What color is your brand?

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Believe it or not, the color scheme of your logo or marketing materials could have an effect on the buying process.

According to researchers, up to 90-percent of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone, depending on the product. (Impact of Color Marketing)

While colors are carefully considered when choosing a logo, those decisions are generally based on appearance. It’s time to also consider the psychology of those colors.

“Color is ubiquitous and is a source of information. People make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products. About 62‐90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone. So, prudent use of colors can contribute not only to differentiate products from competitors but also to influencing moods and feelings–positively or negatively–and therefore, to attitude towards certain products,” according to the research of Satyendra Singh, Department of Administrative Studies, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Canada.

Stereotyping Color and Emotion

Most of the color theory assigning emotion to color branding is too general and stereotypical. For example, these are the kinds of emotions tied to colors on charts all over the Internet:

  • Red is angry
  • Blue is calm
  • Yellow is happy

Depending on personal experience and the context, these might not be wrong. However, marketers and designers can’t take these simplistic color charts seriously. It’s all about context. For example, some people will associate white with anything from snow sports to death to blandness to purity. Some people have had good experiences with blue, and others have negative thoughts about any cool tones. Some colors can even evoke a response based on where a customer went to school.

It’s impossible to gauge this information for everyone. But by studying your audience and niche, you can infer what kind of personality your product attracts. It’s easy then to make deductions from that point instead of guessing.

Color Emotion Guide

Color Emotions

  • Blue goes with feelings of trust, security, confidence and intelligence. It produces calm feelings and is recommended for organizations concerned with creating a professional, trusted image.
  • Green can either represent wealth and finance (dark green) or entertainment and leisure (light green). Either way, green symbolizes growth, harmony and fresh qualities. We suggest using this when representing testimonials and founder’s stories.
  • Red actually increases your heart rate by activating the pituitary gland. Use this when conveying excitement or extreme emotions. Food companies use red in-store signage because it encourages appetite and enhances metabolism. Because red is highly visible and helps bring text and images to the foreground, we suggest using it as an accent on your signage to attract attention to your key messages.
  • Yellow gives off joy, happiness, optimism and energy. This color stimulates mental activity and generates muscle energy. Use yellow sparingly or contrast with another color as a way to get attention.
  • Orange is enthusiastic and cheerful, a combination of red and yellow attributes. Use orange to convey excitement and strength without overbearing the consumer. It also crosses over with purple to display creativity for a more go-get-em type.
  • Black can be powerful, dramatic, classy, or protective. Companies like to use it on timeless, elegant products–especially if they’re expensive, like clothing and technology.
  • White exudes simplicity and purity. It emphasizes a brand’s goodness, cleanliness, and innocence. White goes well with health and hygiene, snow or winter, or with certain cleaning products like bleach.

Color Combinations

It may be tempting to use many colors to convey a lot of feelings about your brand. But look at the logos in the above graphic. Most of them use one, maybe two colors, and in their native advertisements or branding, have a simple contrast color to make them stand out (such as the black can of Monster with the green logo).

Still, the color combinations you do choose can work depending on your product. A broad variety of colors in an advertisement go well with hedonic (for fun and pleasure) products, especially if advertisements or logos use less information. Simpler palettes, on the other hand, fit utilitarian (for business and home) products and are good for conveying the most information.

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The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.