To stand out in crowded marketplaces, you need a strong brand. The message and narrative behind the image you want to project should be clear and relatable but you also need to think carefully about the colour palette you select to represent your company.
As humans are visual beings, colour can affect people’s emotions and influence their feelings in myriad ways. Understanding the ways that specific colours can make your audience feel and the connections they might make when looking at certain hues is important in selecting a colour palette that is fully representative of your brand, your personality and your values.
Research composed by the Institute for Color Research indicates that consumers often make a subconscious judgement about a product, environment or person within 90 seconds and, interestingly, between 60% and 90% of that judgement is based upon colour. Additionally, a study conducted by the University of Loyola suggests that colour can increase brand recognition by as much as 80%.
Colour theory is, therefore, an integral part of the branding process. Once you understand the specific connotations behind each colour, you will be better equipped to select hues that will help you to execute a positive and effective rebrand that will communicate your story, boost your brand recognition and contribute to your overall brand comprehension.
So, let’s run through some of the thoughts and feelings that different colours can stimulate.
Often associated with fire and the heat of the sun, red is a stimulating colour that can raise blood pressure and heighten feelings of energy, passion, power, danger, or love. With the power to evoke strong emotions, red is often used in restaurants to stimulate the appetites of diners and in retail environments to create a sense of urgency surrounding special offers.
An optimistic and hopeful hue, yellow tones can increase feelings of warmth and cheerfulness, stimulate mental processes and the nervous system and encourage communication. Although it can show clarity and may be an effective way to capture attention, certain yellow tones can cause strain and fatigue on the eyes.
Closely connected with the sky and the sea, blue tones can lower blood pressure and calm the senses whilst also promoting feelings of cleanliness, trust, order and security. In addition to increasing productivity in corporate environments, blue tones can increase the sense of trust and security consumers have in a brand.
Notably, blue is the world’s favourite colour and studies conducted as early as 1941 indicated our collective preference for this cool hue. The explanation for this is that it is tricky to think of anything negative to associate with blue tones.
The ability to provoke feelings of warmth, balance and energy make orange a versatile colour. In addition to reflecting enthusiasm and excitement, oranges are particularly adept at communicating a call-to-action that will encourage audiences to complete a specific action.
People often associate green with good luck, jealousy, health, and nature. Green is the colour used in night vision goggles because the human eye is able to differentiate the most shades of it. It is used in retail environments to create a relaxing environment and green hues are also often associated with wealth and fertility.
Purple hues can stimulate feelings of mystery, royalty, arrogance or spirituality. It is a calming colour that also shows success and wealth. Purple hues are used to represent a brand that is imaginative, wise and creative.
It is important to note here that personal preferences can also play a role in an individual's perception of your brand. According to another study, colours most commonly disliked by both men and women include brown, yellow and orange. Whilst purple was cited as the least favourite colour of almost 25% of all male respondents, only 8% of female respondents felt similarly. It would, however, be superficial to propose that male consumers wouldn’t identify with a brand solely because it had a logo featuring purple tones.
There can be no guarantee that using a particular colour palette will help you to secure long-term success. However, making the right decisions early on in your rebranding process is certain to help you to shape a strong brand identity that will resonate with your audience.
There are undeniable connections between colour and perception and in developing a rebranding strategy, you will need to focus upon those all-important connections with your audience. There is no single correct set of choices here.
Joe Day is the founder of Signman, a Bristol and Bath based sign company.