Color Psychology in Marketing & Branding

color psychology in marketing
pepsi logo recurpost

Can you guess this brand? 

.

.

I’m sure you guessed it correctly. It’s Pepsi. 

But what gave it away? 

Colors?  

Researchers have proved that colors are an essential and most natural aspect when it comes to capturing your attention. Additionally, colors are known to evoke feelings and affect our moods.

Marketers use colors to communicate about their services/products. That’s why they play a crucial role in making people recall your brand identity when they see such a set of colors. 

With the knowledge of color psychology, you’ll be able to talk about your brand in a more visually appealing way. 

Before diving into the psychology part, let’s brush up our knowledge of colors. 

Primary

Red, Blue, and Yellow are on top of all the color structure. If you are going to create a post on the web – you need to use RGB, but if you are to print your creative, you need to use CMYK because, for a printer, the primary colors are Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. 

Secondary 

Purple, green orange are the colors you get by mixing the primary colors. It is obvious if you mix a more significant proportion of red with a yellow, you are going to get reddish orange and so on. 

Tertiary

The colors you obtain by mixing one primary and one secondary color. There are six shades, and these compound colors (“two colors”) can be named as  red-orange, blue-green, etc

What makes a single color differ?

Even though they are shades of red, why is that they all appear different? 

Münsell classifies colors based on three components:

1. Hue 

Also known as pure colors and can be defined as an attribute of a color that can be classed as red, orange, yellow, green, and purple. These are colors a part of our visible spectrum. 

In simple words, it means the value of a color that helps you identify the color “Red” when you see a red object. 

2. Value 

Value means the level of brightness of a hue. You can know how dark or light the color is. 

The colors having high value are called Tints. They are achieved by mixing white to the hue, which in turn makes it look brighter. At times, they are also called the pastels. 

When black is added to the hue, they are called shade. These colors have low value and appear darker. 

3. Chroma

It represents the degree of vividness of a color or how a hue is when compared to its representative on the Münsell color wheel.  Low chroma looks like the color is faded whereas high chroma makes the color look rich. 

“Chroma, or Chromaticity, refers to the color “vector,” which would be its angle around the color wheel, and its distance from the center of the wheel towards the edge. “

So how are colors related to psychology?

Color Psychology 

It is a branch of psychology which deals with how color affects and stimulates the human brain. 

Three “subjective” actors that determine the possible feelings associated with colors. 

Experience

It is quite possible that for you “red” is associated with fear because of blood, even if red is for enthusiasm. Mostly the association found with colors remain quite the same, but your past experiences have a say on what color symbolizes for you. 

Culture

Culture plays an important role in determining the meaning of a color. In India, you don’t wear black clothes to a funeral whereas in America people wear black colored clothes which signifies mourning. 

If you are planning to expand your business, you need to be aware of what color signifies in culture as they might have negative connotations which could hamper your growth. 

Context

Colors might have different meanings in different settings. For example, the color “red” – it is the color of attraction on dates, but it becomes a sign of failure when students see their mark sheets covered in red ink. 

Despite these varying factors, people tend to share a similar association with the colors. You can check the infographic below to understand what color signifies

Gender-associated with colors 

A study by Joe Hallock suggests that blue is the most preferred color and orange the least for male and female. But the disparity occurs on the color purple.

Women prefer purple color and men don’t. That’s why you might have observed there is a less purple colored product for men.

It is found that men prefer shades and bold, whereas women tints and softer colors. 

Therefore you need to keep your target audience in mind before selling your products or creating a brand identity. 

Brands and their color significance

According to a study called Impact of Color in Marketing, researchers have found approximately 90% of judgments made about products is based on color alone.

Let’s talk about “Apple.” They are a pro-white color to show a clean and simple design. Every brand chooses colors in accordance to what compliances with their product and target customers.

Here’s an infographic of famous brands on their choice of colors and what does it signify. 

Here are some psychological tips on using colors for your brand 

  1. There is nothing like ugly colors.
  2. “Blue” is the color that all human beings can see even the ones who are color blind. 
  3. Cool colors decrease the level of arousal, and warm color increases the level of arousal. If you want them to make a quick decision, you call for Warm colors for CTA. 
  4.  Heuristic Processing ( Simple & quick thinking ) requires the use of warm colors.
  5. Systematic Processing ( Rational analysis) involves the use of cool colors.
  6. Best way to capture the attention of your audience is to use contrast.
  7. If you want to trigger a behavioral response to your product/service – use warm colors. It works like a wonder. 
  8. If you want your target audience to like the product, you can use short wavelength colors, like blue or bright colors like white and grey. 
  9. If your product is more on severe end – use fewer colors and vice versa.
  10. If your content is heavy, you should choose light, and you can play around with colors if your content is light.
  11. Monochromatic tones can be used to communicate & sophistication.
  12. Analogous colors increase the harmony of your design.
  13. Triadic colors are considered the best at highlighting your product. You can use one color for the content and other two to on your background. 
  14. If you want to create contrast, complementary colors are favorable for that. 

Now with a brief idea of colors and their meaning behind it, now you don’t have to choose colors randomly.

You can analyze the choice of colors to create a unique brand identity or communicate your product.

However, keep experimenting as the color psychology is a novel and controversial field where the preference of your audience keeps on changing.

Please add your thoughts in comments below.

2 Comments

  1. Elisabeth July 3, 2019 Reply

    Thank you for this, I have heard a bit about colour psychology before and found it very interesting – always good to be reminded of this when creating content

  2. Doris Harkness July 5, 2019 Reply

    I have gravitated to blue for years. Must be the trust-worthy part and appeals to both sexes. I sell industrial equipment so it makes sense that we have it in our corporate logo!

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