How To Use The Power Of Color In Your Branding Skip to Content

How To Use The Power Of Color In Your Branding

As a branding strategist, I work with mom entrepreneurs from all over the world and all walks of life in creating brands in different fields, and the one question that always comes up is “How do I choose my brand colors?”

Your brand colors are NOT your favorite colors. Choosing the colors you think best represent your brand must be an intentional process involving a lot of research, study, and reflection and – like much of the branding process – it is NOT about you.

Color holds power in branding. 93 percent of people make purchase decisions based on color and visual appearance. 

Color is a key component of your brand’s visual identity. Your logo will be made up of words, symbols, shapes, and numbers, and color is the most memorable component, increasing brand recognition by up to 80%.

Color affects how people feel when they experience your brand. Color can also make your brand stand out from others in your industry or field, when chosen well. 

To get you started thinking about your brand colors, think about the words that represent your brand meaning, culture, and personality. 

The Positive Mom StarWhat colors represent the characteristics you want your brand to be known for?

The Positive Mom StarWhat colors communicate the message you want to convey, the story you want to tell?

The Positive Mom StarWhat colors evoke the feelings you want your audience to feel, the mood you want to set?

Besides thinking about shades of color, take into consideration the texture and how matte or glossy might alter or affect the message you want to convey with your brand.

The Meaning of Colors in Color Psychology

Now let’s explore these color meanings to make sure you are sending the right message with the right colors:

The Meaning of Red ~ 

Do you think red is perfect for your brand? If you want to communicate power, passion, desire, danger, action, love, confidence, strength, courage, or sexuality, then red is perfect for you.

Red is a bold, lively, vibrant, energetic and intense color associated with romance, joy, vigor, willpower, leadership, lust, longing, sensitivity, rage, anger, danger, malice, wrath, stress, action, vibrance, radiance, energy, and determination.

Red is assertive, daring, determined, energetic, powerful, enthusiastic, impulsive, exciting, and aggressive. Studies show that the color red is hot and stimulating and can create physical effects such as elevated blood pressure, enhanced libido, increased respiratory rates, enhanced metabolism, increased enthusiasm, higher levels of energy, and increased confidence.The color red is able to focus attention quickly and get people to make quick decisions.

The Meaning of Orange ~ 

Orange gives a fresh and healthy feel to your brand as it blends the energy of red and the happiness and the optimism of yellow. The color orange communicates activity, energy, youthfulness, creativity and adventure.

The color orange is flamboyant and is often used to draw attention and get noticed (think traffic signs and ads) and it is associated with joy, sunshine, autumn and the tropics. Orange can represent enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, freedom, expression, health, fun, fascination, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, stimulation, cheerfulness, excitement, enjoyment, balance, sexuality, and provides a sensation of heat and warmth.

Orange is an active color because it makes us react by gut feeling, and by what we feel at that particular moment. Orange can create a sense of general wellness and emotional energy and can even help an individual recover from disappointments, a wounded heart, or a hard blow to one’s pride. Orange can also help aid decision making, and enhances happiness, confidence, and understanding.

Studies show that the color orange can promote physical effects such as increased hunger, heightened sense of activity, increased socialization, boost in aspiration, stimulated mental activity, increased oxygen supply to the brain, increased contentment, and enhanced assurance. Isn’t that fascinating?

Beware though: dark orange may represent deceit and distrust, while red-orange relates to passion, pleasure, desire, aggression, domination, and action, and a golden orange often stands for prestige, wisdom, illumination, wealth, and quality.

The Meaning of Yellow ~ Optimistic, Cheerful, Playful, Happy

Yellow is the color of sunshine, sunlight – and smiley faces! Adding yellow to your brand can signify cheerfulness, friendliness, joy and both physical and creative energy.

Yellow can be associated with mental clarity, wisdom and intellect and it is said to aid logic, memory, concentration, will power, and communication. Studies indicate that the color yellow helps activate the memory, encourage communication, enhance vision, build self-confidence, and stimulate the nervous system. That’s why yellow symbolizes personal power, fulfillment, courage, and abundance.

Bright yellow is the most visible and noticeable color from a distance, especially when combined with black; however, yellow is also a cautionary color used in life vests, police cordoning tape and hazardous areas.

Yellow is often associated with food and is highly used in children’s products and marketing aimed at children, which is why it’s often seen as a “childish” color.

Yellow can stand for hope, freshness, happiness, positivity, clarity, energy, optimism, enlightenment, remembrance, intellect, honor, loyalty, and joy, but can also represent cowardice and deceit. A dull or dingy yellow may represent caution, sickness, and jealousy. You may want to ask your ideal audience what they perceive in the yellow tone you plan to use in your branding.

Avoid misusing overusing yellow! It’s been proven that babies cry more in rooms painted yellow and that too much yellow causes loss of focus and makes it hard to complete a task, as well as causing people to become critical and demanding.

Using too little yellow can lead to feelings of isolation and fear, insecurity, and low self-esteem, while a lack of yellow can cause one to become rigid, cunning, possessive, or defensive.

