To put it simply, color psychology studies the impact of colors on human behavior. Yes, it’s an actual classification.
Experts in the field believe that colors can greatly affect our emotions, thought process, and actions. Skeptics argue that it is not possible to apply a blanket statement to any one color because there are always subjective factors such as age, ethnicity, gender, personal preferences, and environmental factors that affect how you respond to color.
However, despite the debate, there is no doubt that certain colors have racked up a reputation. For example, green frequently symbolizes nature, red is synonymous with passion, anger, and love, while phrases like ‘Monday blues’ and ‘feeling blue’ cement blue as a color representing gloominess.
But it is not necessary that generalized associations with color remain the same when used in branding.
Branding is about creating a carefully curated image in the minds of consumers. Since so much of branding has to do with perceptions and associations, it is obvious why color plays an important role. Research shows that colors increase brand recognition and brand recall more than other forms of marketing.
Think of Coca-Cola, and the two colors most likely to pop in your mind will be red and black. The yellow and red of McDonald’s, the green of Subway, the telltale blue of Facebook and the sleek gray and silver of Apple— colors are a huge part of how we recognize brands.
Despite how it sounds, color psychology is not clear cut. Colors may be loosely associated with certain responses and associations, but to build your brand around a color can be tricky. If you want to make the most out of color psychology, here are three things to keep in mind:
Colors come in a wide spectrum of shades. And while they may all belong to the same family, there’s a difference in the impact they have. Purple is celebrated as a color representing royalty – but soft lilac doesn’t really ring in that grand association the same way a deep shade of violet would. Choosing the right shade is essential in order to craft the brand image you want.
Studies have shown that consumers favor color themes that use contrasting colors as opposed to simple standalone colors or colors from the same family. This is particularly important in aspects such as an app or website design. Having base and accents colors can affect how your page is perceived by the user and enhance the message you want to highlight.
Just because colors have certain associations doesn’t mean you need to stick by them blindly. Brand perception is developed through how you present your brand holistically, not simply by color. You can still use lilac to signify royalty or use green instead of red to signify adventure. Be mindful of how you’re using these colors, placement, target audience, and the purpose you ultimately want your brand to stand for.
Color psychology may seem farfetched or too subjective to be concrete, but at the end of the day, it’s what you make of it that counts. If you’re still confused about using colors in your design, contact us for a free consultation on how to design your website for the best impact!