Color Psychology: How to Use It for Branding & Marketing?

Updated on January 29, 2024 in Marketing by

Color Psychology: How to Use It for Branding & Marketing?

Color psychology and its impact on consumers have been among the most fascinating subjects for social scientists.

And from years of studies and surveys, it can be clearly concluded that colors do play a vital role in the decision-making of a consumer.

For a brand in 2024, it is important to not just know about color psychology—but understand how to use it effectively for growth.

From branding and marketing to products and presentation—let’s break down the most powerful persuasion tool that you can use.

What is Color Psychology?

Color Psychology is a field of study that specifically explores the relations of colors to the psychology of a person. It shows how colors can affect human emotions, behaviors, perceptions, and decision-making.

The psychology of color is extensively used in the fields of branding, marketing, fashion, and interior design.

There are various studies conducted on large groups of audiences. And in this guide, we are going to understand what you can use for your brand.

How Color Psychology Impacts Your Brand & Customers?

Social and consumer scientists have conducted various studies to find the bridge between color psychology and its impact on consumers.

Here are some of the key takeaways from various studies on the impact of colors on brands and customers:

  • Impact On Purchasing Decisions: Color plays a vital role in creating a perception of the quality of the product. As per one study, 90% of snap judgments about a product are based on color alone.
  • Increase Conversion Rate: As per an earlier study by Hubspot, simply updating the color of call-to-action increased the conversion rate by 21%. This shows there are few colors that prompt action more than others.
  • Enhancing Brand Recognition: In order to stand out, colors play a vital role for brands. Researchers from Loyola University revealed that the use of color increases brand recognition by as much as 80%.
  • Draw Attention: Different colors evoke different emotions. And so does their ability to draw attention. Brands can use contrast and different colors to emphasize important information.

How to Use Color Psychology Chart for Branding & Marketing?

Red Color Psychology

Red Color Psychology

The Red color is a force in branding & marketing. It instantly grabs attention and communicates specific messages.

Among the world’s most recognized brands, Red is used as the primary color by 29% of brands.

These are some of the most iconic and legacy brands such as Coca-Cola, Red Bull, & Netflix.

Pros

  • Red creates a spark of attention and urgency among the viewer. 
  • It is popularly used by brands who want to promote action and engagement.
  • Studies show red can increase impulse purchases and encourage immediate action.
  • Red Color also conveys boldness, confidence, and a dynamic brand personality.

Cons

  • If you overuse red color on a screen, it can be difficult to look at. Using it as the background can lead to visual fatigue, especially for extended browsing.
  • Some individuals with visual impairments struggle to perceive red well, potentially hindering their user experience.
  • Having a good understanding of the target audience is important. Certain cultures associate red with negative emotions like anger or mourning.

Blue Color Psychology

Blue Color Psychology

The blue color is associated with trust, security, professionalism, and intelligence in color psychology. It is also a versatile color, with shades evoking different emotions and experiences.

That is also the reason that blue is the most used color for hyperlinks, as it is known to be associated with trust.

More specifically, you can alter the shades of blue to evoke feelings of peace and tranquility with lighter shades. Darker blues might convey authority and power. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, Oral B, and Walmart use it in their branding.

Pros

  • Blue in color psychology is associated with reliability and calmness. This makes it best fitted for brands where trust is important.
  • Insightful, is another commonly associated feeling that people associate blue with. It can help your brand present itself as an authority.
  • Brands that are looking forward to a calmer, more relaxed representation can use lighter tones of blue. Some popular examples of brands using Blue color in branding are Dove and Johnson & Johnson are good examples.

Cons

  • Different shades of blue have varied effects on color psychology. For example, dark blue might evoke sadness or coldness. Bright blue, on the other hand, might suggest playfulness or creativity. Brands have to choose wisely.
  • Overuse of blue leads to monotonous and uninteresting visual experiences.
  • The blue color is a very common color for branding. This makes it a challenge for new brands to stand out purely based on color.

Black Color Psychology

Black Color Psychology

Black is the most common color that brands use for email, website, and logo. It brings in sophistication and a sense of power and elegance.

About 42% of customers associate a black color product with high quality.

It is very common in luxury brands like Chanel, Parada, Coach, and more. But at the same time, one would rarely see in black in the hospital industry. Reason being, its association with death and mourning.

Pros

  • Black is a simple, yet elegant color that can be used to present a high-end sophistication to your branding.
  • In branding, black also conveys authority, strength, and trust. It is also timeless and versatile which allows you to use it with any other color.
  • In color psychology, black color stands and leaves a lasting impression.

