We humans are highly visual and rely heavily on sight to perceive the world around us. Research shows that colour can significantly influence our behaviour and alter our emotions, making it a very powerful tool for shaping our perceptions of a brand. In fact, a study found that 90% of first impressions of businesses are based solely on the colour of their branding. So, you could say it’s a pretty big deal…
But what happens when the meanings and associations people have with different colours can differ depending on their own personal experiences and cultural contexts? Well, the truth is not a lot. We can’t control each individual’s perception, and nor would we want to. However, there are still common stereotypes or general associations applied to colours that as a society we still seem to recognise.
In this week’s blog we share some typical psychological patterns that can guide you in the selection of a suitable colour palette for your brand. We will examine the six statement colours of the rainbow and how they typically affect people’s perceptions of a brand.
So, let’s get into it…
Positive Perceptions: Power, Strength, Courage, Confidence, Passion, Energy, Love, Action, Importance
Negative Perceptions: Urgency, Danger, Anger, Stress, Lust
The colour red is known for grabbing people’s attention. It can give off feelings of urgency, excitement, and passion. However, the context in which it is used plays a significant role in how it is perceived. For example, when used in road signs it can evoke danger and your urgency to stop. Whereas on Valentine’s Day, the colour red signifies deep love and feelings. This versatility makes red a popular choice in the marketing world for its attention-grabbing nature and intense connotation.
Example: Crown ASL & Ditto Custom Clothing
Our clients Crown Architectural Systems use the colour red within their branding to convey the strength, durability, and stability. Relating to their products and services and how they deliver their projects. Similarly, our client’s Ditto use it as a powerful statement to grab attention and cut through the ‘sea of sameness’ with the hundreds of muted fashion brands.
Positive Perceptions: Youth, Vitality, Fun, Optimism, Warmth, Playful, Confidence, Extroversion
Negative Perceptions: Warning, Caution, Superficial, Impatient
Orange is a very vibrant colour that evokes feelings of enthusiasm and warmth. It is often used in products related to the sun, such as sunscreen or tanning oil. In the Construction industry, it is also used for its high visibility, as the colour “safety orange” is hard to miss and alerts people to potential hazards or areas of great interest.
Orange holds a unique place in marketing strategies as it combines the attention-grabbing power of red with the cheeriness of yellow. The key to using orange in marketing is to understand the context and the target audience, and use it in a way that aligns with their personality and appeals to them.
Example: Buston & Maughan Group
Back in November, we helped Buston & Maughan Heating & Plumbing rebrand to Buston & Maughan Group. Meaning there was a new logo, new set of brand guidelines and a new signature colour. Previously Buston & Maughan had been blue in colour but this felt very ‘samey’ to the other businesses in their so we opted for an orange colour palette. Here’s why:
- High Visibility: Orange is a highly visible colour, which makes it easy to spot on a job site or on a company vehicle. This can help Buston & Maughan vehicles to stand out, making them more easily identifiable for customers in need of service.
- Safety: Orange is often associated with safety, especially in the construction industry. By using orange in their branding and marketing, Buston & Maughan Group can convey a sense of caution and care to their customers, highlighting their commitment to safety on the job.
- Energy: Orange is also known to evoke feelings of energy and enthusiasm, which can convey a sense of reliability and readiness to serve their customers. It’s also a direct reflection of their team and brand personality. They are bubbly, fun and upbeat.
Positive Perceptions: Happiness, Hope, Positivity, Fresh, Creativity, Intellectual, Loyalty, Innovation
Negative Perceptions: Aggravating, Cautious, Anxious, Fear
In corporate branding, yellow is seen as fun, energetic, young, and attention-grabbing. Still, it’s relatively uncommon compared to its primary colour brethren. If used too excessively yellow can make people feel anxious, uncomfortable and even fearful. It’s also become well known with low-cost “budget” brands which if you’re not careful could give off the wrong impression about your product or service. That said, yellow is incredibly effective as a secondary or highlight colour as it lifts designs when used more sparingly.
