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What is Color Theory and Why is It Important For Your Brand?

By: Jared Ledbetter
Published: 2023-11-28

Have you ever wondered about the importance of your brand’s color choices? There’s more to it than making logos, packaging, and other elements just “look good” and come across as professional. Color theory plays a significant role in consumer psychology, and if you don’t understand the why and how of it, your brand could be sending the wrong message (and missing out on sales). 

You don’t need to come from an arts background to understand the importance of color theory on your brand. Today, we’ll take a look at all the basics of how colors affect people and how to utilize them best to enhance your branding. With a new understanding of color theory, your business is sure to stand out against the competition.

What Is Color Theory?

Color theory refers to many things, but for branding, it’s the psychology of color or how color can influence those who view it. Artists throughout history have understood the importance of color and found different ways to utilize it for specific effects. Painters, for example, may choose their colors to evoke particular emotions in their audience. 

These days, professional graphic designers take the same approach. When applied to posters, packages, logos, and websites, colors can subconsciously communicate aspects of your brand identity. By letting customers make such connections themselves, the emotional impact will be more resonant than if you simply state them.

What Do Colors Actually Mean?

Defining what any one color means is impossible. The associations we make with visual cues like color come primarily from personal experiences and societal influences. Therefore, what invokes a certain feeling in you may not translate.

For instance, in much of Europe, the color purple has strong associations with royalty. With this association, marketers can use it to suggest quality and importance. However, because we don’t see it often in nature, it can also suggest abnormality or illness. 

Even within one culture, colors can have multiple, sometimes contradictory associations. For example, shades of red can suggest love, attraction, or exoticness and mean anger and violence. Designers can clarify the difference with the context presented by other elements of brand design.

As another example, think of the classic Coca-Cola can or bottle. What makes that shade of red feel welcoming to customers? The fanciful cursive font helps suggest nostalgia and comfort, and its position applies those same feelings to the already warm color.

How Can I Utilize Colors Effectively?

When you’re developing your brand, you don’t need to concern yourself with what each color means, or potentially means, to your target audience. There’s simply no way to account for everyone and each possible variable. Instead, you can rely on the known psychological effects of colors on individuals when making brand design decisions. 

Numerous studies have suggested that colors can trigger responses in customers. Such effects are the closest “universal” associations colors have on people in shopping environments. Therefore, use them as a guideline when making design decisions for your brand. 

  • Green has a calming and relaxing effect on customers. Its prevalence in nature could be the reason for this association. Green packaging also suggests purity, no doubt for the same reason.
  • Orange and other warm colors draw attention, mainly when used in combination with each other. Orange, in particular, creates a feeling of urgency, though not a negative one. Advertisers use it to urge customers to make purchases.
  • Red plays off of a sense of urgency, much like orange. It conveys immediacy, pushing shoppers to make choices quickly. Red can also increase heart rate, playing into this urgency. 
  • Despite the negative association people and cultures have made with it, the color black conveys extravagance. As such, it can appeal to shoppers who put importance on appearances and class. It’s also impactful, and black designs tend to be very minimal. 
  • Blue creates a sense of stability and protection. It also carries with it a sense of authority and cultivates trust. Blue also has a sense of physical openness, which may make customers feel more at ease. 
  • Pink is used to express gentleness and appears most often in brands marketing themselves towards women. Beauty and healthcare products are prime examples. Pink can also communicate ideas like youth and good health.

Because color is often the first thing customers will see when they encounter your branding, it can have tremendous influence over them. Therefore, choose your branding colors so that they align with your messaging and your marketing strategy. Together, these elements can work to drive sales. 

Let Carbon Digital Help With Color Theory and Your Branding

At Carbon Digital, we specialize in developing effective branding. As part of our work, we’ve analyzed the ways people respond to colors in branding. With this knowledge, we help businesses like yours to utilize these responses to influence consumers and build a brand that converts.

Incorporating the psychology of color in your branding and website design is essential. Carbon Digital specializes in partnering with organizations to meet their branding and design needs. Our goal is to increase customer loyalty and conversions for your business, and brand and color play a significant role in this strategic plan. 

Contact us today and let’s get started!

This article was originally published on Carbon Digital.