Cons

  • Black color doesn’t evoke memorable emotions, so while your brand will be memorable—creating an association would be difficult.
  • Among all the colors, black is among the most common colors that brands have used consistently over the years. Customers can easily misunderstand your brand with others.

Orange Color Psychology

Orange Color Psychology

Orange in color psychology is known for creativity, warmth, enthusiasm, fun, and immaturity. That is the reason why you won’t find many fashion brands using this color. They want to be taken seriously and Orange surely is not that color.

Also, it is important to note that 26% of people link orange color with low pricing. If that’s your USP, it would be a great step to incorporate it into your branding.

You’ll often find brands that are activity-driven and fun using Orange color in branding and marketing. A few examples are Etsy, Home Depot, Fanta, Zalando, and more.

Pros

  • Orange is not used often which makes it a great choice to stand out and connect with a particular target audience.
  • In the psychology of color, orange lets you depict fun and enthusiasm. Making it a great choice for brands that focus on creativity and being active.
  • Because it targets a particular audience only, the color is more distinct and memorable for the audience.

Cons

  • Brand can instantly be perceived as childish, or for kids. This means brands have to use it consciously in branding.
  • In the psychology of color, orange is associated with overstimulation and aggressiveness. Brands aiming for calmness or sophistication shall avoid it.

Green Color Psychology

Green Color Psychology

Green in color psychology is associated with growth. It is known to create a sense of peace and is often used to signify prestige and wealth.

Brands using the color green in branding and marketing aim to create freshness, & prosperity. At the same time, in the psychology of colors, green can also be seen as over-possession and materialism.

Green is also among the most preferred colors by 14% of men and women in a survey.

Some of the popular brands using Green in branding are Whole Foods, Patagonia Provisions, Subway, and SweetLeaf.

Pros

  • Brands can easily utilize green and can tap into positive associations with the environment, sustainability, and a sense of well-being.
  • Green has a calming effect on people hence brands curate a relaxed and soothing experience.
  • Green is associated with wealth and prosperity. Brands that want to be associated with conveying growth can use Green to convey their message better.
  • Also, Green is a color that has a timeless quality, and it can remain relevant and appealing across different trends and seasons.

Cons

  • For a brand associated with nature, the Green color is predictable–making it hard to stand out.
  • Green is not associated with urgency, so it won’t be the best pick for brands that want customers to take quick action.
  • While green can stand out, it may not be as attention-grabbing as more vibrant or contrasting colors.

Brown Color Psychology

Brown Color Psychology

Brown in color psychology creates a sense of comfort, security, and being down to earth. While it might not visually grab attention like other colors, it is known for structure, security, and protection.

Brands using brown color psychology in branding and marketing are Molton Brown, Costa Coffee, and Hershey.

Pros

  • In the psychology of color, brown is suitable for brands that want to establish trust and reliability.
  • The brown color is known for creating a welcoming atmosphere for customers. It evokes feelings of warmth and comfort.
  • Also, unlike other colors, brown creates a sense of seriousness as well. This is great for brands that want to curate a specific message and want customers to focus on the same.

Cons

  • Brown is a dull and uninspiring color. It can create a monotonous appearance if not balanced with a vibrant accent.

Yellow Color Psychology

Yellow Color Psychology

Yellow is a vibrant and energetic color in psychology. It evokes the feeling of positivity, creativity, and clarity. In branding, yellow instantly grabs attention and creates a sense of excitement.

In terms of color psychology, yellow is also linked to happiness and mental activity. Brands using McDonald’s, Snapchat, and Ikea.

Pros

  • Yellow is highly noticeable and can easily stand out, making it a great pick for branding and marketing.
  • Brands focusing on creativity and positivity can greatly benefit from using Yellow as it helps in projecting a modern and imaginative image.
  • Yellow is also a color that is associated with youthfulness and energy. Making it the best fit for brands that are targeting younger audiences.

Cons

  • The color yellow can also be overstimulating, which can distract the audience from the messaging of the brand.
  • While yellow is often associated with creativity and excitement, it is also associated with caution or anxiety, such as caution signs and warning labels. Using the color wisely is important.

White Color Psychology

White Color Psychology

White color psychology is associated with simplicity, purity, cleanliness, and sophistication. The color is prominently used by luxury brands to create a sleek and contemporary presentation.

As per Domicele Jonauskaite and Christine Mohr study, 43% of participants associated a sense of relief.

The color is timeless and can be used easily with any other as well. It is great where the product needs to be the point of focus, as it creates a visual breathing room—without distracting the viewer.

There are brands using White color psychology like Apple, Native, and Impossible Foods.