Example: RE:geon Training
It’s no secret that our client RE:geon Training love to play around with colour to reflect the vibrancy and youthfulness of their brand. Yellow has become a fantastic accent colour for RE:geon who use it to convey a variety of messaging across their marketing touchpoints! Initially brought in as a colour to symbolise Construction Hard Hats for colour coding their Construction Skills bootcamps and training programmes, yellow is now a key ingredient to differentiating content pillars as well as conveying feelings of optimism, innovation, and the celebration of new beginnings – perfect for young aspiring candidates keen to embark on a new career!
Positive Perceptions: Clean, Fresh, Trustworthy, Regeneration, Growth, Wealth, Health, Safety, Luck, Sustainability
Negative Perceptions: Envious, Sick, Jealous, Contaminated
Green is a colour commonly used in hygiene products, cleaning supplies, and healthy food branding because it evokes associations with being natural, eco-friendly and full of wellness. It is also the colour people tend to trust the most due to its positive reinforcement and assurances.
Green is commonly used for positive actions, such as “go” or “enter”, which is why businesses take a real likeness use green buttons on their websites to encourage clicks. Green also indicates that you are “correct” or “right,” making your business the right business to go to.
Example: RE:GEN Group
Our clients RE:GEN Group use green in their branding to convey a number of different messages. Green symbolises environmental sustainability and eco-friendliness, which aligns perfectly with the company’s vision and values to be carbon neutral by 2030. Green also represents growth, renewal and progress, which is fitting for a company that specialises in the regeneration and retrofitting of existing properties within the Social Housing sector.
Positive Perceptions: Calm, Clear, Secure, Intelligent, Dependable, Peaceful, Healing, Reliable
Negative Perceptions: Cold, Passive, Gloomy, Sad, Predictable, Quiet
Blue is the most used colour for the world’s most valuable brands, so blue has a huge track record for success. But it can be difficult to stand out when you choose blue for your logo or branding because it is so popular.
Example: Blue Moon Marketing
Although you could say our name largely dictated what our core colour palette was going to be, here at Blue Moon, we love our branding, and it suits us perfectly! Our colour palette deliberately includes a variety of blue tones to inspire different emotions and feelings at any given time. A rich dark blue symbolises trust, dependability, and professionalism. (Tick!) Qualities that as a Marketing Agency we want to be known for day in and day out. We accent this with lighter blue tones to instil calmness, intelligence, innovation and stability (everything we want our clients to associate with us and more!).
Positive Perceptions: Royal, Charming, Creative, Spiritual, Imaginative, Ambitious, Luxurious
Negative Perceptions: Excessive, Arrogant, Fragile, Unpredictable
Purple is often associated with royalty and is considered to be the colour of high thought and spirituality. As it is the last colour on the spectrum before ultraviolet, it can evoke feelings of the wildest creativity and imagination.
However, it has a tendency to more associated with femininity and female-focused brands. Purple is also the symbolisation of luxury and exclusivity as it was once the most expensive colour to produce, making it a symbol of great status. Brands that want to convey a sense of luxury and exclusivity may do well by incorporating purple in their colour palette.
Example: Fusion For Business
Fusion For Business are the trusted partner for businesses of any shape, size and sector. They support with all business energy needs from helping businesses to procure better deals for their commercial buildings and units to supporting businesses on their Net Zero journeys with the facilitation of energy efficiency projects and can even help companies reclaim miss-sold commissions of the past. We use a deep ‘almost blue’ shade of purple for their brand to evoke creativity and ambition. FFB are here to change the direction of the industry and a colour of this grandeur really helps to achieve that. Gone with the cheap and nasty colours you are usually met with in the energy sector, and in with the best quality. This rich purple works incredibly well with green or bright blue as an accent, perfect for FFB’s energy efficient service range.