One of the most important decisions you ever make in business is how to brand yourself. You need a professional look and feel which matches your business style. You don’t just need a well designed and professional logo – you need to consider the colours and style you use very carefully. The wrong choice or combination can create a very different impression of your business than the one you want.
Colours play a very important part in business branding. We may not be aware of it, but when we see certain colours, they instil different feelings in us, so understanding the psychology of colours is very important.
Before you consider which colours you want to use, here are a few tips to help you get the right look.
- When you decide on your colour scheme, make sure that the colours don’t clash and that any writing can be seen clearly on the background. Two dark colours or two light colours may not make the best contrast.
- Research has shown that colours can create a better impression with customers than a simple black and white or greyscale image.
- Have one main colour which stands out, then one or two minor colours. If you have too many colours your theme will just look messy and won’t create the impression you need.
- If you use any wording on your logo, keep it short and use a font which makes it clear. If you use too much wording you will find the text overshadows your logo.
- Consistency is all important. If you have a logo, use it and make sure all your web pages and social media pages are updated.
The psychology behind colours
Some colours attract us more than others, and here’s what each colour denotes. It may take you some time to get the right mix for your business, but once you do you will have a lasting image and brand to develop your business.
- Pro: Passion, energy, power, strength, excitement and a feeling of fearlessness.
- Con: danger, anger and aggression, warning, pain and defiance
Red is the colour of passion and the colour of action. Although it is not clear why, it encourages people to act quickly and make a decision. In marketing you will see it all around you: look around and you will see sales and discount signs all in red.
- Pro: warmth, confidence, energy, courage, friendliness and innovation
- Con: ignorance, frustration deprivation, frivolity, immaturity and sluggishness.
Orange is a colour of warmth and is used to stimulate feelings in potential customers. This colour draws you to it making you feel alive and enthusiastic about what you see. However, research has also shown that it is one of the least popular colours and so should be treated with caution.
- Pro: happiness, creativity, optimism warmth, intellect and extraversion
- Con: Cowardice, fear, caution, anxiety, frustration and irrationality
Yellow is the colour of the sun and creates a feeling of happiness and confidence. On its own it is not a very popular colour and it can instil feelings of fear and anger which are the complete opposite of what you want when you are using your colours for branding.
It can be used to grab people’s attention quickly, but if you branding your business it’s best to use it with another colour.
- Pro: hope, freshness, nature, growth and prosperity and health
- Con: envy, boredom, sickness, blandness, stagnation and enervation.
Green is very much associated with the environment and is a very relaxing and calming colour. Unlike some other colours we are able to identify every shade of green and as it is right in the middle of the colour spectrum it can create a feeling of balance and reassurance.
Certain businesses will benefit more from using green than others, and it is best suited to science and medicine and tourism.
- Pro: calm, inspiration, healing, communication, calmness, self-expression and clarity.
- Con: Secrecy, unreliability, boastfulness, aloofness, reticence and indecision.
Lying between blue and green, turquoise is a colour used to represent communication and creativity, which is why it is often used for media, computer technology and education.
If used on its own can represent indecision so should be teamed with the right colour to give your branding the best impression.
- Pro: calm, trust, security, loyalty, logic, dependability and serenity.
- Con: coldness, aloofness, unfriendly, uncaring, unappetising and emotionless
Blue is the colour of the sea and the sky and creates a wonderful feeling of calmness and serenity. Research has shown that it is one of the most popular colours, and for reasons unknown is preferred more by men than women.
As this is a colour seen everywhere every day, it invokes feelings of reliability and stability. If used in the wrong context it can encourage negative feelings of coldness, and is another colour which should be used with a matching colour for your business theme.
- Pro: sophistication, luxury, wealth, wisdom, luxury, imaginative and spirituality.
- Con: inferiority, extravagance, decadence, introversion, moodiness and suppression.
A wonderful combination of blue and red, purple is a mix of calmness and stimulation. Purple is not a colour which is seen much naturally around us and as a result it denotes wealth and luxury. It is commonly used for branding cosmetics, as these are promoted as being luxurious.
- Pro: imaginative, creativity, passion, innovation and balance.
- Con: flippancy, impulsiveness. non-conformity, eccentricity, ephemeralness and outrageousness.
Another combination of colours, magenta represents balance and harmony. Magenta doesn’t have the same energy as red, and invokes feelings of self-respect and compassion. It is ideal for promoting creativity and ideas which don’t quite conform to the norm.
- Pro: earthiness, warmth, reliability, support, seriousness and authenticity.
- Con: sadness, dirtiness, humourless, heaviness, lack of sophistication and conservativeness.
The earthiness of brown makes it a comforting colour. It invokes feelings of reliability and seriousness, and is used for brands which like to appear friendly to the earth. If used too much it can make people feel sad and listless. Research has shown that this colour is more favoured by men than women.
Environmental concerns can make good use of a green and brown combination.
- Pro: support, reliability, security, power, elegance, substance and authority.
- Con: sadness, lack of sophistication, oppression, menace, evil and mourning.
Black is the ultimate combination of all colours and as such can invoke many feelings and emotions.
It can represent sophistication and style, while at the same time create feelings of death and oppression. If used correctly it is the colour of authority and strength, but it is best used to support another lighter colour than used on its own.
- Pro: balance, strength, neutrality, balance, timelessness and intelligence.
- Con: depression, a lack of energy, dullness, lack of confidence and blandness.
Grey is often considered a dull colour but it can be used to create various emotions. It doesn’t invoke any emotions on its own, but if used with other colours it can represent sophistication and power.
Technology is one area where grey can be combined with another more powerful colour to give the feeling of modernity and luxury. If used too much it will more likely stimulate feelings of negativity and dullness.
- Pro: clean, pure, simple, clarity, sophistication and freshness
- Con: cold, sterile, unfriendly, isolation, elitism and emptiness.
The complete opposite of black, white can create a very clean, clinical feel. If matched with the right colour it can create many feelings, including freshness, purity and a new start. If used on its own or as a dominant colour it can have the opposite effect, creating feelings of coldness and sterility.