Pros

  • White is a color that communicates purity and luxury. Making it a great pick to target high-end customers.
  • It is a timeless color that doesn’t easily go out of style. Using white color ensures longevity in a brand’s visual identity.
  • White pairs well with other colors, providing versatility in design. This allows for easy adaptation across various marketing materials.

Cons

  • Without a unique design, a brand can appear generic or lacking in personality.
  • In some contexts, excessive use of white may give off a clinical or sterile vibe, which might not be suitable for certain industries or brand personalities.

Pink Color Psychology

Pink Color Psychology

Pink color in psychology is specifically known for compassion and unconditional love. It is traditionally linked with femininity and is commonly used in products and branding targeting a female audience.

In the psychology of color, pink is perceived as a youthful and playful color. This makes it suitable for brands targeting a younger audience.

Leading brands that use Pink Color Psychology are Barbie, Too Faced, Glossier, and Kylie Cosmetics.

Pros

  • Pink color is emotionally engaging and creates a positive association with love, warmth, and care.
  • For branding, the color instantly grabs attention and stands out among the competitors.
  • Pink is an adaptable shade that conveys different emotions from soft and soothing to bold and energetic.

Cons

  • The association between pink and femininity can lead to gender stereotyping. If not handled well, it can limit the appeal to a broader audience.
  • Because only a few brands use it, the color pink might strike out easily and might come across as childish or immature.

Purple Color Psychology

Purple Color Psychology

Purple in color psychology is associated with luxury, creativity, and sophistication. It combines the stability of dark blue and the passion of red.

About 23% of women claim it is their favorite color in a survey.

The color is also perceived as royalty and spiritual by people. This is because only a few brands have used it in branding and marketing successfully.

The most common brands that use Purple color psychology are Cadbury, Malin + Goetz, and Taco Bell.

Pros

  • Purple is associated with creativity and innovation. This makes it suitable for brands in creative industries.
  • Purple is not a popular choice for branding and this allows your brand to stand out and create a unique identity.
  • The color also conveys a sense of luxury that makes it a great choice for high-end brands.

Cons

  • Purple does not resonate with the masses and appeal to a specific demographic.
  • There is no direct interpretation of people like others. It can vary and make it hard to convey a message.

How To Choose Color for Marketing and Branding?

While we have learned about color psychology in depth within this guide, it’s time to discuss how to use it.

It is very important to note here that when it comes to marketing and branding, a lot of factors come in to influence a customer.

While colors have a huge influence, they can’t change perceptions. At most, they can support their biases.

For example, if you are selling products at an affordable price, and want to build trust—you can use colors orange and blue.

The color orange is associated with low prices and blue for trust. Something that you will find in the branding of Walmart. 

Here are a few steps that will help you choose a color for branding and marketing your brand.

Understand Your Target Audience

Color psychology has always stated different effects on different types and demographics of people. Different colors may have varying meanings across cultures, so be mindful of international considerations if your brand has a global audience.

In case you are targeting a specific group, study their general preferences by looking at the brands they are most aware of. And how they interact with different colors in their day-to-day life.

Define Your Brand Personality

We studied how different colors evoke different emotions. Based on the following, create a brand persona that you want to be perceived as.

For example, for a brand that is targeting a female audience and wants to sell eco-friendly products—the colors they can pick are a shade of Pink and Green.

We know the chances of stereotyping are high with these colors, but in the context of representing a message—these colors do a perfect job.

So, define your brand’s personality and choose the color based on the color psychology we discussed above.

Competitor Analysis

When you are choosing color for branding and marketing your brand—you want to make sure your brand stands out. It must have a distinct identity of its own.

That is why, analyze your competitors and find how color benefits them from a psychological point of view.

Make sure you see this in the context of the messaging they promote. This exercise will help you in finding what your customers look for.

Moreover, it will help you better present your brand by adding some familiarity, while also adding what differentiates you.

Balance Consistency & Trends

Color psychology is studied in branding and marketing to connect and influence target audiences.

That is why brands need to keep the brand consistent with their core target audience, while also keeping up with the trends in the industry.

Consistency is important because that’s how you want to be recognized in the market. At the same time, trends help reach your market faster.

Conclusion

When learning about color psychology it is important to keep understanding the target audience and the messaging your brand wants to promote.

Above, we have discussed the psychology of colors. But that is only one aspect of branding and marketing.

Other parts are how you use these colors to influence interaction with the customers. We have shared an in-depth guide on Color theory which will help you learn how colors mix, match, and contrast with each other.

Have a read to build your brand image from scratch.


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