Learn how to choose your brand colour palette and the psychology behind the colours.
Choosing your brand colours can be a daunting process, so knowing whether you should select navy, sapphire or indigo can be quite overwhelming. Colours are an impactful way of expressing personality, intent and market position within your brand, so you don’t have to say a word.
The psychology of colour
Certain colours inspire emotions or feelings and they can influence the way people feel about your brand.
It can play an important part in choosing your brand colours, but what do the colours mean?
Red symbolises power, strength, passion, love and energy, however, it can also represent danger.
It stimulates quick decision making and has been shown to increase metabolic rate and raise blood pressure.
Orange symbolises warmth, confidence and innovation.
It is used for creative purposes so works well in younger brands. It can stimulate appetite and mental activity, so if effective in food advertising.
Yellow symbolises optimism, happiness, warmth and creativity. Often is used to attract attention.
However, if overused can show slight instability, which is why babies cry more in yellow rooms.
Pink symbolises creativity, imagination, balance and passion.
It’s often used for romance, and can is thought to have a calming effect, however, can also be powerful as it represents the feminine principle.
Brown symbolises warmth, seriousness, earthiness, reliability.
It can envoke strength and solidarity and stimulate feelings of safety and dependability in a brand.
Black symbolises security, authority and substance.
It is often associated with elegance and formality, but also death and evil so should be used carefully. It works really well with bright colours.
White depicts cleanliness, purity, simplicity and faith.
It can be used to promote creativity as it provides and clean base for other colours.
Green symbolises health, relaxation, harmony and nature.
It is often used to promote safety and tranquility and can stimulate harmony in the brain giving a balance between body and mind.
Blue symbolises trust, loyalty, serenity and security.
It is often used to promote cleanliness and stability. It can stimulate productivity, which is perfect for a technology brand.
Purple symbolises royalty, wisdom, sophistication and luxury.
It’s associated with magic and often used by toy brands. Apparently, 75% of children prefer the colour of purple.
Not all brand colours are equal
However, recently there has been more persuasion that not all red, blue or greens define one personality characteristic. For example, green is considered calming, but would you look at a dark teal, sage and lime green and agree for all those tones that they’re calming? It’s important to understand this, so you can refine your brand colours.
The Five Brand Personalities
The best way to develop your colour palette is to start by figuring out who your brand is. Jennifer Aaker says there are five core dimensions when it comes to branding. Brands can cross over a couple of the below personality but are predominantly ruled by one.
Take a look at the personalities and their descriptions below and think about which one you relate to the most.
A sincere brand is down to earth, friendly, real original, cheerful and honest. You want everyone to feel like your friend and part of your family. You want to come across as warm and welcoming to all your customers.
Down to Earth
An exciting brand is one that’s more daring, young and unique. You want to push the norms and express yourself through your brand. You’re more likely to be independent and trendy.
A competent brand is one that is hard-working, corporate and often technical. You want to be a leader in your industry, confident and professional at all times.
A sophisticated brand oozes glamour, bring unique touches to everything they do. Often selling high-end products that are feminine, but also charming.
A rugged brand is tough, not afraid to be masculine and proud to be outdoors. They want to want to show confidence and strength through their branding.
A full brand colour palette
It’s important to choose a selection of colours that compliment each other, but also to support your brand personality. Don’t pick a bright neon pink if you’re going for sophisticated, but it’s the perfect colour for excitement.
In a colour palette, there is usually a couple of neutrals, a couple of primary colours and a couple of accents, to help things sparkle.
I’ve put together an example palette for each of the above brand personalities in green hues to help you think about how you could apply that for your brand.
1. Sincerity uses warm tones to show a welcome environment. The colours are calming and friendly.
2. Excitement brings in more brights and things that get you excited when you see it.
3. Competence is more a corporate palette, using monochromes and minimal colours.
4. Sophistication can use rich colours that show elegance, maybe even throw in a few metallics for pure elegance.
5. Ruggedness chooses natural colours with warmth to them to help get across the earthly feel to a brand.
Where do I start?
So I haven’t answered any questions or helped you get your brand colours in 3 easy steps. There is no right or wrong when you’re choosing colours, therefore it can be tricky.
Think about where your brand is on the list above and look at what colours you like and would represent your brand well. There are some basics principles you can take from the psychology of colour. For example, if you have an outdoor business, choose a natural colour palette like green.
I would suggest doing several palettes and with a critical eye looking at whether they represent you and your brand. Ask your friends and family, gets lots of thoughts and then try and figure out what is best for your brand colours.