Color Psychology: How Color Meanings Affect Your Brand

color psychology

Color plays an important role in how your brand is perceived. Whether you’re a fashion brand trying to connect to a youthful audience or a medical supplies store trying to strengthen customer trust, you can study color meanings to help you better attract and connect to your ideal customer. Color psychology can be used to help build a strong, relatable brand. In this article, we’ll explain what color psychology is and educate you on the color meanings for the most popular colors used.

What is Color Psychology?

Color psychology is the study of colors in relation to human behavior. It aims to determine how color affects our day to day decisions such as the items we buy. Does the color of a dress compel us into purchase? Do the colors of a package make us choose one brand over another? Does the color of an icon make us more likely to click on it? The short answer is yes. But the why part is a bit more complicated. Color meanings can have an impact on why we prefer certain colors over others. The same color can also have different meanings that are dependent on our upbringing, gender, location, values, and a variety of other factors.  

Color Meanings Infographic

Image Credit: Huffington Post

List of Color Meanings

Red Color Psychology

Marketing colors like red can capture attention. The red color meaning is associated around excitement, passion, danger, energy, and action. You might’ve noticed that some brands use red for ‘order now’ buttons or for their packaging as a way to stand out on the shelf. In color psychology, red is the most intense color. And thus, can provoke the strongest emotions. Redt can also trigger danger so you want to use the color sparingly. If you add the color red to your website, save it for the call to action or sale icons if it’ll contrast well with your store design.

Red is the iconic color used for brands like Coca Cola and YouTube. The color red tends to encourage appetite hence why brands like Coca Cola use it often in their branding. They also use words like happiness in their branding so they use the color red to build excitement. YouTube likely uses the color red due to the excitement of watching videos online. Notice how the red part of their logo is the play button which can help compel someone into action. It encourages you to want to press play on their videos.

Coca Cola - color psychology

Orange Color Psychology

In color psychology, orange represents creativity, adventure, enthusiasm, success and balance. The color orange adds a bit of fun to any picture, website, or marketing material it’s on. Despite it’s attracting color, it’s not as commanding as the color red. Many marketers still use the color for call to actions or areas of a website that they want to draw the eye too.

Orange’s color meaning shines through in logos like Nickelodeon and The Home Depot. Nickelodeon is a children’s channel and so the logo accurately represents the creativity and enthusiasm that a children’s show would need through their playful orange color. The Home Depot sells products that you can use for your home. Many Do it Yourselfers (DIY) head to Home Depot to buy products to renovate their home or make adjustments. The orange logo here also represents creativity.

The Home Depot - color meanings

Yellow Color Psychology

In color psychology, the color meaning for yellow revolves around sunshine. It evokes feelings of happiness, positivity, optimism, and summer but also of deceit and warning. Some brands choose to use a cheerful yellow color as the background or border for their website design. You can also choose to use yellow for your ‘free shipping’ bar at the top of your website if it matches the rest of your website’s design. A little touch of yellow can help your website visitors associate your store with something positive.

The color yellow is used by brands such as Ferrari and Ikea. Many people dream of driving a Ferrari. The luxury brand is associated with this feeling of happiness, summer and a carefree lifestyle. The Ikea brand also uses the color yellowing in their branding. What does buying furniture have to do with happiness? Well, let’s look at who’s likely buying those products. Many people who’ve just bought their first home or are moving out for the first time, will head to Ikea to buy products to furnish their home. This milestone is usually filled with happiness and optimism for the new change making yellow a great color to associate with the brand.

Ikea - color psychology

Green Color Psychology

In color psychology, green is highly connected to nature and money. Growth, fertility, health, and generosity are some of the positive color meanings for the color. The color meaning for green also carries some negative associations such as envy. If you’re in the health or fitness niche, you might choose to add more green to your online store. For example, your homepage banner image or logo might include a green background.

Green has been used by a few popular brands such as John Deere and Roots. John Deere’s entire brand revolves around nature. Their product line centers around landscaping, agriculture, lawn care equipment and more. The color green is so ingrained into their branding that even their equipment is the same shade of green as their logo. That way, when someone sees that product, they’ll immediately know it’s a John Deere. Roots is a fashion retailer. However, when browsing their banner images and marketing materials, you’ll often find their models in natural outdoor settings. The green logo blended with their nature imagery helps them attract outdoor enthusiasts as their target market. So even if your products aren’t necessarily tied to a niche, you can use color to help you attract a specific demographic.

