A guide to choosing and using colour in branding

When creating a clear and consistent brand identity, one of the most important factors to consider is the main colour/s and tone/s to use. Strong and consistent colouring can help influence first time buyers and help established customers identify new products.


However, choosing a colour scheme for a brand is more difficult than simply picking your favourite colour – here is a guide to implementing a beneficial colour scheme in your branding.

What colours represent

Central to creating an effective and attractive brand is developing a personality which appeals to the target demographic. From the name of the company to the wording of the products/services – all aspects of a well-planned and effective branding campaign are consistent in their appeal and tone. The brand colouration is integral to this – representing the personality and ethics of the brand, and instantly helping customers and potential customers create a subconscious appraisal of the company and its products/services.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to picking the correct colour for a company’s branding – with different tones representing different personalities and qualities. Cymbolism is the online tool helping designers understand how tones are perceived by the masses. Here are a few examples:

Red – Power, passion, boldness, excitement, heat and love.

Orange – Warmth, friendliness, openness and honesty.

Yellow – Cheerfulness, happiness, energy, jubilation and youth.

Green – Natural, organic, trustworthy, affluent and profitable.

Blue – Progressive, trustworthy, intelligent, liberal and new.

Purple – Royal, decadent, romantic, sensual and elegant.

Brown – Rustic, down-to-earth, trustworthy and traditional.

Industry standards

Certain colour schemes have become widely used in certain industries and professions – demonstrating the shared qualities and ethics of the industries and the brands. A significant number of computing companies have adopted light-to-royal blues as their company tone. From Facebook to Skype and innumerable different brands in-between, computing companies have recognised the potential of branding in blue – with users recognising the progressive and trustworthy qualities imparted by the tone.

A spokesperson from branded and promotional product specialists Leighmans, explains: “With more choice than ever, customers sometimes will only give products and services a few seconds to impress. This means it is vital that the brand colour scheme instantly grabs the attention of the customer and instantly assures them that their product/service is for them.”

Involved management

It can be tempting to leave branding choices and execution to designers – believing them to be the best qualified for the job. However, the management team and the people most involved with the brand will understand its personality better than anyone – putting them in a privileged position when developing an accurately-representative brand identity.

Measured application

It is often the case in branding that less is more, with overbearing application of the chosen brand colour/s alienating customers and putting them off using your services. If you are opening a branded store and have settled on bright orange as the most beneficial brand colour – it may be inadvisable to install bright orange fixtures throughout the location. Measured use of the branded colour can help retain the sense of identity without appearing overbearing and difficult on the eye.

Implementing secondary and tertiary tones to the branding guidelines can ensure that the main brand colour will not overpower and alienate the audience – whilst retaining identity.