It is pretty much impossible to overestimate how important branding is for a business, whether you are a small, brand new start up or a massive corporation. Your brand is the shorthand people have in their heads for everything you stand for – your attitudes, your level of innovation, you approachability, and your vision.
Most people are already aware that branding is about more than just your logo. It should be reflected wherever it can be, from the uniforms your people wear when they face the public to your website and your office décor. A big part of this broader branding is the colour palette you use, but just how important is it to get that right?
The psychology of colours
Colour is actually very important, because it passes small, very subtle messages to the people who see it about your brand. A lot of research has been done on the effects of different colours on consumers. Red, for example, is a colour people are thought to associate with urgency and danger. This is why it is almost always used to advertise sales – the red drives home the message that these offers won’t be around forever and that it would be a bad thing to miss out. It is designed to inspire us to act and buy immediately and impulsively. Blue, on the other hand is a calmer colour, and is therefore used to advertise ‘good value’ – it communicates that buying these things is a sensible choice. There are other effects too – warm colors like red and orange have been shown to make people hungry, so they are often used in the brands of restaurants. Green has strong symbolic links to the environment, so companies who use green branding tend to be seen as socially and environmentally responsible.
Secondary messages from your chosen colour scheme
As well as the colours themselves, the shades you choose also tell your customers something about you. Bright primary colours are associated with children, and give your brand a family friendly feel. Neon and acid brights are seen as young and trendy. Pastels can be seen as feminine, whereas rich, deep shades like burgundy give a sense of traditionalism. The density of colours is important too – a colourful palette sends a different message to black and white with one accent colour.
Choosing your palette is crucial
When it comes to your brand, never be vague about colour. When you got married you spent weeks agonising over the exact right shade of mint bridesmaid dresses for your big day, and your business brand will be visible for a lot longer so you need to take it seriously. Choose the exact shades, with HEX values, rather than just saying ‘dark blue’ or ‘pink’. Put these in your style guide and make sure every design element sticks to them rigidly. It will make a lot of sense in the long run!
Colour can have a bigger impact on consumers than you may think, so make your brand colour choices wisely!