The Creative's Struggle & Hustle: Choosing Brand Colors
Updated: May 23, 2020
There are many important factors that go into establishing a recognizable brand. Did you know that one of the main factors is the color associated with a brand? For many creatives, this can be a challenging choice to make. Many brands will go through a few changes in color before settling on the color or colors that speak to their customer base and convey the appropriate message for their brand. And yet there are others that may not realize the importance of color in their visual brand strategy. Let's explore the psychology of brand color and how to select the right colors for your brand.
Why is color so important?
Color is very important in branding and marketing because it is one of the first impressions, as a brand, that is made on a customer. Colors are more than just a visual aid. They convey emotions, feelings, and experiences and play a vitally important role in the message your brand communicates to your customers. Color can sway thinking, change actions, and cause reactions. It can irritate or soothe your eyes, raise your blood pressure or suppress your appetite. With something that can cause such powerful reactions, you have to choose the right colors for your product, website, business card, marketing material, social media and/or logo.
84.7% of customers use color as the primary reason to purchase a particular product
80% of customers feel that color increases brand recognition
It only takes 90 seconds for a buyer to make a judgment about your brand and between 62% - 90% is based on the color alone
What are colors communicating?
Let's stop for a moment of clarification. You will see and hear a lot about what different colors communicate to the customer. However, when talking about the psychology of color, it's an exploration of the overall perception that consumers have in association with these colors. It is not universal, everyone will not experience your brand color the same way. People that encounter your brand will feel a certain way about your brand color based on their experiences, their view point and a number of other factors. When choosing a color it is important to look at it from the perspective of, what is the personality of your brand, and how do you want it to be perceived by your ideal client.
Color evokes emotions, so it makes sense to use color psychology, in marketing, to influence consumers. Here are some common feelings that may be evoked or perceived by the color chosen for your brand.
How to choose colors for your brand?
When deciding on my brand colors, for SaRatta Speaks, I searched Instagram and Pinterest and found both to be amazing sources of inspiration. Pinterest, ultimately, won as one of the simplest ways to create a vision board for my brand colors.
In 4 easy steps you can choose or reevaluate your business brand color(s).
From the chart above, select one main color that closely conveys the message of your brand's personality.
Go to Pinterest and search for images of that color. If you prefer Blue, you would type Blue into the search bar and see what comes up. For me, it was Pink. However, I am not a fan of the more common shade of pink which is very bold. I wanted to select a tint or shade that was more subtle. I had to be more specific with the shade or tint I wanted so I searched instead for Dusty Pink and Dusty Rose. If you want to specify a shade or tint of a certain color, search using that color. For example, Coral instead of Red or Orange, Turquoise instead of Blue or Green, or Mustard instead of Yellow.
This step is for you to identify colors that pair well with your main color. You want at least one other color that can work for your main color to create 2 dominant colors. Dominant colors are the colors that will be used most often in your marketing material, website and/or logo. They are the colors that most customers will know and recognize as your brand. To find another dominate color, now search for your color + color palette. I found Grey (and Navy Blue originally) as my other dominant color. This can also be used to find a few (maybe 2 or 3) secondary colors to be a part of your brand board (another must have that we will discuss later in the branding series to come).
Find your accent color! This is the color that will add a little spice to your dominate colors and is usually, on some level, a contrasting color so that it stands out. For my brand, I wanted to go bold since my other two colors, Dusty Pink and Muted Grey, were very subtle. I already knew I wanted either silver, gold or rose gold so I searched all three individually with the dominant colors to see which I prefered.
Establishing brand colors will help to facilitate many of the choices you will face when it comes to branding and choosing marketing material style and layout. Having brand colors that are consistent across all platforms, on your website, and in your marketing and advertising let's your ideal customer connect with and remember you.
Integrate your dominate and accent colors into all aspects of your marketing, branding and social media for maximum impact with your ideal audience.
Share any of your branding comments, questions or suggestions below.