When Colour Matters: Brand Identity and the Psychology of Colour

Colour is all around us, but do we stop to consider why something is a certain colour in nature? Not necessarily, unless it is exceptional, such as a brilliant red rose or clear blue sky. And yet, when we experience these things they elicit a certain response from us, even though we may not consciously be aware of it.

Colour matters, especially when you are designing your product or logo. The colours you choose may strongly influence the reaction—good or bad—of your potential clients, according major researchers, including neuroscientist Bevil Conway. Conway dedicated much of his research on the “neural machinery” involved with the use of colour. Conway believes the science behind colour processing to be very powerful. He is also investigating the relationship between of how humans are “hardwired for certain hues could be a gateway into understanding the neural properties of emotion."

There are significant tests to see why some brand colours are integral to the emotion they elicit from clients. For example, if Airbnb changed from red to blue it would lose some of its “home away from home” fuzziness. That is because “red” elicits a bold, and warm energy. Blue, on the other hand, is trustworthy, professional, but cold.

Colour plays an important role in our lives. It can influence our thinking and have an impact on our actions as well as reactions. We can become irritated or calmed. It can raise our blood pressure or suppress our appetite.

Colour and Decisions

If your product is gender specific, then you will want to take the colour option a step further.

Briefly, by percentage, women’s favorite colours are blue by 34 percent, purple with 23 percent, followed by green by 14 percent and red by 9 percent. The least favorite colour is white, at 1 percent.

Men’s favorite colours break down by the biggest percentage was blue at 57 percent, followed by green at 14 percent, black at 9 percent and red at 7 percent. Least favorite on this chart is yellow at 1 percent.

In terms of colour perception and preferences, results showed that women prefer soft colours while men prefer bright colours.

A study by Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics Aesthetic Response to Colour Combinations: Preference, harmony and similarity, reveal that colour evokes the mood and feeling that your brand creates in the buyer. This plays a major role in persuasion.

As you design a marketing plan and are considering colour, note that the colours you chose will be important to elicit the response you are looking for. You want to show a clear message for your business.

How to design a logo

Try to design your logo with no more than three colours. This is a combination that will keep the design interesting without being overly complex. A triadic colour scheme, a design that suggests that colours should be placed either in a circle or horizontal pattern, not on an angle, can be best.

Also, keep in mind you should not use equal amounts of three colours. Designers use a rule of 60 - 30 – 10 for balance.

· The primary colour is about 60 percent of the space

· The secondary is about 30 percent to create contrast,

· Lastly, use about 10 percent of the accent colour to provide that final touch of elegance.

Brand strength is in the ability to stand out. Research your industry to see what others in your field are doing in terms of colour. You want to be sure you pick the right colours for you as well as something different than your competitors.

Just as important as how you run your business is the marketing and branding that bring your customers to you.

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