Do you speak color?
What color is your message?
Color is a critical element in building a memorable brand. Here’s some of the latest thinking — along with a few tips on making your story more colorful.
Like everything else in branding, choosing color is about connecting with your audience. It’s about what they see, hear and feel — and it’s about how they respond. For years, psychologists, designers and other experts have studied human responses to color. They’ve found that people consistently associate certain colors with specific feelings and emotions. Orange, for example, is associated with increased appetite and hunger. So the best way to choose colors for a brand identity is to focus on the customer and the emotion you want to evoke. How do you want them to see you, what emotions do you want to stir, and how do you want them to respond?
Here’s a list of some popular colors and their most commonly ascribed attributes. Of course, not all colors evoke the same feelings in different parts of the world — these are generally accepted findings in Western culture.
RED: courage, power, war, passion, love, desire
ORANGE: creativity, youth, endurance, heat, success
YELLOW: joy, intellect, energy
GREEN: growth, calm, harmony, healing, freedom
BLUE: depth, trust, stability, loyalty, precision, strength
PURPLE: royalty, ambition, mystery, independence
BLACK: elegance, authority, strength, prestige
WHITE: purity, perfection, cold, innocence, faith
BROWN: masculinity, stability, nature
GOLD: quality, wealth, prestige, wisdom
Blending in, standing out
So, if all this science suggests there’s a “right” color for every kind of buyer and every kind of business, then how does a brand bent on being different set itself apart? For starters, not every financial services corporation has to choose exactly the same shade of safe, dependable blue. There are lots of blues out there — and still more colors to pair with them. A navy-blue-and-gray logo, for example, says something very different compared to a sky-blue logo with a pop of orange.
The trick is to use what we know about color as a jumping-off point for strategic thinking and creative exploration. And in some cases, it might even make sense to break the rules and claim a color not typically found in the category.
The big picture
Many businesses fall into the trap of confusing an identity with a brand. They focus so much attention on making a great logo and picking a color palette that they lose sight of the real objective: creating connections with their customers. Color is only one of many moving parts that make up an integrated brand. The best brands start with a clear promise and personality— and then use color, voice, photography, design and other means to tell their stories.
Color us good thinkers
For a business looking to connect with more of the people that matter most, color is hardly an arbitrary decision based on personal preference or current trends. It’s a combination of consumer psychology and your brand’s personality. So if you want your clients to feel something and connect with your brand on an emotional level, step back and look at the colors you’re incorporating into your palette, and call MasonBaronet. Where choosing a color palette is a thoughtful, deliberate process driven by strategy, validated by research, and informed by experience. Together, let’s focus your message and create a sharper, more vibrant brand.