From Puce to Cerulean – Brand Colours are Sending Your Message
Do you ever wonder why so many fast food restaurants use red in their logos? Or why so many hospitals and healthcare organizations use the colour blue in their logos? This phenomenon is hardly random. Psychologists have spent years studying colours’ effect on human behaviour, and you can be sure that the results are worth understanding when you’re choosing your brand’s colours.
Besides being associated with love, energy, and vitality, the colour red stimulates our appetites. It’s no wonder fast food chains such as McDonalds, Carl’s Jr., KFC, Wendy’s and Popeye’s have integrated the colour red prominently in their logos and trade dress.
If you’re developing a logo and brand identity for your restaurant, food or beverage products, incorporating red may not be a bad idea.
Caveat: Remember when your parents would ask you, “If Jimmy jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?” I know, some of you said yes, just to be obstinate, but don’t doom your product to a lifetime lost in a sea of sameness just because the research says it’ll make people hungry.
Starbucks founders Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker clearly didn’t follow Jimmy off the cliff when they created their iconic green and white logo. Their caffeinated clientele aren’t looking for any more stimulation beyond that which is provided by the aroma of ground coffee beans in the air.
What they are looking for, and what the colour green represents, is harmony, tranquility, and calm. The founders’ goal was to create an environment that would encourage people to sit back, relax and drink their coffee with friends. By luring customers in with the green and white siren and surrounding them with warm, natural tones, they created a movement.
Trust Issues Anyone?
Kaiser Permanente, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, AT&T, Forbes, Ford and countless other corporations all use the colour blue predominantly in their brand identities. It’s not just because blue is hands-down the favourite colour of the majority of men and women, but rather, blue is associated with calmness and peace.
Psychologists have found that when people view the colour blue, they feel confident, comfortable and trusting. Of course, healthcare providers, purveyors of information, and one of the oldest car manufacturers in the history of man would want people to associate their products and services with trustworthiness and dependability.
Plucking Personality from the Rainbow
The colors that you choose for your brand need to reflect not only your product’s personality but also the personality of those you wish will buy your product. You want them to feel a certain way when they think about your product, and while not all colours will universally affect everyone in the same way, statistically speaking the odds are ever in your favour.
With that said, here are some handy guidelines to understanding colour when picking your brand colours.
- Yellow – evokes feelings of optimism, clarity and warmth
- Orange – brings up feelings of cheer, confidence, and friendliness
- Red – arouses the senses with excitement, passion, and love
- Purple – imagination and creativity are the hallmarks of this colour
- Blue – tells a story of trust, strength, dependability, and calm
- Green – associated with health, nature and peace
- White – linked to purity, calm and balance
Additionally, colours like gold, silver and black are often associated with luxury items because they conjure feelings of sophistication and wealth.
Remember, always keep your audience in mind when choosing your colours and avoid getting caught in the sea of sameness.
Need help fine-tuning your own company’s colour palette? Let our professional creative extension make sure your message gets across with flying colours!