John Deere - marketing colors

Color Psychology Blue

In color psychology, blue’s color meaning is tied closely to the sea and the sky. Stability, harmony, peace, calm and trust are just some of the feelings your customer may feel about your brand when you integrate the color blue into your branding. Conversely, blue can also carry some negative color meanings such as depression and can bring about a sense of coldness. Blue can be used in your website’s logo or on your website’s top navigation. Some retailers add their guarantee, trust certification or free shipping icons in a blue color to strengthen the trust aspect the color is associated with.

Blue is often used by tech brands like Facebook, Twitter and Skype. But has also been used by retailers like Walmart and Oral B. The blue in the Walmart logo can help position the brand as trustworthy, reliable, and relaxing. After all, Walmart is a place where you can buy groceries and do shopping all in one convenient location. Oral B is a dental health brand that sells toothbrushes. Health care niches, like Oral B, typically use blue in their branding to help people associate the brand with a quality, reliable and safe product.

Oral B - color meanings

Purple Color Psychology

In color psychology, purple is considered a royal color. The color meaning for purple is connected to power, nobility, luxury, wisdom, and spirituality. But avoid using the color too much as it can cause feelings of frustration and its overuse can be perceived as arrogant. You can add hints of purple to your website’s design such as on your free shipping bar, your logo, and as an accent color in your graphics.

Purple is used by Hallmark and Yahoo. When browsing both websites, you’ll notice that purple is an accent color used sparingly. On Hallmark, the logo and the top navigation are purple but the rest of the website uses a variety of other colors. On Yahoo, the logo, top navigation words, and Yahoo icons like Mail use the color purple.

Hallmark - color meaning purple

White Color Psychology

In color psychology, white is used to showcase innocence, goodness, cleanliness, and humility. Keep in mind, that this is the meaning in North American culture. In some parts of the world, white has the opposite meaning. You’ll want to keep this in mind based on the target audience you serve. The color meaning for white also has a negative side where it symbolizes sterility and cold. On an ecommerce website, white tends to be the most used color. You’ll likely use it as the background color for your product photo. Your pages will likely have a white background with a black font. This is because, black font on a white background is the best color combination for readability.

White is the color used for ASOS and Adidas. On ASOS, the words in the header, logo, and background are white. When the background is grey or black, the font is white and when the background is white the font is black. On Adidas’ online store, the top navigation is black and a white logo and font are used to contrast. Since their background is white, they’ve chosen to use grey as a background for product photos to add another tone to the mix. Many brands who have white as a central color tend to pair it with black or grey.

nike - color psychology

Black Color Psychology  

Black is a popular color in retail. In color psychology, black’s color meaning is symbolic of mystery, power, elegance, and sophistication. In contrast, the color meaning can also be used to evoke emotions such as sadness and anger. Many fashion retailers have used black in their logos. Black is also a popular color for text as it’s an easy color to read. Some brands choose to use black and white photos for lifestyle banner images or icons to create a certain tone or consistency on their website.

Black is a color used by retailers such as Chanel and Nike. Chanel uses black for their logo and has several black and white images on their website to maintain a consistent look. Once you start browsing their website, a thick black top navigation background appears. They use a black font on their graphics for images and for their text. Noticeably, their call to actions are also black. Many retailers in the fashion niche, especially, use black call to actions that contrast well against a white background. Nike also uses a black, white and grey color scheme for their website. Their logo and font is black throughout their website. Thus, making the website easy to read. Like Chanel, their call to actions are also black which draws visual emphasis to add to the item to your ‘bag’ (cart).  

Chanel - colo psychology

Conclusion

Now that you’ve learned what color psychology is and what the most common color meanings are for each color, it’s time to apply them to your business. While many niches have common colors used, such as blue for health care, you don’t always have to follow the rules. Consider choosing colors that represent what you want your brand to be about or what you want your customers to feel when browsing your online store.

Want to learn more?

What colors do you use on your online store? Let us know in the comments!

 

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