Smart Marketing: Colors and Their Meaning - Color Psychology

Smart Marketing: Colors and Their Meaning - Color Psychology

Anyone who has ever considered creating a logo, designing marketing material, or painting a wall in their business office has had to venture into the concept of “color psychology.”

How a color makes you feel is very personal. If your high school girlfriend wore a light blue dress to the prom and then broke up with you, light blues might make you upset. In contrast, if your favorite car was red, that color might evoke happy feelings for you.

Color psychology might not be a solid science, but there are a few ideas that can inform your decisions:

  • Culture is important - If you live in Green Bay, Wisconsin, green and gold mean a lot to you. That same color combo might mean much less in Alabama or Beijing. Understanding the surrounding culture is important when considering color.
  • Timing might be important - If a recent political candidate was associated with a single color, that hue may carry an emotion with it that has nothing to do with your brand.
  • Context is vital - If you are planning on running a great deal of billboard advertisements, you probably don’t want to use a soft color; you will want something bold that can be seen at great distances.
  • Associations can help - If your firm makes cola, you might choose a shade of red for your brand since Coca-Cola has already made that color association for you.
  • Different is also good - If you are selling yourself as a disrupter, you might choose to go a different direction so you can highlight that you aren’t the “same old, same old.”

What matters most in choosing brand or logo colors is that they are pleasing to the eye and that you feel they convey the idea behind what your business is about. It might not be as simple as a precise and perfect answer, but it can help.

There is a color chart you can find nearly everywhere that shows a spectrum of colors, the feelings and moods that they are associated with (aka Color Psychology) and the logos of big companies who are associated with them. You can find it here:

What are the moods and feelings associated with colors?

  • Yellow: Clarity & Warmth
  • Orange: Cheerful & Confidence
  • Red: Youthful & Bold
  • Purple: Imaginative & Wise
  • Blue: Dependable & Strength
  • Green: Growth & Health
  • Grey/White: Neutral & Calm

What do your colors say about you?

Rather than taking the chart as a set of hard and fast rules, look at the logos and see which ones seem to evoke the feelings you want for your own brand. This chart represents billions of dollars and millions of hours of labor carefully crafting the right logos. It’s a great thing to learn from the masters and here are many of them laid out for you.

In short, there is no real right or wrong answer when choosing brand or logo colors. Choose what’s best for you and go with it. Most importantly, don’t let yourself be paralyzed by this type of a decision.