Psychology of Color & Why It’s Important to Brands

color wheel

What Do Colors Mean in Marketing?

The colors of your logo serve as an ambassador for what your brand represents.

When it comes to marketing campaigns, you may have noticed specific industries and companies use certain colors within their branding. But what does each color represent? And do colors affect the consumers’ decision making?

Understanding the deeper meaning behind colors is the key to help build and tailor your brand for your audience, while simultaneously giving it personality and meaning. Your audience needs to know who you are and what you represent, and the right colors can accomplish this. But the opposite rings true, the wrong colors could drive them away. 

When choosing the right colors for your brand, it is important to remember to think about how people will behave. For example, when your audience clicks on a call-to-action (CTA) for an email subscription list, will a certain color make them more likely to convert? When on a landing page, will they remain on the page because your branding is cohesive and uniform across the board or leave due to inconsistencies in your color choices? 

different color soda cans

People will judge your content upon first look, so your brand needs to remain constant. And ultimately, the colors you do pick will influence your consumers and audiences. In fact, research has revealed that “…people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on color alone,” states CCICOLOR – Institute for Color Research.

Colors: Their Meanings & Effects

  • Red

    • Attracts more attention than any other color
    • Energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination, passion, desire, love
    • Red is known to enhance human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure.
    • Brands that use red include Coca-Cola, BuzzFeed, CNN, and Nintendo.
  • Orange

    • Combines the energies of both red and yellow together.
    • Represents joy, sunshine, enthusiasm, fascination, creativity, determination, attraction, encouragement, and caution.
    • Famed orange logos you may recognize are Tide, Harley-Davidson, Nickelodeon, Veuve Cliquot, and Fanta.
  • Yellow

    • Stimulates mental activity and cheerfulness.
    • When overused, yellow can cause a disturbance in a person’s psyche.
    • Bright yellow is a known attention-grabber (e.g., taxis).
    • Yellow brands include McDonald’s, Chevrolet, Best Buy and Nikon.
  • Green

    • Can be beneficial for the mind and body.
    • Green represents health, confidence, endurance, truth, wisdom
    • The color green slows down the human metabolism and has a calming effect on the body.
    • Brands that use the color green in their branding include Tropicana, Whole Foods, Spotify, and Starbucks.
  • Blue

    • Blue triggers emotions of sympathy, spirituality, imagination, success, responsibility, and integrity.
    • Blue is usually used for corporate businesses because it is productive and does not feel as invasive.
    • Blue logos that immediately come to mind are Oreo, NASA, Oral-B, and Lowe’s.
  • Purple

    • There was a reason many kings and queens of days past wore purple robes, as it signified royalty.
    • The color purple represents brands that see themselves as distinguished, respectable, compassionate, original, stable, powerful, mysterious, magical, or wealth-inducing.
    • Purple brands include Hallmark, Cadbury, Hawaiian Airlines, and Zulily.
  • Pink

    • Represents childhood-like sweetness and innocence.
    • Pink is both calming and non-threatening.
    • For brands that want to reflect feelings of hope, optimism, positivity, respect, nurturing, femininity, and sensitivity, always “think pink”.
    • Well-known pink brands include Barbie, Victoria’s Secret PINK, Roxy, and Cosmopolitan.  
  • Black

    • This color often has a negative connotation attached to it as it’s often associated with fear.
    • On the flip side, black represents brands that invoke strength, authority, formal, elegance, modernity, sophistication, and luxury.
    • Examples include Uber, Nordstrom, Chanel, Nike, and Black Rifle Coffee.
  • Brown

    • People that like the color brown are often reserved and not wanting to bring a lot of attention to themselves.
    • Brown triggers thoughts of dependability, reliability, resilience, practicality, masculinity, ruggedness, and seriousness.
    • Brands like UPS, M&Ms, Hershey’s, Louis Vuitton, UGG, and Nespresso all use brown as their logo color.
  • Gray

    • Gray is a good choice for creating the illusion of space.
    • Represents purity, innocence, spaciousness, neutrality, maturity, classic, and seriousness. 
    • Brands that use grey as their color of choice include Apple, Mercedes, Wikipedia, Honda, Infiniti Lexus, and Audi.
  • White

    • White has always had a positive connotation attached to it with visions of perfection and purity.
    • White signifies safety, cleanliness, faith, cleanliness, neutrality, light, goodness, and innocence.
    • Brands such as MINI, The North Face, PBS, World Wildlife Fund, and Jeep use white to create a stark contrast between their logo and any background colors for their brand recognition.  

Check out our infographic on color psychology and brands that do it right.

PIN’s Brand Colors

With PIN specifically, we incorporated light blue and some more monochromatic tones into our color scheme. The reason for this is because we have a human-centric approach to how we see data. In order for prospective clients to really grasp what we do, what better way to highlight that than with blue, which is both non-invasive and offers a sense of dependability. This way, clients don’t feel threatened and are able to trust us to handle their data and their business.