Us Bellettians like to lead pretty colourful lives, in the real world and behind the computer screen. We make what feels like hundreds of decisions about colour every day. Colour influences so much of what we do and we thought it might be a good idea to explore some of the ideas surrounding this topic that plays such a vivid part in our lives.
Trying to make a decision about colour can be tricky. So many options, so many representations and affiliations, what does it all mean? Just trying to repaint your living room can be a stressful experience, let alone trying to decide how colours should represent you as a brand or business!
You’ve heard it before, if you paint your baby’s room yellow they’ll have nightmares, McDonald's and Coke use the colour red to make you hungry. Blue sheets can help you calm down at the end of a hectic day.
Are the tricks that colours play on your mind really as big a deal as people say they are? Or are all these stories just old wives tales?
In the graphic design world, colour is one of the most important aspects of the job. The decisions that we make about colour are based on research and proven techniques in branding and marketing that help a product do what it’s supposed to.
There’s plenty of myths out there and plenty of people throwing out broad opinions, but there’s also plenty of research and studies that have been done on the topic too. We were just as curious as you, so we decided to do some digging to get it all out in the open for you.
Looking at how the psychology of colour association works in branding gives us some insight into why we should choose certain colours for certain products or services. Studies done on the effects that colour has on our purchasing decisions can prove that there are certain colours that we should be using.
The way our brains are wired means that how we perceive a brand is dependent on our preconceived ideas of what a colour represents and our previous experiences with that colour. Studies have also told us that we are drawn to colours that stand out from their surroundings and that we prefer to use brands that we recognise.
There are a few ways we can look at this, let’s break them down.
Your colours should be appropriate to your brand.
However much we want to fight stereotypes in today’s very PC society, we can’t deny the fact that there are just certain colours that go with certain categories. Judging your audience’s reaction to how they will perceive the appropriateness of the colour is often more important than the actual picking of the colour.
Environmental topics will always be associated the colour green. We can’t change that brown is a known colour for chocolate and mud. Water is usually represented by blue, so that makes it the prime colour (no pun intended) to use for anything water, health or cleanliness related.
Choosing a colour for your brand that people associate with the right category for what you provide means that your brand is instantly read as an appropriate source by your audience.
The colours you choose should stand out from your competitors in order to be memorable and recognisable.
Aside from choosing a colour that is appropriate to your product, we also need to think about how you’re going to be remembered. While colour association is important, sometimes it is more important to stand out from the crowd. If every business in your industry is using the same colour to represent themselves - how are you going to make yourself memorable?
People prefer recognisable brands, meaning that if you use a colour that is different to your competitors, your brand is more likely to stand out and stay in people’s minds.
The colour palette you choose to represent your brand, should reflect your personality or the personality that you want to push.
More important than all of these, is representing the personality of your brand through the colour palette you choose. Your brand’s personality is what speaks to your audience the loudest.
The personality of your brand affects how your audience interacts with you and, the way that you interact with your clients - past, present and future - is the engine of your whole business. The colour you choose can help determine whether your business comes across as a formal, no-nonsense kind of personality or one that promotes a lighthearted approach, wanting to be every clients best friend.
Keeping in mind that you can never really know or judge how a person will react to a colour, it’s important that your branding portrays the image and personality that you want to be remembered as. These colourific decisions, along with the way you put it all together to design your brand, are what is going to create your brand’s personality.
There are so many conversations we could have about colour, and perhaps there will be many more conversations to come from us on the topic. As humans we are very visual beings, colour plays a huge part in a lot of things we do and decisions we make. It’s easy to just grab your favourite colour and use it for everything. It’s much harder to think about what your favourite colour might mean to others and what message it will send, whether or not it will match the intent of your business. Colour is a pretty major part of your branding, it’s a wise idea to consider the way your colours will work for you.