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Color Psychology in Marketing and Branding


Many of us may have played, or at least come across, the game where the name of the brand is removed and only the logo outline and the color is visible. It is surprising how we still manage to figure out the name of the brand. This is because color plays an important role in brand recall. Color registers a visual memory in our brain by attaching itself to the brand we see. This is also the reason why some of us confuse between the similar-looking blue elliptical logos of Ford and Carrier.

However, the color goes beyond brand recognition. The psychological significance of color holds great value in the world of advertising and marketing. You may have noted how pastel colors in the logo indicate a calm and soothing image, just as shades of green can often highlight a brand’s eco-friendliness. For this significance, famous psychiatrist Carl Jung proclaimed color to be the mother tongue of the subconscious. Learn more about pastel colors.

Color and Psychology

The effects and benefits of color are being studied from time immemorial. Ancient Egypt is one of the earliest examples. In modern-day psychology, the effect of color on human emotion and perception is studied with great interest. The effect of the color of a room on our mood or the color of food on our appetite are examples of such studies.

Colors like red, orange and yellow are regarded as warm colors that generate warmth, comfort, and even a sense of urgency in humans. On the other hand, cool colors like blue, green, and purple invoke serenity and induce a calming effect. However, the use of color in therapeutic research has its shortcomings. Most importantly, color signifies different things in different cultures. The sophistication and power associated with the color black also signify protests and hostility. Similarly, white is just as easily symbolic of innocence as it is of mourning. Balancing the use of color in marketing and advertising is, therefore, a subtle art.

How do we Respond to the Advertised Colors?

Due to the different reactions that colors trigger among people, marketers have been able to identify the influence of each one of them and use them accordingly.

  • The color red has generated a good response for the food and beverage industry, particularly fast foods. Popular brands like KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, etc. have prominent red in their logos and brand promotion activities. Red is considered to be good for the appetite, and it also creates a sense of urgency, hence the association with fast food. Red also oozes energy into the brand and draws attention. A clearance sale needs the attention of the target audience, and you will see the use of red in these “sale” signs. It is the color of choice for those who want to generate an urgent call for action.
  • Black and White – It is not just red that has the red hot attention of marketers and audiences alike. White is used by advertisers to highlight the purity and safety of the product. High-end brands in their promotions use the exclusivity of white. Of course, black is the most commonly used color alongside white. Popular brands like Apple and Gillette use this combination, and many fashion and accessories levels.
  • Grey and Silver – Excessive grey use may generate a negative response from the consumer’s psychology, but hues of silver are often associated with innovation and exclusivity. That is the reason why we see several automobile brands opting for a grey and silver combination.
  • Purple, Orange, and Yellow – Purple oozes command and respect and has a sense of regalia about it. You will see prominent shades of purple in leading brands like Yahoo and Cadbury’s. Colors like orange and yellow add cheerfulness and optimism to the picture. No wonder kid’s favorite Nickelodeon uses a splash of orange on its logo. Similarly, you will notice the use of yellow in products like Nikon. Yellow and orange can stimulate enthusiasm and optimism in our minds and are known to work well on impulsive buyers.
  • Green is known to put our minds into a harmonious state and is often used to promote health and nature-related themes. Organic and natural products promoting companies majorly use it. The use of green by Animal Planet, Tropicana, and BP indicates its importance in portraying nature, health, and eco-friendliness.
  • Blue – The use of blue is known to increase the reliability of a brand. Its use by Oral B, JP Morgan, HP, Dell, and American Express further supports this theory. Interestingly, it is believed that the use of blue works well on male products, thus having the stereotypical gender color psychology in use.

Choosing the right palette

Choosing the right color combination is vital for brands. Just as footage needs good video editing to turn into a good video, selecting the right color calls for specific tips.

While selecting the colors, it should be ensured that the brightest hue in the palette doesn’t end up causing eye strain or distracts the viewer. The use of complementary colors helps marketers to insert noticeable texts into the logo or commercial. Lack of contrast can strain the viewer’s eyes, so the use of contrast against the logo and the text works well. The vibrancy of the design should be decided depending on the brand’s perceived image.

Some of the best video editing tips for promoting brands are:

  1. Use the right color theory to promote your products.
  2. The right combination will be perceived well by your audience.
  3. The color theories mentioned earlier do work well, so try them out!

With Flying Colors

Customers have often responded that color is often the primary drawing element when it comes to choosing a brand or a product. This is because visuals are the first element in a marketing campaign that triggers a response among customers. This response is a chemical reaction in our brain that releases emotions and connects with the imagery. It is this visual identity that has helped brands like McDonald’s. Their bright red background is appetizing and inspires our minds to act. The use of the yellow ‘M’ adds an aura of positivity and optimism around the brand. Colors are important to MacDonald’s brand awareness among the masses. And looking at their success, they must be “lovin it.”

Therefore, the importance of color on your customer’s psychology is paramount. By selecting the right colors, you can create a favorable brand image, solidify the brand’s market positioning, and increase brand awareness and recall.

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

Jasbir Singh
Jasbir Singh
Studied humanities in Punjab. Trying to understand Indian Politics. Writing about Technology, Education, Brands, Business, and much more. Contributor at The Eastern Herald, author at Salam News Punjab.


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