You are all set to launch that big business idea you have been working on for months. But you can’t seem to decide the right colors for your brand. Well, you are not the only one. Choosing the right colors for a brand is every brand owner’s conundrum. And that’s why you need to look at this not as a one-shot decision but a step by step process.
Before you do anything, you need to determine what your brand is all about. The name, design, symbol, logo, or any other feature of your brand collectively form the ‘brand identity’. And the process is called Brand Identity Design. But what does it represent? The identity of your business, just like your personal one, goes beyond the physical features and visual elements, and extends to the feelings and emotions that it evokes in people when they see your brand.
For example, food brands like Tropicana evoke a sense of calm and freshness. On the other hand, Time Magazine emanates a feeling of power and strength. This is because of the color that these brands use to represent themselves. As a brand owner you must define the kind of emotion you want to evoke in your audience.
Humans are emotional creatures, and truth be told, most of our decisions are driven by emotions. As a brand, even though you have the perfect symbolism to tell your story, it can do only so much for your audience. Hence the play of colors to make your users connect with your business idea on an emotional level.
Color psychology and brand identity
Psychoanalysts and neuroscientists believe that what consumers feel when they see a brand is more impactful that what they actually think about it. Research has proven that colors play an important role in driving those feelings. Here’s a quick checklist of standard colors and their related emotions, followed by brands which use their signature color.
Power, passion, energy, confidence, attention.
Visually intense, red is said to increase the heart rate, whether in excitement, hunger, or urgency. That’s why most fast food brands use red as a primary color, followed by media publications, awareness programs and so on.
Playfulness, excitement, creativity, warmth.
Orange is believed to activate the brain and bring a feeling of enthusiasm. It shows a brand is friendly, light-hearted, yet confident like fruit drinks, paint companies, candies etc.
Cheer, happiness, optimism, friendliness.
Yellow is associated with fun. Needless to say, the classic emojis have been designed keeping these emotions in mind.
Nature, prosperity, freshness, environment
Green represents Earth and Mother Nature which also means growth. Hence food brands, organic products, or even finance companies use green to represent these sentiments.
Trust, security, formality, professionalism.
Most institutions like banking, medical, education, insurance, etc. use blue to define their personality.
Royalty, creativity, luxury, fantasy, magic.
Since ancient times, purple was used in royal emblems and garbs denoting luxury and exclusivity. Most beauty and jewelry brands, travel companies, confectionaries etc. use purple to reflect an ‘elevated’ feeling.
Feminism, youth, sweetness, warmth.
Pink has always been used as a feminine color. Hence most women-centric brands use pink as their identification. Because pink also emanates a warm and hearty feeling, it is widely used for food, especially dessert brands.
Earth, ruggedness, manliness, ancient.
Most pubs, country-style restaurants, beer brands etc. use brown in their brand design. Brown alsp reflects a vintage brand persona.
Purity, health, virtue.
Brands mostly combine white with black or grey to represent nobility and subtlety. You would find white mostly in sports brands or digital devices. When combined with blue, it instills a sense of trust, like in healthcare or education brands.
Class, sophistication, elegance, seriousness.
A no-frill monochrome, black represents exclusivity and glamor. It also creates a sense of mystery. Luxury products, digital devices, and vintage brands are more inclined to black to add an edginess to their identity.
How to find the right color for your brand design?
Once you know what you want your audience to feel about your brand, it’s time to execute the theory into a practical exercise. Typically, choosing the right color for your brand involves a 4-step process:
Step 1: Gather inspiration
We all love a little inspiration from around us. Observe and follow trends in brand design and find that sweet spot.
Step 2: Define your brand persona
Think of your brand as a person. If your brand was a human, who would it be? What would be his/her personality traits? Make a note of the character attributes and associate relevant colors to it.
Step 3: Determine the color tones
Image source: Pinterest
Once you have the main colors in place, choose the tones, tints, and shades for each color from the color wheel and create your own combination.
Step 4: Define your color palette
Pick the strongest emotion/s and its associated colors. This will give you the dominant colors of your brand. Then follow it with 3 to 5 secondary colors or accent colors. Remember to stick to a color scheme like:
Image source: Pinterest
When it comes to creativity, there are no strict rules. But to get it right, consistent, and sustainable, you definitely need a process-driven approach to brand design. Ultimately it is so critical to the organization’s connection to the prospective clients. If software and tutorials become overwhelming, seek advice of experts from agencies like Walnut Folks to help you create the right brand identity.
Author Bio: Diksha Dhandhania is a Brand Associate at Walnut Folks. She has a keen interest in implementing branding solutions to help organizations achieve business results. Her organization, Walnut Folks is a holistic growth driven marketing agency with expertise in data, design, and technology. With over 8+ years of experience in entrepreneurship, and working with the biggest agencies, the founding team hails from the most reputed institutes of the country. They understand the startup ecosystem and believe in creating frugal marketing solutions.