Color Psychology- How Colors Affect Your Brand Marketing?
Consciously or unconsciously, the colors around us affect our perception of things, our mood, and our behavior daily.
Marketing is no exception! In all aspects of design, from logo to website design, each color influences the consumer's perception of a brand and the values it stands for.
Used well, color can convey a specific message and generate different feelings. Color even has the power to improve conversions by grabbing attention and triggering the right emotions.
Power of Color Psychology in Marketing
Understanding the psychology of color in marketing is mastering a tool that can be used to optimize your brand's visual identity, capture customer attention, and improve the user experience.
Of course, the link between color and emotion is complex. The psychology of color in marketing is not always an exact science, as the meanings of colors are the result of many factors:
- Personal experiences,
- Political trends,
- Cultural differences,..etc.
In this regard, the first question to ask yourself when choosing a color is: who is my target audience?
If you are targeting an international audience, you should instead turn to "universal" color associations. Indeed, what one culture perceives as positive may seem negative to another. For example, the West associates ‘white’ with purity and innocence, while in China it symbolizes death. The meaning of a color can therefore change dramatically depending on the country or part of the world you are in.
The gender of your target audience is also important to consider. You can use different studies to choose colors over others, depending on whether you are targeting women or men.
Women, for example, are more interested in soft colors and are receptive to hues. They generally prefer blue, purple, and green and are reluctant to use colors such as gray, brown, and orange.
Men, on the other hand, are more likely to appreciate bright colors and are receptive to undertones. They generally prefer blue, green, and black, but are less fond of brown, orange, or purple.
So you need to consider all of these aspects to find the the color combination that best suits the type of audience your marketing is targeting.
There are also broader factors in perceptions of colors and the role they play in purchasing decisions and branding.
Numerous studies indicate that certain colors can trigger a range of emotions and behaviors associated with shopping. One finds, for example, that up to 90% of instant judgments about products are based solely on color.
And, in terms of conversion rate, colors are just as important. For example, a CTA (call-to-action button) with a color that stands out from other content on the site may increase the conversion rate by 11%, and add-to-cart rates by 6.5%.
There is also a link between the use of color and customers' perceptions of a brand's personality.
Study results show, for example, that the perception of a company depends on the relevance of the color used for the brand. In other words, the color must be relevant to the product (s) or service (s) being sold. This confirms that purchase intention is greatly affected by colors, due to the impact they have on how a brand is viewed. After all, who would want to buy a Harley Davidson motorcycle if it didn't give off a "cool" and rugged side?
Other studies show that, as consumers, we prefer recognizable brands, which makes color incredibly important when creating brand identity. It has even been suggested that new brands should specifically target colors for their logos that set them apart from historical competitors. In other words, if the competition uses blue, you will stand out by using purple.
The context in which a business operates is, therefore, an essential consideration. Without this context, choosing one color over another won't make much sense, and there is no evidence that using orange instead of pink will make people buy a product.
It's the feeling, mood, and image that your brand creates that plays a persuasive role. So, make sure that your colors reinforce your brand image and the message you want to convey.
Symbolic Perception of Colors
Remember that these color symbols are only guidelines. Most importantly, all of your colors complement each other, create harmony, and do not conflict with the brand's ideal imaginary shade.
Blue is one of the most popular colors in commerce. It inspires reliability, provides an air of freshness, and encourages feelings of productivity, calm, tranquility, and confidence.
Use of blue for web and marketing:
- For companies that perform prescriptions (healthcare) or monetary transactions (banks, finance).
- For high-tech companies.
- For companies in the field of transportation, travel, and escape.
- To represent any activity that requires reliability and security.
The world's largest social network, Facebook, has incorporated blue into every facet of its site. The banner is blue. The logo is blue. Your friends' names are blue. When you like something, the "thumbs up" symbol turns blue. For a company whose core values are transparency and trust, this is no accident. There is no doubt that Facebook takes advantage of the sense of calm and security of this color to reassure its users when they share their personal information.
PayPal, the platform through which billions of euros pass, has also opted for the color blue to reassure its reliability.
No other color commands attention like red, often considered the most effective color for calls to action. Stimulating, intense, and powerful, red is associated with passion, power, and, sometimes, anger. It can be used for warnings or to signal danger, but it can also suggest urgency, which is why it is often used for clearance sales. Red is also known to stimulate appetite and, at the same time, is often a symbol of ambition, daring, and authority. It can therefore have a strong impact on the brand image.
Use of red for web and marketing:
- For websites and businesses that want to suggest energy.
- For food, technology, transportation, and agriculture companies.
- For products to buy on impulse.
The primary color in the design of the Coca-Cola website is red. The combination of gray and white gives it better visibility. The promotion of happiness conveyed by Coca-Cola through its famous slogan "Savor the moment" goes perfectly with red, which evokes feelings of excitement and energy.
Green is the color of relaxation and peace. It promotes feelings of rejuvenation, optimism, growth, harmony, and calm, which is why it is often used in stores to help customers relax while shopping. Green is also the color of wealth. Wealth in the literal sense-money-and also, of course, the wealth of nature. Many companies use green to emphasize their ecological commitment and respect for the planet.
Use of green for web and marketing:
- To suggest affluence, growth, or stability.
- For businesses that want to reflect relaxation, freshness, and honesty.
- For companies in the energy market.
- For an environmental business or the sale of organic products.
Carlsberg, a Danish beer brand, uses a strong yet elegant green for its design and marketing that is supposed to relieve stress, suggesting freshness, nature, and a love for life. It all gives the impression of a clean and relaxing experience.
