Facts on colour for branding your business

brand strategy, the design process

 

Colour is one of my most favourite things.

I love its subtlety, I love its endless variation. I love how colours in different combinations can create a mood, and how just a tiny shift in one hue can shift that mood. How some colours bounce off each other, how some colours sing to each other, and how some colours are just not friends and could never ever see eye to eye.

(Actually – that last point isn’t quite true – some colours, like some humans, need to work REALLY hard to get along – it can be done, but it requires wisdom and expertise. Get in touch if you need some colour expertise.)

THIS is why I love branding and design so much.

 

Colour is music to my eyes.

 

There’s a tonne of science behind our perceptions too – colour theory has been researched and well documented since the early 20th century with Johannes Itten’s seminal work on modern colour theory. (Of course, there was lots of evidence and research around before this too, it’s simply that Itten was very scientific in his approach and was part of an explosion of modern research into how the brain works, propelled by people such as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung).

 

Here’s some interesting statistics when it comes to colour and branding:

Colour increases brand recognition by up to 80%

This article about trademarking colour from the Touro Law Center states that

according to a study performed by the University of Loyola, Maryland, “[c]olor increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent.”

That’s unquestionable impact.

 

Colour has an impact on actual sales.

The same study above mentions that

color has a significant impact on sales since “people make a subconscious judgment about a . . . product
within 90 seconds of initial viewing and . . . between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on color alone.”

 

Colour increases memory and information retention

Color can improve readership by 40 percent, learning from 55 to 78 percent, and comprehension by 73 percent.

More colour in schools, please!

 

Each colour has its own energy and attached meaning

Yes yes!

For instance: red is high energy and feels very active. It’s stimulating, and can make us feel hungry (hence why so many food brands use red). Blue, on the other hand, feels calming, more serious and reliable. Thanks why it gets used by banks and finance companies so often.

HOWEVER, colour meaning is also crucially affected by the exact hue (dark or light, saturated or muted) – and also very much affected by our cultural overlays and experiences. In western cultures, red is associated with stop signs and danger, in eastern cultures it can be associated with good fortune and joy.

And then overlaid on that is our own particular experience of that colour. For instance – when I was about 10, my secret crush told me he hated the red pants I was wearing  – and I never wore them again…  It took me a LONG, long time to wear red again, despite it being a great colour for my skin tone.

And now it’s my main brand colour, haha!

Helpscout states:

the truth is that color is too dependent on personal experiences to be universally translated to specific feelings. Research shows that personal preferences, experiences, upbringings, cultural differences, and context muddy the effect that individual colors have on us.

So, when choosing your colours for your brand, don’t get too caught up in the specific meanings of colours – think more generally, choose colours that you like, and really think of the overall ENERGY of the palette you choose.

 

The right colour/s exude your brand’s personality

The same article from Helpscout talks about a study from Psychologist and Stanford professor Jennifer Aaker –

[Professor Aaker has] conducted studies on this very topic, and her paper titled “Dimensions of Brand Personality” points out five core dimensions that play a role in a brand’s personality.

The five dimensions Aaker identified are Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, and Ruggedness, and yes these can totally be conveyed with colour (or combinations of colours). You can read more about that here. Most brands include a combination of aspects of a few of these qualities, but usually there are one or two core qualities.

 

Colour can increase conversions on your website

In a famous case study, a simple change of button colour on a website made conversions jump by 34%. That’s easy money in my books!

And this article from SEO and website marketing guru Neil Patel also talks about how the judicious use of colour can hugely increase conversion rates on your website’s calls to action. While a lot of people talk about the primary colours (red, yellow, blue) as having the most conversions, Neil says this is not necessarily true, and one of the most important things is contrast – getting people to notice it as a call to action in the first place (and with the proviso that you must still stay true to your brand).

 

In summary

Colour is lovely! Colour is fun. Colour can help you do so many things in your business when it’s used the RIGHT way.

The vital thing to remember about these facts is that these are very general observations – so you do need specific knowledge (and a bit of your own intuition) to ensure you’ve chosen the right colours for you.

And another proviso – just about all of colour pyschology deals with those of us who have good colour perception too. (Shout out to those with any form of colour perception difficulties).

 

However, very definitely from the above statistics, it’s easy to see that choosing the RIGHT colours for your brand and implementing them well can have a massive impact on how your brand is perceived by potential clients, and on whether they choose to work with you or not.

 

If you need someone to guide you on choosing the exact right palette for you and what you want to express, then book a quick chat with me and we’ll talk!

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