The Psychology of Colours and your brand

Colours have been an indicator of emotional and mental wellbeing for a long period of time, different types of people will have contrasting views on what each colour means and the message that each colour portrays. This is why companies chose the colours they chose because they believe their brand colour represents what they represent. For example, Coca Cola is branded as red, which represents excitement, boldness and youth, Coca Cola has a strong connection to this colour because it is what their brand colours represent.

In hindsight, each individual colour has an emotional meaning, however, this isn’t technically true and from a business perspective it is essential to be wary when choosing your brand colours. Although colours are related to emotional feelings, a person’s perspective of a colour is subject to their own personal preference. For example, Coca Cola relate red with excitement, but if a potential customer of Coca Cola’s was a surgeon or somebody who deals with a lot of blood they might not relate Coca Cola with excitement because of the personal connection to the colour red. This could prevent that individual from purchasing a bottle Coca Cola and they may chose Pepsi instead as they are branded with the colour of blue which could relate to a happy feeling for the customer.

When choosing a colour to represent your brand you should take into account all of the colours that could have a negative effect on the product or service and then decide the best colour suited to the brand. Remember, someone is always going to dislike the colour of your brand no matter what, it is just finding the colour that is suited and liked by the majority of people that have an interest in your business, you could even do some brief market research!

The below image points out five core dimensions that play a role in a brand’s personality, this comes from an article called ‘Dimensions of Brand Personality’ which was written by Psychologist and Stanford professor Jennifer Aaker.

Following on from brand colours and moving onto colour in the real world. As human beings we contract various emotions and feelings about specific places and areas, these feelings could be dependent on the different that surround these locations.

Have you ever sat somewhere and become irritated by your surroundings, or maybe you’ve visited a place that’s made you really happy and relaxed? This could be down to the colours you can naturally see. Think of a lovely bright sunny day, it makes you feel happy and relaxed. Now, think of the main two colours that relate to a sunny day, sky blue and a bright yellow sun. These two colours are both incredibly light and uplifting colours that relate to a happy and pleasant emotion. Now think of a dull, cloudy and rainy day, it dampens people’s mood and this is down to the colours that are surrounding us. Dark colours relate to a more depressive and cynical mood, which in turn has an effect on our metal and emotional state, our brain subconsciously, acknowledges the general darkness which has an effect on how we feel. However, this is just a generic statement, a lot of the time people can be affected by colours that relate to them or are favored by them.

Personal preference is the overall factor that determines how various colours can have an affect on the metal and emotional state of individuals. People have their go to colours, these are the colours they feel happy and comfortable using, if a colour makes someone happy when they are using it or looking at it then the psychology of that specific colour is already clear to that person as it has a positive effect on them. However, if a person starts to express hatred when using a specific colour, or has cynical thoughts when using a specific colour then it is clear that the psychology of the colour has had a negative effect on the person.

In terms of deciding what colours are best to use for your business I personally believe the colours should be focused around a business’s general target market, make the decision personal to the brand. I understand that all individuals are different, but as a marketer we can group individuals into categories where everyone has similarities; you can then chose a favored colour based on the similarities throughout your target market. When deciding on a colour for anything, look at the emotional meanings of the colour but also tell yourself how that colour makes you feel, ask others around your local area what there instant thought is when you show them a specific colour.