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The Power of Colour: What colours mean in branding

Colours are just as powerful as words when it comes to branding. Colours inflict emotion, direct behaviour and express company values when used correctly. Colours also define and shape the feel and mood of your brand.

Although there's no set of rules when it comes to brand colour, you will definitely want to do a bit of research to see what colours to choose for your palette to reflect your brand ethos.

How to choose a colour for your brand

The idea of emotion connected with colour has been extensively researched through the study of colour psychology. It's a fact that we associate colours with feelings, for example a blue coloured room will feel less cozy, than say shades in the red-yellow end of the colour spectrum.

Colours also have both positive and negative connotations - the colour red associates with anger, but also love.

In this post I am not going to share an image of a chart showing what colours are associated with what emotion as choosing a colour for your brand goes much deeper than that.

Even though colours do have an effect on emotion, this doesn't necessarily mean your brand colour has to be decided by that. Colours are not just associated with emotion, but a whole range of things such as objects, elements, industries and more! Context is key and you will have to look deep into what your brand is all about to help decide on your brand colour. For example, an agricultural brand may have an exciting product, but that doesn't mean your branding has to be the colour of excitement (red). You have to take other things into account associated with your company. For example in agriculture, browns, greens and creams come to mind when you think of farming - think of your end goal and base your decision on that.

The end goal for brand colours should be to support your brand communication so that consumers can quickly identify, engage and associate themselves with your brand.

Brand Colour Scheme

Once you have chosen your core brand colour, you will want to create a colour palette. You can use the four schemes below to assist you, just remember your goal should always be choosing colours that support your brand.

Complementary colours: These colours are colours that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel, which partner up well together. For example, green and purples.

Triadic colours: These colours form a triangle on the colour wheel, for example red, green and blue. Triadic colours tend to be vibrant and contrasting.

Monochromatic: Different shades of one colour - dark blue, blue and light blue. Although your colours will be similar, they can enforce a single particular feeling.

Analogous: Colours that sit next to each other, for example, red and yellow. These colours go well together and also share similar emotional values.

Black and White in branding

Blacks, greys and whites can be used as your core brand colour. Nike uses black and white in their branding and Apple have moved to black, whites and greys. Even our branding is black and white!

Blacks, greys, whites and off-whites are often used in websites, softwares, apps and other platforms as backgrounds to contrast your brand colour, so you will need to take this into account if you're choosing these shades.

Tip: No matter what colour you choose for your branding - it's a good idea to make a black and white version of your logo.

Where to use brand colours?

Your brand colours should be reflected throughout your whole company. If you're consistent your brand will become more recognisable by its colour. Coca Cola is a key example here, their brand colour is so well known, they have it trademarked it so other drinks companies cannot use the same red. The same goes with Tiffany, we all know the brand when shown the 'Tiffany blue' colour.

Key places to implement your brand colour include but are not limited to:

  • Logo

  • Website

  • Creative material

  • Products & labelling

  • Social channels

  • Physical stores

  • Event stands

  • Business cards


If you need help with your brand colours, we would be happy to help - just get in touch!

Mason Mallett

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