As an art student, I remember spending entire classes studying color. Color is a powerful tool that impacts our feelings and behaviors. For example, studies have found that individuals in blue or green colored rooms feel more peaceful, while orange and yellow rooms evoke warmth and – funny enough – hunger! There are many interesting studies on how color has impacted human behavior. For example, in 2000, Glasgow installed blue street lighting in specific neighborhoods. They later reported low rates of crime in those areas.
Color impacts our lives daily. It is an especially powerful tool for marketing and branding.
Color impacts how a customer views and perceives a brand or product. Hot sauce is often packaged in bright red, orange, and yellow packaging – the same colors as fire – to emphasize the heat. Bread is often packaged in golden, warm tones – emphasizing that it’s freshly baked and warm. Blue is often used in medical products, because it evokes peacefulness, cleanliness, security, and reliability.
How Color Psychology Impacts Branding
Today, I’m excited to share with you what common meanings and moods are behind specific colors! To be clear, the emotions felt with each color will vary person to person. This is because every person’s individual experiences are so different, and so one person can have a very positive reaction to a color, while another person will loath that color. However, there are consistent feelings and behaviors associated with color in marketing.
Another thing to consider is to think about your specific product. The same colors can be used for very different products, and they will give very different feelings based on the product. For example, green is often used by Animal Planet, probably because it evokes a feeling of nature. However, green is also used by Spotify. They use a bright, vibrant green that gives a modern, fresh feel for their brand. So, as you research and choose colors, be sure to keep your product in mind! Context is important!
Creates a sense of urgency. It’s a warm color, often associated with cooking and food. In some cases, it is shown to physically stimulate the body by raising blood pressure and heart rate. It’s also associated with excitement, danger, energy, and passion.
Orange often represents adventure, enthusiasm, creativity, and balance. One of the most recognized brands that use orange is Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon is a channel based around children, so the orange is perfect to show playfulness, enthusiasm, and creativity.
Yellow is the color of optimism. It revolves around happiness, sunshine, positivity, and summer time. It is actually the brightest color of the visible spectrum, and is the most noticeable of all colors – even more so than red, although red is a close second!
In marketing, green is most closely related to money and nature. It evokes impressions of growth and health. Companies such as Fidelity and Whole Foods use this color in their logos and branding. Fidelity, because the green symbolizes both growth and money – a positive combination for investing and banking. Whole Foods, because their food is thought to be natural, organic, and healthy – close to nature.
Blue seems to be the most peaceful, calm, relaxing color. It can also be associated with quality, reliability, and safety. This is why it’s often used for medical and health products, such as toothbrushes and skincare. Many companies add their guarantee or free shipping icons in blue to strengthen the feeling of trust and safety. Blue is also closely associated with the ocean and the sky.
In history, purple has been associated with power, royalty, and luxury. This is because it used to be one of the most expensive colors to reproduce in clothing. The values (or amount of white or black added to the color) can impact the feel as well. Light purples are often viewed as fresh, feminine, and peaceful, while darker purples can be associated with luxury or power.
White is often thought to show innocence, purity, and cleanliness. It’s often used in e-commerce, because it’s clean and keeps the entire focus of the viewer on the product. Brands such as ASOS, Nike, Apple, and Squarespace use this color. The clean, crisp whites can give a modern, clean, light, sleek impression.
Brown is a natural, earthy color. It’s often thought to emulate comfort, down to earth attitudes, and nature. It’s often used for natural products and food.
Gray often represents neutrality and balance. It’s a mixture of white and black, which are two opposites of the spectrum. It is a timeless color that appeals to almost everyone, because it doesn’t make a loud statement. Apple uses gray in much of it’s marketing, because it emulates the sleek, simple designs of their products. Gray can help maintain a sleek, clean, timeless design to a brand.
High end brands often use black in their branding. It evokes feelings of mystery, elegance, sophistication, and power. Black is often paired with white and gray, and contrasts well against a white background. One example of a company that uses black in their branding is Chanel. In that example, black helps to emphasize the sophisticated elegance of the brand.
Thanks for reading this basic overview of color psychology in marketing! Not only do the colors you use make an impact on your brand, but also how you use them. Different colors paired together will create different effects, which is a fascinating thing to study and play with as an artist.
Have any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me here!