The Meaning of Green ~ Nature, Vitality, Prestige, Wealth

Green is most used in branding in association with life, nature, and the environment (vegetation), as well as with prestige, abundance, financial health and wealth (U.S. currency). 

Green is often used to indicate safety in the advertising of drugs and medical products, and “green light” is a sign of approval.

You can see the prominent use of green in brands that want to be known as organic, natural, environmentally sustainable, and those which promote health and wellness. Green represents balance, harmony, growth, freshness, fertility, tranquility, the restoration of energy, and rebirth (symbolizing spring).

Researchers have found that the color green can improve reading ability, enhance vision, stability and endurance.

The color green is believed to be the color of good luck and to have healing power, especially in stressful situations, since green is a soothing, relaxing, and youthful color. Green can alleviate feelings of anxiety, depression, and nervousness, bringing a sense of hope, well-being, adventure, renewal, as well as self-control and compassion. Olive green has traditionally been known as the color of peace.  

Of course, we’ve all heard the saying “green with envy,” as dark green can represents greed, ambition, jealousy. Yellow-green can denote sickness and cowardice.

The Meaning of Blue ~ Communicative, Trustworthy, Calming, Depressed

Let’s talk about the color of the sky and the sea! Blue is a popular color, especially for brands that wish to convey reliability, wisdom, trust, reliability, and stability.

Besides representing intelligence, faith, truth, and heavenly things, blue is also associated with the emotional feeling of being ‘blue,’ as it expresses sadness or depression. Blue can be a stereotypical color for the masculine.

Blue has a positive effect to the mind and body in that it can slow human metabolism and is an appetite suppressant.

Blue produces chemicals to evoke a calming, cooling, and peaceful feeling, preventing chaos and opening up communication. Blue can also expand one’s perspective, imagination, sensitivity, and intuition ability. In fact, light blue can symbolize health, healing, tranquility, understanding and softness.

Dark blue, however, is associated with knowledge, power, integrity, significance, importance and professionalism, and electric or vibrant blues add a dynamic, engaging, and dramatic vibe.

The Meaning of Pink ~ Feminine, Sentimental, Romantic, Exciting

Pink represents all things sweet, nice, playful, cute, romantic, charming, and tender. Pink has been a stereotype color for the feminine, so many people think about pink as a color for girls. 

Pink inspires positive feelings like compassion, love / self-love, caring, comfort, and understanding. In Psychology, pink is the color of  hope. Pink symbolizes friendship, affection, harmony, charm, inner peace, and approachability.

Hot pink is used to communicate playfulness, energy and excitement, while light pink denotes tenderness.

The Meaning of Purple ~ Royalty, Majesty, Spiritual, Mysterious

Purple is typically associated with royalty, majesty or nobility, and spirituality or mysticism.  Purple can denote luxury, power, ambition of wealth, extravagance, opulence, creativity, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence, and magic.

According to color psychology, light purple has feminine energy, with a sentimental and even nostalgic effect, while dark purple can represent sadness and frustration.

The sacred nature of the color purple is said to be a result of its rare appearance in nature. Lavender, orchid, lilac, and violet flowers are considered delicate and precious, and purple is equally rare in branding. Research suggests that purple is best used for targeting a female audience.

The color purple has many positive effects on the mind and body, including uplifting one’s spirits, calming the mind and nerves, enhancing sacredness, creating feelings of spirituality, increasing nurturing tendencies and sensitivity, and encouraging imagination and creativity.

The Meaning of Brown ~ Organic, Wholesome, Simple, Honest

Since it is the color of the Earth, dirt, stone, wood, and soil, the color brown is used to communicate stability, reliability, dependability, growth, steadfastness, fertility, structure, support, and approachability.

Because brown is a very down-to-earth color, it stands for warmth, honesty, a stable foundation, family protection, responsibility, a sense of duty, material security, and the acquisition of material possessions.

Brown is a comforting and nurturing color that represents nature and gives a feeling of wholesomeness and grounding to your brand.

Brown has become popular to market quality, organic, all-natural brands, or concepts of earth-friendly, eco-friendly, recycling, healthy, and environmentally conscious branding, especially when combined with green.

Physically, the color brown is said to stimulate the appetite and it does affect the mind in a positive way creating feelings of wholesomeness, stability, peace and relaxation, orderliness and organization, and a strong connection to the earth. The color brown is also believed to inspire friendliness and help you feel like you fit in and belong!

The Meaning of Black – Sophisticated, Formal, Luxurious, Sorrowful

As we all know, lack is the absence of color. Black is quite a bold and ambiguous color so it must be used carefully in your branding. It can mean power, elegance, luxury, authority, strength, professionalism, sophistication, exclusivity and a sexy feel on one hand; and death, mourning, evil, fear, grief, aggression, the unknown, and mystery on the other.

Black adds distinction, formality, and a classic touch to your brand, but too much black can be overwhelming.

