3 min read

Choosing the right colour for your brand

Published on
November 15, 2023
Phoenix Baker
Product Manager
Lana Steiner
Product Designer
Drew Cano
Frontend Engineer
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Colours are not just a visual feast. They are powerful communicators that convey emotions, set the tone, and create lasting impressions. Nike choosing the red and white colour palette for much of its history was a well-thought-out decision. Coca-Cola’s colours beating Pepsi when it came to brand identity despite the fact that in blind taste tests, participants chose the Pepsi soda was astounding for marketers.

When companies choose a colour that represents their brand, it is not a random choice but a strategic one. Colours have the ability to encourage decision-making. This is why companies invest considerable time, resources, and thought into selecting the perfect hues that will showcase their brand to the world. The process is a fascinating blend of psychology, market research, and creative intuition.

The Colourful Language of Emotion

You’ve probably read the symbolic meanings behind colours. Red for passion and excitement, yellow for hope and joy, blue for trust and peace, the list goes on. Colours speak a silent language that resonates with our emotions and influences our perceptions. When selecting a colour palette for your brand, ask yourself this question, “what is the message that I want to convey?” Or “how do I want my target audience to perceive my brand?” Spend some time finding the one colour that aligns with your brand's personality.

Understanding the Target Audience

One of the first considerations when choosing a colour for a brand is the target audience. Different colours evoke distinct emotions and resonate with specific demographics. A younger audience will be more attracted to vibrant and bold colours but as they grow older, they might prefer more traditional ones. Understanding the preferences, lifestyles, and values of the target demographic lays the foundation for an effective color strategy.

Cultural Context

According to a research by the Adobe Experience Cloud team, the colour blue seems to be the winning color, as it shows up in 33% of the top 100 brands. Blue is called a “universal colour” as it is a preference of all genders. If your brand’s target audience are men, you’d steer away from colours such as purple as these are largely known to appeal to women. Adobe’s research shows that the most popular colours among the world’s top brands are blue, red, black, and yellow.

The Power of Simplicity

Your target audience already have complicated lives. They are busy. They want simple solutions to their problems. Hence, they don’t have time to notice the intricate design of your logo or brand. When it comes to simplicity, we take notes from Apple or Google’s minimalistic approach to design and colour. This kind of approach is also evident in how their products aim to make people’s lives easier. The approach to simplicity should be all-encompassing— simple experiences for customers, intuitive user interfaces, fast service, easy navigation, and sleek and minimalistic design.

Brand Personality and Values

Brand colours are a way to showcase your brand’s personality and values with creativity. A luxury brand may opt for elegant and sophisticated colors to convey exclusivity, while an eco-friendly brand might choose earthy tones to align with its commitment to sustainability. You may think that Starbucks chose green as this colour depicts wealth and stability, but it could also refer to how the company chooses to ethically source their coffee products and makes sure that their farmers are cared for and compensated well. Ultimately, your brand’s colours should be based on how you want to be perceived by your target audience, especially in the long run, as you are going to repetitively and consistently use your brand’s colours in your website, social media, storefront, staff uniforms, advertisements, and so on.

Standing Out in the Spectrum

While it is important to consider your competitors, industry norms, and cultural contexts, don't be afraid to deviate and create your own visual identity. One of the ways to stand out is to apply the “isolation effect”. Among your brand’s colours, you isolate this one colour so that it stands out more. This way, you’re motivating your audience to focus more on that isolated colour. This isolated colour also becomes an “action colour” as you’re encouraging people to click on it, especially if it’s used on your buttons and links.

Testing the Waters

Before committing to a specific colour palette, consider testing it with your target audience. You can do this by conducting surveys and focus groups. You can also conduct A/B tests of your brand’s colours. Prepare different colour ways and test them with a specific audience to gather data on user behaviour and conversion rates. You also need to test which among the colour variations of your call-to-actions (CTAs) is more effective and noticeable.

Your colour palette is the silent ambassador of your brand. It speaks to your audience, communicates your values, and is a huge factor on whether they would like to purchase your product or service, even if your colours or logo doesn’t have any text on it.

The best designs for your brand are a combination of psychology knowledge, in-depth market research, creativity, and years of graphic design experience.

We invite you to schedule a 30-minute free consultation with one of our graphic design experts for your logo and branding needs. Contact us to schedule your free consultation!