Graphic Design and the Brand’s colour selection can say much about a company or brand. For established brands, a colour can intrinsically link to the business’s identity.
Think of Starbucks’ famous white and green coffee cups or Cadbury’s iconic purple wrapping. And for new brands, their colour and colour scheme is an attempt to position their business with their desired customer.
Dive into the patterns of well-known companies revealed by popular colour choices and take a closer look at the big businesses that think outside the square.
For instance, they found that blue is used in over 75% of credit card brand logos and colours and 20% of fast-food brands. Red, meanwhile, is found in 0% of apparel logos—but over 60% of retail brands.
For consumers confronted with advertising thousands of times a day, these visual cues can be an unconscious message about what they’re being sold and by whom.
The lesson here? There isn’t a colour that will automatically guarantee success for your brand—but choosing the wrong colour can mean your target market overlooks your brand.
There are, however, strong associations with particular colours in the mind of consumers. These flow both ways—the association between orange and energy might not be inherent to the actual colour itself, but instead is a result of the fact that it’s so often used by brands who want to convey this message. Consumers see this colour and know, subconsciously, that there’s a subtle message being conveyed. In this way, colour psychology becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
There is also a physiological aspect to colour. Think about when you see a fluorescent sign: Sometimes, the colour can be so bright that you must squint. There’s no denying that specific colours are bold and eye-catching, while others are more subtle and gentle on the eyes.
Certain companies use this to their advantage—for example, McDonald’s, whose logo is frequently seen in crowded foodcourts or as a Drive-Thru destination on the road. In these situations, the bright yellow of the golden arches acts as a siren call.
Associated with sincerity, purity, cleanness, simplicity, hygiene, clarity, and peace
Wellness, Tech, Medicine
Associated with nurturing, warmth, and softness
Beauty, Toys, Lingerie
Associated with activity, strength, excitement, and stimulation. Consider up-to-date
Associated with excitement, liveliness, energy, extroversion
Fitness, Logistics, Tech
Associated with optimism, extraversion, friendliness, happiness and cheerfulness
Fitness, Digital, Budget
Associated with competence, intelligence, communications, trust, efficiency, duty, and logic
Finance, Health, Tech, Insurance
Associated with sophistication, glamour, power, stateliness, and dignity
Fashion, Finance, Automotive
Associated with luxury, authenticity, and quality
Luxury, Tech, Design
Associated with ruggedness, seriousness, nature, earthiness
Associated with nature, security, the outdoors
Eco-friendly, Health, Outdoor
Ask yourself, What is my business all about—and who is my audience? Remember that your logo and colour scheme should appeal to your ideal customer. And remember to look at your competition. Your brand strategy will determine whether you’re more comfortable creating something that breaks with industry tradition, or keeps to the established trends—but knowing what else is out there is crucial.
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