Colour Psychology: The Impact of Brand Colours

Everywhere you look colour is impacting our lives and it is all down to the power of colour psychology. It is the reason why we purchase a pink dress as opposed to a navy dress. Is the pink more fun than the navy that can feel more suitable for workwear? Or is it because one suits our skin tone better or just as simple as we like one over the other?

The same theory can be applied to brands. Why do you prefer Cola over Sprite? Is it the taste? While more often than not taste plays a factor- but say you’ve never tasted either drink, which one is going to jump out at you on the shelf? The red can or the green can? The answer is all down to colour psychology.

When it comes to marketing and branding colour can play a huge role in how consumers perceive your brand even if they don’t realise it themselves.

What is colour psychology?

Colour Psychology is the study of how colours affect perceptions and behaviours. Research suggests personal preference, experience, upbringing and cultural differences can affect the impact individual colours have on us. When looking at it from a marketing and branding perspective it is all about how colour can impact consumers’ first impressions of your brand and if it sways consumers to choose your brand over another.

Let’s break it down into what feelings and thoughts each colour can represent when used in branding.

Red – Excitement, Passion, Romance, Power, Energy

There are many brands which have chosen the colour red as part of their brand colours. Some of the most iconic that come to mind are Coca-Cola, Netflix and probably our most used app Adobe. Red is said to be one of the best colours for advertising – there’s a reason they splash the word SALE in big bold letters – and it is said to be a powerful, energetic and romantic colour.

Often used for special holidays such as Valentine’s Day because it makes people think of passion and romance and when paired with Green it’s the most festive colour combo and ignites the feeling of chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

Fun fact – because it has the longest wavelength red appears nearer than it actually is.

Blue – Loyal, Respectful, Social, Security, Calm

Blue is said to be a calming colour when used in branding, giving people a sense of security and loyalty when they see the colour. This is why many banks and brands that store a lot of user data often stick to the colour blue. This is why Facebook, Twitter and banks such as the Bank of Scotland all use the colour blue in their branding.

Purple – Wisdom, Wealth, Spirituality, Sensitive,

Purple is often used to symbolise royalty and superiority, for example, you often see the colour purple used on Royal Memorabilia biscuit tins. Brands can use purple to promote superior services, products or experiences. Popular brands that use the colour purple are Yahoo!, Hallmark is known for being sensitive with greeting cards and Cadbury’s chocolate which after all is the superior chocolate brand right?

Orange – Courage, Confidence, Warmth, Sunny

Orange is seen as bold, eye-catching and warm. Often used for big sporting teams, food companies think Dunkin Donuts and the popular drink of choice by us Scots Irn Bru. It is said orange brings up the idea of creativity which makes sense that Etsy the e-commerce company known for handmade items uses the colour throughout its branding. On the other end of the spectrum, orange is used as the main colour for fashion brand Hermes invoking a sense of rich tones and making a bold statement.

Green – Adventurous, Health, Nature, Growth

Green can represent life and nature and brings the feeling of relaxation and health. This is why a lot of superfood companies choose the colour green in their branding. Brands such as Green Giant sweetcorn, and Tropicana drinks are all healthy food companies with the shade green in their branding. Land Rover uses it in their branding to promote a sense of Adventure when you think of off-road driving and country breaks. Yet also gives you a sense of stability which you look for when buying a new car.

Yellow – Optimism, warmth, happiness, independence.

While Yellow can sometimes be a hard colour to process there’s no denying that yellow is a striking colour to have on your brand. Yellow is a colour that will make your product or brand marketing stand out in the real world. In colour psychology yellow can represent youthfulness and happiness very similar to orange. Often used in food brands think Sunny D Juice and McCain Chips, Mcdonald’s all guilty pleasure food that brings joy when you eat them.

Black – Sophisticated, Power, Serious, Elegance

Yellow may be bold and eye-catching but black is bold all on its own. As a colour for branding black can make a brand look and feel sophisticated. Often linked to luxury brands, particularly in the fashion industry, Channel, Prada to name a few brands. Black is rarely used in the health industry as it is the colour of mourning however it is used in the branding of many sporting goods companies such as Adidas with the iconic black and white design. Black paired with other colours is common within branding. Hugo Boss has switched from a corporate black colour palette to a new fresher black, white and beige colourway. When paired with white it can create a classic, sleek and simplistic vibe for your brand.

Pink – Passionate, Creative, Quirky, Spiritual

Pink is a great colour to inject a pop of colour into your branding yet it often can be stereotypical girly and feminine. The colour pink ignites the feeling of youthfulness, quirky and sometimes spirituality. Often used in independent brands, typically in the fashion and creative industry, one that springs to mind is Molby the Label with its soft pink logo. Another is Klarna the buy now pay later app promoted throughout fashion brands. Probably the most iconic brand that uses pink is Barbie.

Final Thoughts

Colour is an important element of any branding decision and is the front door to your business so you want it to make an impact and stand out above the rest. If you would like to discuss how we can inject some colour into your brand then get in touch with our team today to discuss all things branding.


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