The color black affects both the mind and body. Black can evoke strong emotions and can  create an inconspicuous feeling, boosting confidence in appearance, increasing the sense of potential and possibility, or producing negative feelings, such as those of emptiness, gloom, or sadness.

In Feng Shui, black has a way of harmonizing your home, office, and other environments. Black has a visually slimming color in clothing and can make a room appear to shrink in size. 

The Meaning of White ~ Purity, Simplicity, Innocence, Minimalism

The color white is inherently positive, especially in the media, since it is a symbol of simplicity, purity, innocence, light, goodness, spirituality, brilliance, humility, understanding, safety, illumination, cleanliness, faith, protection, softness, and perfection.

White also comes with a starkness or sterility about it, which is often used be designers to convey a minimalist aesthetic and clean, modern quality.

White is a cool color, since it is the color of snow, and it has positive effects in the body, mind, and spirit. The color white aids in in mental clarity, promotes feelings of fresh beginnings and renewal, it assists in cleansing and clearing obstacles and clutter, and encourages the purification of thoughts and actions.

The Web Safe Color Palette

Now that you have delved into color psychology, let’s choose two colors for your brand!

When I officially started my career as a Web Designer back in 2001, the Web Safe Color Chart was all the rave. The web safe palette is comprised of 216 colors that are considered web safe. Most web developers today do not limit themselves to web safe colors, but it is still an excellent practice.

The colors on the Web Safe Chart are represented as a hex color code. It’s called a hex (or hexadecimal) color code because each character of the code can hold one of 16 possible values.

Why It Is Important To Use Web Safe Colors?

Computers and mobile devices display an array of different colors and shades on the screen. Using web safe colors creates brand consistency across all devices, and between you offline and online marketing:

  • Increased Brand Recognition
  • A consistent professional appearance
  • An uncompromised color psychology strategy

Choosing Your Brand Colors

I recommend that you use two meaningful colors for your branding, with a maximum of three colors, to keep your brand simple, purposeful, and memorable.

  1. Choose a base, neutral color that will serve as your background color.
  2. Add a vibrant color to be the main color to represent your brand
  3. Choose a call-to-action color to use for buttons, links, and other action graphics.

Use this web safe color chart to help select your brand colors to make sure your branding displays consistently across all platforms.

000000 000033 000066 000099 0000CC 0000FF
003300 003333 003366 003399 0033CC 0033FF
006600 006633 006666 006699 0066CC 0066FF
009900 009933 009966 009999 0099CC 0099FF
00CC00 00CC33 00CC66 00CC99 00CCCC 00CCFF
00FF00 00FF33 00FF66 00FF99 00FFCC 00FFFF

 

330000 330033 330066 330099 3300CC 3300FF
333300 333333 333366 333399 3333CC 3333FF
336600 336633 336666 336699 3366CC 3366FF
339900 339933 339966 339999 3399CC 3399FF
33CC00 33CC33 33CC66 33CC99 33CCCC 33CCFF
33FF00 33FF33 33FF66 33FF99 33FFCC 33FFFF

 

660000 660033 660066 660099 6600CC 6600FF
663300 663333 663366 663399 6633CC 6633FF
666600 666633 666666 666699 6666CC 6666FF
669900 669933 669966 669999 6699CC 6699FF
66CC00 66CC33 66CC66 66CC99 66CCCC 66CCFF
66FF00 66FF33 66FF66 66FF99 66FFCC 66FFFF

 

990000 990033 990066 990099 9900CC 9900FF
993300 993333 993366 993399 9933CC 9933FF
996600 996633 996666 996699 9966CC 9966FF
999900 999933 999966 999999 9999CC 9999FF
99CC00 99CC33 99CC66 99CC99 99CCCC 99CCFF
99FF00 99FF33 99FF66 99FF99 99FFCC 99FFFF

 

CC0000 CC0033 CC0066 CC0099 CC00CC CC00FF
CC3300 CC3333 CC3366 CC3399 CC33CC CC33FF
CC6600 CC6633 CC6666 CC6699 CC66CC CC66FF
CC9900 CC9933 CC9966 CC9999 CC99CC CC99FF
CCCC00 CCCC33 CCCC66 CCCC99 CCCCCC CCCCFF
CCFF00 CCFF33 CCFF66 CCFF99 CCFFCC CCFFFF

 

FF0000 FF0033 FF0066 FF0099 FF00CC FF00FF
FF3300 FF3333 FF3366 FF3399 FF33CC FF33FF
FF6600 FF6633 FF6666 FF6699 FF66CC FF66FF
FF9900 FF9933 FF9966 FF9999 FF99CC FF99FF
FFCC00 FFCC33 FFCC66 FFCC99 FFCCCC FFCCFF
FFFF00 FFFF33 FFFF66 FFFF99 FFFFCC FFFFFF

Your brand colors can make or break your message.

What two hex codes in the Web Safe Color Chart did you choose? Why? Color is a power which directly influences the soul! 

[ela]

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