How to Use Color Psychology to Your Advantage

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4 Things to consider before choosing your brand colors

When it comes to color psychology in marketing, there’s a lot of information floating around the internet about what colors will work best for your brand and the different emotions colors can make people feel. But the truth is, there’s more to selecting your brand’s color palette than “red means x and blue means y, so I’ll go with those.” Color psychology is far from a perfect science, but when used correctly, it can be a great tool for building your brand. So, instead of rehashing a list of colors and what emotions they elicit, we have some tips to keep in mind before you even think about breaking out the swatches.

1. Define brand first, color second

When choosing brand colors, the most important thing to remember is that color should be used as a supplement. Say you’re starting a sporting goods brand and want to use orange for your logo because it’s a fun and active color. That’s fine, but make sure you’ve already defined your brand as fun and active. Otherwise your brand is representing the color when it should be the other way around. Understanding who you are first by defining your brand’s mission statement and core values will go a long way toward avoiding this.

2. Remember your audience!

You keep your audience in mind when you’re making any important business decisions and choosing your brand colors sure is a big one. While the data isn’t as cliché as one might think (Turns out blue isn’t just for boys), color preference is shown to differ by both gender and age. Probably why there aren’t many pink football helmets on store shelves. Like we mentioned before, it’s more important to figure out your brand first and choose color second, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore all conventionality and use lime green and magenta to represent your law firm.

3. Color meanings aren’t universal

If I say the word “green,” what comes to mind? For most people, it’s either nature or money, which are two very different things. And there lies the problem with relying on colors as the sole communicator of your brand. They almost always mean different things to different people. It’s not a secret that personal experiences shape people’s perception of everything, including color. So be aware that while white may represent brightness and cleanliness to you, it could seem cold and sterile to a good chunk of your target audience. Conducting surveys or focus groups is a great way to learn consumers’ feelings on certain colors before you choose.

4. Check out the competition

Unless you have a monopoly over your particular industry, there are probably other companies offering a similar service to yours and trying to reach a similar audience (the nerve!). While there are many ways to differentiate yourself from the competition, color is especially effective. Studies show that when consumers see certain shades of colors, it’s possible for them to immediately associate them with popular brands. Think of Facebook’s blue or McDonald’s globally known combo of red and yellow. The last thing you want is to be lumped in with a competitor you’re radically different from just because you both use sky blue in your branding. In short, see what they’re doing and be different (and better).


Congratulations on graduating from our crash course in color psychology! Still not sure what colors are right for you? Drop us a line and we’ll figure it out together.

 

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