Yellow is often considered an energizing and upbeat color. From the earliest ages, it has been related to the sun and is therefore psychologically associated with heat and happiness. But it is also the most tiring color for in the eye. Yellow can be confusing and should be used sparingly. In more subtle shades, it may suggest yellowed parchment and, therefore, can also be associated with prudence, wisdom, and curiosity.
Use of yellow for web and marketing:
- For businesses that sell products related to children, such as clothing or toys.
- For food companies.
- For businesses looking to instill feelings of joy, authority, intelligence, or energy.
- To market products related to home and interior decoration.
Pharell Williams’s 24 hours "Happy" video clip website is a prime example of using the color yellow to foster a happy and lively user experience.
McDonald's' famous combination of red and yellow is no coincidence: it aims to arouse children's excitement and suggests a touch of madness.
Purple is associated with elegance and sophistication. It communicates wealth, power, and royalty and makes you feel unique. It is also a color that stimulates the mind and invites contemplation. Purple should still be used with care, as some shades can have the opposite effect and give a little "cheap" edge.
Use of purple for web and marketing:
- For luxury companies.
- To market beauty products.
- For healthcare, tech, and finance companies.
Monster.com uses purple to make visitors feel like the site is trustworthy and, most importantly, authority.
Vibrant, energetic, friendly, and welcoming, orange is a more balanced and less "overwhelming" color than red. It attracts attention, but rather emits a sense of warmth as opposed to urgency. It communicates ambition, enthusiasm, and confidence.
Use of orange for web and marketing:
- For technology companies or those who sell gadgets.
- For healthcare companies.
- To suggest movement and positive energy.
- For creative brands.
Amazon uses orange in small touches: in the logo, the search bar, and call-to-action buttons. The site is a great example of using color to highlight important features without overwhelming users.
Pink suggests feelings of fun, tenderness, and romance. It is a reassuring and calming color, especially associated with youth and femininity. Both playful and soft, it is reminiscent of chewing gum and innocence. The effects of pink can vary depending on its intensity (light, deep, strong, etc.)
Use of pink for web and marketing:
- For businesses that want to step back in time.
- For businesses that target a female audience.
It is impossible to think of the color pink without thinking of the Barbie doll who fully plays the card of return to childhood, femininity, and romanticism.
Associated with the earth and nature, brown inspires relaxation and calm. While it may seem lacking in boldness at times, it is also an elegant and pure color that can suggest authenticity, reliability, stability, solace, and godliness. Brown can also arouse the appetite (chocolate!).
Use of brown for web and marketing:
- For companies in the field of health and well-being.
- For craft businesses.
- For brands that want to suggest a certain sense of tradition.
- To market natural or rustic products.
Nespresso uses different shades of brown in small touches on its website to create an elegant, natural and cozy experience that stimulates the appetite.
Although technically black is not a color, it is arguably one of the most elegant hues. Versatile, timeless, and classic, it goes well with all other colors. Black is associated with authority, mystery, depth, obscurity, and power. So it can be intimidating, but it can also create a feeling of sophistication. Be careful not to use it for call-to-action buttons, as they may go unnoticed.
Use of black for web and marketing:
- For brands that want to communicate authority, power, or elegance.
- To market luxury products, technology.
- For the automotive sector.
- For high-end businesses.
Dior uses black to signify luxury, communicating glamor, sophistication, and exclusivity. Objective;: to make people understand that the brand has serious value.
White reflects light, so it awakens the eyes. It is associated with organization, equality, and, more commonly, purity and innocence. It is also equated with cleanliness, simplicity, and novelty.
Use of white for web and marketing:
- To reflect the ideal of perfection.
- For sanitary, healthcare, or charity businesses.
The abundant use of white space is a hallmark of the design to create an airy experience and a sense of freedom. For example, the most popular site in the world: ‘Google’. The search engine mainly uses white.
Determination of a Color Scheme for Web Design
Both in your marketing and the creation of your website, you are unlikely to use just one color.
While taking into account the psychology of colors, and the impact of each color on your customers, then you will need to consider how the secondary colors correspond to the primary color you are using.
With that in mind, you will need to take care to mix your colors properly. To help you, there are three basic methods you can use:
Triadic: This is the easiest and most balanced method for finding an easy-to-use color scheme. It uses the complementarity of colors. Using the color wheel, you can select three colors located at 120 degrees from each other for the background, content, and navigation of your website.
Complementary: This method is a bit more complicated, and you will probably have to try it several times before you find the right combination. It uses four colors: two contrasting pairs of two complementary colors.
Analog: This method involves choosing colors that fit into the same area of the color spectrum. The colors are complementary and differ above all by their dynamism.
Whichever method you use, it is recommended that you limit your color combination to two, three, or four colors at most.
As a general rule, each color used should appear in several places on the website:
- navigation tabs,
- scrolling menu,
- buttons, especially call to action,
When a brand already has a logo, one technique is to extract color from it and use it in navigation paths, hyperlinks, and then use another color of the logo for the background., headers,.. etc. The repetition of color is a sure way to give a brand an unified and a cohesive visual identity.
It is also ideal to use neutral colors (white, black, gray, brown, beige, etc.) for the background, as they will match almost any color scheme.
The more "punchy" or "emotional" colors can then be used for certain important elements of the website, such as call to actions or navigation tabs, to make them stand out thanks to the isolation effect (also called the "Von Restorff effect") which proves that we remember things that stand out better. In color psychology, this isolating effect occurs when an element, such as a conversion step, is the only element of a particular color.
In conclusion, color is an essential aspect of a brand's visual identity, which must match its overall personality. Colors help create a specific mood and environment for your customers, whether it's a bright red to evoke a sense of urgency or a purple for sophistication. Just keep in mind that your color choices should reflect your business and your products.