The increasing influence of colour used in branding.

Marketing channels are cluttered with increasing noise from brands fighting for attention, marketers must maximise every tool at their disposal to stay competitive.

The use of colour to increase the effectiveness of marketing communications is an ever more important tool.

Colours are carefully selected by brand designers to evoke a specific emotional response from a target audience. When colour is carefully paired with a well-thought-out brand message, the outcomes are increasingly positive. It is crucial a brand’s colour palette reflects the values of the organisation.

Before we delve deeper into colour theory, let’s unpack how graphic designers select colours.

The colour wheel.

The colour wheel consists of three layers. Layer one is primary colours (red, yellow and blue). Layer two holds secondary colours (orange, green and violet), these colours are mixed with the primary colours. The third layer consists of tertiary colours (red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet and red-violet).

Selecting a brand colour.

When selecting a colour palette there are four systems to consider: analogous, complementary, triadic and tetradic. Analogous colours are any three side-by-side colours (e.g. orange, yellow, light green). Complimentary colours consist of colours opposing each other on the colour wheel (e.g. yellow-purple, or orange-blue). Triadic are colours equally spaced around the wheel (e.g. orange-green-purple). Tetradic colours are four evenly spaced colours on the colour wheel.

We can further separate colours into three defined categories:

  • Natural association: These are colours associated with the natural environment. Eg, green, aqua, blue etc. The colours of the ocean or forest are seen as natural and invoke a sense of balance, calmness and relaxation. Next time you are at the supermarket take note of the colours used on shampoo bottles or tissue boxes.
  • Cultural and Psychological: Colours associated with cultural heritage, for example, purple and gold are seen as royal and luxurious. Brand association – Cadbury’s.
  • Evolutionary: Colours that are ‘built-in’ into the human genes. Red is seen as a colour of passion, assertiveness and intensity. Yellow is a colour linked to alertness and energy. Brand association McDonald’s.

To achieve what we call colour harmony, which is when the viewer considers the colours to be working together. Colour harmony isn’t necessarily defined by the viewer’s appreciation, more by the fact there is nothing visually wrong with the colour pairings.

Branding: Colour association.

Different colours will evoke different emotional responses. In its simplest form, do red and orange make you feel calm, possibly not? Blue will most likely have a calming reassuring response. Our brains over thousands of years have been hard-wired to associate different colours with different emotions.

  • Red: strength, power, desire, confidence
  • Orange: enthusiasm, energy, warmth, pleasure
  • Yellow: Joy, intensity, cheer, energy
  • Green: Growth, productivity, renewal, intelligence
  • Blue: Trust, confidence, Loyalty, intelligence

Creating brand impact using colour.

Recent studies prove that 85% of consumers respond directly to colour, making it one of the most important aspects of branding. While a brand’s colour selection is key, it is also vital to pair it with the applicable design aesthetic and messaging.

When incorporated into the branding process, graphic designers exploit the use of colour to shape and steer emotional responses, conversations and purchasing habits.


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Branding and the increasing influence of colour.

Brand colour at its finest - We all know the classic red softdrink.

Colours are carefully selected by brand designers to evoke a specific emotional response from a target audience.

To discuss your brand colour contact Hello Brands today.

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