The Importance of Color Theory in Branding

Oct 18, 2019 | English

For a new e-commerce store, the importance of color in branding and advertising is extremely important yet often overlooked. Many business owners start with colors they personally like rather than colors that evoke a psychological response by the consumer to relate and buy from their brand. Corporate branding strategies understand color psychology and the use of color in advertising. Here is how you can keep your business on par with the big boys using the right colors.

Color Theory and The Brain 

Once upon a time, the idea of color symbolism psychology was nothing more than ideas based on anecdotal evidence. Companies tested marketing colors with different ads and monitored the results. Bottom line: colors and emotions are tied together and convey a mood for people.

More research has been dumped into understanding various color meanings within the brain. Colors lead to the release of neurotransmitters and blood flow paths. The conclusion is there are some predictable patters when looking at certain colors.

Color meanings such as red and orange are stimulating, energy arousing colors while blue and green are calming. Certain darker blues can even lead to passive emotions. Red, yellow, and blue are considered powerful colors to consider for generate very strong emotions.

It’s time to go from understanding color theory to using it to your advantage in advertising.

Importance of Color Associations in Advertising

The patterns of color meanings science has developed are really just the starting point. Color meanings and preferences are highly subjective. If someone associates negative feelings with blue because they had a traumatic experience while wearing blue shorts, they might not feel calm and stable with a blue product. Color associations are tied to memories and create correlations between new products based on the associated positive or negative emotions.

Building your brand on color is not the only component you need to consider but it isn’t an element you should ignore. If you know your audience and what your products do for them, color branding will subtly help you build trust and confidence with them. That leads to more sales. However, accomplishing the right emotions in advertising can be a bit tricky.

Color and Branding – What Do You Want People to Feel

Many new business owners want their buyers to be excited when they see their product and service. This is a natural way to think about how you want consumers to view you – with happiness and excitement. However, understanding why consumers love you may have more to do with the colors you choose than you imagine.

When Apple was developing the iPod mini, Steve Jobs is known to have adamantly stated that he wanted mature colors. His designer adamantly disagreed and said that vibrant, intense colors would attract the young target market. On the other hand, Whole Foods uses green and brown to depict an earth-friendly brand that helps its consumers be healthier while being good advocates for the planet. Of course, everything else you do as a brand must deliver – you can’t just choose a color and expect to have happy, loyal customers. Color is just an extension of your products, customer service, and everything your company stands for.

Target Audience and Color Meanings

Understanding your audience and demographics is very important when using color psychology. Something as simple as understanding that white often represents purity in western culture but represents mourning in some regions in Asia is important to evoke the right emotional state from your target audience.

When using color theory for your logo, website design, ads, and even product packaging you must consider what your product does and how it serves your target audience. Steve Jobs originally chose darker colors for the iPod and was smart to allow his designer to go with the brighter colors – their market was teens and young adults, not mature professionals nearing retirement.

Learn what your buyers like and love and you will have the right insights to the types of colors that will give them an immediate positive response to your website design, logo, and products. Marketing colors and advertising schemes reflect your target audience.

Colors Psychology – Universal Perceived Meaning

Color Color Meanings Types of Brands
Blue Positive emotions that generate feelings of trust and security Fiduciary brands where people must trust advice
Red Energetic and strong, red can be seen as aggressive and provocative Trendsetting brands looking to change existing models
Green Representing nature and good health with calming effects of lighter greens Organics and supplements or companies with a sustainable twist
Yellow A happy color representing optimism and vibrancy Solution-based services designed for convenience and ease
Purple Creativity, sophistication, royalty, and exclusivity Designer brands, entertainment companies
Pink Energetic or romantic depending on shade Relationship and lifestyle brands
Orange Cheerful and fun, whimsical Children’s brands
Brown Stability and simplicity Nature, outdoor, and organic lifestyle products
Black Elegant and classic Luxury products and exclusive solutions
White Clean, simple and sanitary Health, wellness, and hygiene solutions

Where to Use Color for Brand Identity

Color psychology sneaks into all aspects of your brand and e-commerce business. From the website design and logo all the way to product colors and Facebook ads, colors are everywhere. Without a cohesive color design, you can quickly find that colors don’t match, become overwhelming, and even generate negative emotions for the consumer.

Your color design should start with either the logo or the website template. Not everyone gets the logo designed before creating a website design and this is okay. Just make sure you are aware of what you want to accomplish with your logo – don’t just pick what is pleasing to you. From there, use color swatches to keep the same colors, hues, and tones throughout all designs.

Of course, you may not be able to choose the color of products, especially if you are using a print on demand or dropshipping platform. However, you can choose the colors of products to display that meet the overall color theme you create. For example, if you have children’s beachwear print on demand website with bright, happy colors such as yellow and orange, you could choose to compliment t-shirt colors for primary product images.

That doesn’t mean you should make everything on the page yellow and orange. Keep the t-shirts in bright tones but use complementary colors in advertising campaigns. Don’t jump from pastels to primary colors or other variations when you can avoid it. Overdoing color mixes will lead to a lack of emotions generated because the brain can’t pick up on any one color.

Too Much with Marketing Colors?

Don’t fall into the trap of using too many colors. Remember that you want your consumers to recognize your brand from the moment they see your ad or email. While certain color meanings like red and bright greens are great to grab attention for sales or promotions, the last thing you want is your e-commerce website brand looking like a wall of neon in a seedy part of town on a late Friday night.

Too much color will lead to confusion, countering the advertising objectives. If you aren’t sure how to compliment your main color choices, talk to a graphics designer. Great graphics designers can create a color palette for you to use in branding and advertising. This helps target main color selections with complementary colors to give viewers’ eyes a break and generate the desired emotions.

Final Thoughts: Color Meanings

Color and branding work together to help advertising campaigns and websites trigger emotions in consumers. The right emotions get people wanting to buy. Done properly, color meanings used in brand identity help create a company culture of good vibes consumers get just by looking at the logo or website.

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