Picking the Right Color for Your Brand


Why is color important in your brand? People see color before shape and words. Color is impactful and can convey several traits about your company. The bad news is … there is no clear science behind choosing the right hues. However, there are important things to consider that can steer you in the right direction.

Personal preference, culture, and experience all impact how we see and feel about color. This makes it impossible to choose color that affects everyone in the same way. Red symbolizes good luck in some Asian countries, however in other areas, people can associate it with blood or evil. While Trisha connects yellow with good memories of her childhood bedroom walls, maybe Chris was punched in the face at fourteen from someone wearing a yellow shirt. YOU DON’T KNOW!

But don’t worry, there’s a lot that we do know.

Color should be appropriate for your brand.

Color does convey personality. You would not connect lavender and sage colors with Harley Davidson. Their iconic orange and black is intentional. Orange typically evokes excitement and while black conveys strength and quality. On the flip side, when walking into a spa, you see earth tones like blues, greens and browns which are inviting, calm, and relaxing.

That does not mean that similar products or services should all look alike. What is most important is to match the feeling color conveys with the brand identity, not what is necessarily expected. Remember, your brand identity is everything that your customer comes in contact with to create an experience, emotion, and eventually, a call to action.

Know your competition.

While color should be appropriate for your brand, it is also a great opportunity to position yourself against similar products or services. When T-Mobile came into the market, my initial reaction was, “What in Sam Hill are they doing with that hot pink color for a tech company? They are crazy!” And my reaction was EXACTLY what T-Mobile wanted. It was entering a saturated market with powerhouses like AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. Hot pink is attention-getting, and it conveys new, fresh and unexpected. All of these messages tie directly back to T-Mobile’s brand identity while positioning them against a strong competition.

Ignore old stereotypes.

Say your target market is young women. Take that old stereotype that all women love pink out of your head and shove it in your Vitamix. There is a general movement away from gender stereotyping as we see stores like Target taking down the blue aisle for boys and pink aisle for girls’ toys. However, what was traditionally thought to appeal to men versus women is simply untrue. Research by Joe Hallock states that both women and men favor blue. Mind. Blown.

With that being said, choose colors that compliment and say something about your brand, not what you believe your target audience wants to see. That’s a losing battle anyway since you don’t know what every individual prefers.

Because color is noticed first, it is at the front line in the battle of getting your message across. Do you want your customers to feel excited when interacting with your brand? Maybe red or orange hues are best. Or how about sophisticated and posh? Perhaps explore purples. Want to convey warm, dependable and inviting? Browns and greens are a good starting point. Always tie colors back to your brand identity. Be brand appropriate.

Use color for your unique position in your market, and stay clear of guessing what your target audience prefers. With those tools, your colors should do their job as an integral part of your brand.

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