Design Basics: Color Psychology In Branding

January 8, 2023

You'll have to admit that color plays an important role in our daily lives. Traffic lights tell us that red means stop and green means go. Blue can be the color of the sky or what you're feeling. It's an inescapable fact that colors are more tied to our feelings and subconsciously, we've been trained to associate specific colors to specific moods and emotions. Understanding this fact will shine light on how brands make use of color to identify their niche and to connect better with their audience. This is called color psychology. Let's dive in to understand what this means to you and your business.

Is This A Science?

To build a better brand that impacts your customers, you'll need to know how they perceive you. After all, this is what sets you apart from your competitors. Although there have been various attempts to pinpoint how people react to specific colors, there's just no definite playbook for it because people perceive things differently based on their personal experiences. There's no one size-fits-all answer to this. Why then do we even bother with color psychology? It works as a good starting point but it all comes down to color appropriateness.

Source: Huffpost

Let Your Customers Decide

What does appropriateness really mean? Simply put, does your color palette fit your product? Research shows that predicting customer reactions to your color choices are more effective that any individual color.

Show The Real You

Just like a person, your brand needs to be authentic and have a personality. When you're considering a color, think of your audience and what they prefer. It's not typical to add a pink color scheme to a rugged brand. I'm not saying that pink is not masculine (that's a whole other topic) but rather that it's just not commonly associated with ruggedness. Picking the right colors will set the right tone.

It's common practice to stick to the generic colors of our competitors because our brains are wired to prefer familiarity. That's why so many brands have color palettes that are so similar. If you're planning to be memorable, try a color scheme that helps you stand out. That could also work in your favor. This doesn't have to be an extreme like the pink example provided though because again, it depends on your brand's personality.

Men vs Women

Joe Hallock did a study into gender related color psychology on "Color Assignment" and discovered that there are indeed some clear color preferences across genders.

On top of that, hues, shades and tints can play a part in color psychology. In general, men prefer bolder colors and shades of color while women prefer softer colors and tints of color. Unless you're marketing to a specific gender, don't restrict yourself to the suggested colors.

Finding The Right Choice

At the end of the day, there'll always be conflicting research that points you every which way. My apologies if you came here expecting a definite answer about color choices. You can take a page out of your competitor's playbook or use the suggested colors as a starting point. It all comes down to how well you know your customers and how you want to be remembered. Let us know what you think about color theory and color psychology.

If you're hoping to get some help picking out the right color scheme for your brand, let us know at and we'll be happy to assist you.

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