So, how does that make you feel?

Colours are all around us and impact on our reactions, emotions and decisions on a daily basis.

The impact colours have on is is known as Colour Psychology. In marketing, colour psychology is a very useful tool and a lot of consideration is given to brand colours during the initial creative process. In this post we are going to have a look at how colours can be used in branding to convey certain messages as well as looking at a few famous brands and the colours they have chosen as well as some of the reason why.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common colours and identify how and why they are used.


Powerful and Passionate: Confidence – Energy – Intensity

The color red demands attention. It is strongly linked to love and romance. Looking at the colour red causes increased heart rate and appetite, as well as a sense of urgency.

Red gives a sense of  power and high-energy. It is a very popular choice in the food industry as it has been been proven to increase appetite. Think Kellogs, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, KFC, TGI Fridays…

Red also has the ability to increase heart rate and thus creates a sense of urgency. As a result red is almost habitually chosen as the colour to highlight a Sale or discount.


Playful and Enthusiastic: Excitement – Warmth – Creativity

Orange is associated with playfulness and enthusiasm and is said to activate brain activity. This combination of friendliness and mental stimulation makes it great for inspiring consumers to take action. Orange branding sends the message that your company is friendly and cheerful. This makes it a good choice for brands who want to be seen as light-hearted and not too serious, but still confident. More recently orange has began to be linked with low prices and budget brands such as Easy-Jet and B&M Bargains. Companies like Sainsburys , B&Q also have orange  branding which conveys low-prices.


Fun and Friendly: Happiness – Optimism – Caution

Yellow is very positive colour and is associated with happiness and optimism. Brands like Ferrari, McDonalds, Snapchat and Pringles all use yellow as their primary colour.  Yellow is seen as cheerful and warm, which encourages communication. On the downside, yellow is also sometimes associated with caution, like on road signs and danger signs. It can also cause eye strain, and bright shades are known to make babies cry so don’t go painting that nursery yellow or you’ll be in for some sleepless nights!

Yellow branding shows that your company is friendly and positive. It demands attention and conveys a sense of happiness. Visually some shades of yellow can be difficult to see so it is often seen combined with another colour. Quite often red, black or green are used with yellow. Companies like Shell, McDonalds and Mastercard all use yellow and red for instance. This combination is often used together to imply the company is fast and friendly.


Youthful and Earth-Friendly: Health – Tranquility – Freshness

Green represents growth, and evokes a feeling of relaxation and healing. It is the color of plants and trees, so it reminds viewers of nature and health. It is also associated with money and wealth.

Above all, a green logo or branding conveys the message that your company is environmentally friendly. Companies like the petrolium giant BP have used green in their Helios logo. The logo is white on the inside, yellow in the middle and green on the outside. They say that their brand colours suggest heat, light and nature so we can see here how the green is used to make us think that they are ethical and enviromentally concious.

It can also be a good choice for financial companies, since it reminds consumers of money.


Calm and Logical: Serenity – Stability – Peacefulness

Blue is associated with the sky and the ocean, which both evoke feelings of tranquility and security. It has also been proven that people are the most productive when they work in blue rooms. Blue is also known to curb appetites so if your a business like a restaraunt it may not be the wisest choice to have a blue logo….. or menus.

Blue isn’t as attention-grabbing as colors like red or yellow,  however it is the most popular favorite color of both men and women. This means that it is universally well-liked and so makes a great choice for many brands.

Blue branding gives the impression that your business is professional and logical, but not invasive. It often creates a sense of security and trust in your company and so is often used by banks and building societies such as Halifax, Natwest and Nationwide. Many technology firms who also require trust from their clientel use blue in their logos. Examples of these include BELL. HP, GE, Intel, Samsung, Phillips, Siemens and many more. More recently social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have opted for blue branding due to its friendly and trustworthy qualities.


Luxurious and Wise: Royalty – Wealth – Success

In the past purple was notoriously difficult to produce and was often associated with nobility and kings.

As a result, today it is commonly associated with wealth and luxury. It is also known for it use within the realms of fantasy, mystery, and magic, and can evoke a feeling of wisdom and imagination.

The use of purple in your branding shows that your business is luxurious and imaginative. Cadbury’s are just one of the world famous brands that use the colour purple because of these connotations. It also attracts consumers who want to be seen as wealthy or wise, as well as ones who are inclined towards a feeling of magic or mystery. Examples of these can be seen in brands such as Hallmark and Syfy.


Feminine and Sweet: Femininity – Warmth – Energy

Pink is generally associated with femininity, and therfore is generally used by brands targeting a female consumers. Companies like children’s brand Barbie, publishers Cosmopolitan and lengerie brand Victorias Secret all have pink logos and branding. This showcases how pink can work across many industries that have a female target audience.

Pink can be also associated with sweetness, and is seen in logos for sweet foods companies such as Dunkin Donuts and Archies Milkshakes. It is also seen as a “fun” color, and can evoke a sense of playfulness.


Serious and Sophisticated: Elegance – Seriousness – Exclusivity

Black is seen as a serious color, and can evoke a feeling of sophistication. Although it might look plain, it is often used for luxury products like Prada and Tiffany & Co. because of its sense of elegance and glamor. Black can also show consumers that your brand is mysterious and exclusive.

Brands like BBC, New York Times and adidas all have black logos as they want to appear not to be trying desperatly to gain attention as this projects a well-established brand image and hints at a strong reputation.

We hope that the above gives you some idea how powerful and important colour is for your business. Hopefully it has also given you some insight as to why some of the famous brands you know look the way they do.

If you want to discuss re-branding or a new venture please feel free to get in touch and tap into our expertise.