketplace, one of the biggest challenges is using colour in a way that resonates with a variety of people in different cultures. For example, white is associated with purity in the United States, while many Asian cultures see it as the colour of mourning.
“Colour perceptions and meanings change with race, age, social class, gender and religion,” Dawson explains. “The demographics and psychographics that are most dominate in the culture will be an important consideration in selecting the colour that represents your brand in markets the brand serves.”Don’t overlook the power of colour
Colour isn’t something you choose arbitrarily because you have a personal affinity for a certain “look.” It goes much deeper than this. From logo and web design to content marketing and product packaging, how you present different colours to the marketplace will have a direct impact on your bottom line. Make sure you’re paying careful attention to this aspect of branding moving forward.