Brand Tip: Color

Colour is a powerful tool that is often overlooked.
When matched with the right copy and the right graphics it is part of a communication triple-threat strategy that can make your business explode.

colour psychology is a powerful tool

Does it back up your brand?

Before choosing your brand colours based on ‘what you like’ – take a good long look at the colour psychology behind each tone and shade. The studies say the same thing:  We are culturally nurtured and biologically programmed to respond to certain colours in a certain way.

Whether you are using it, or not- an underlying language of colour exists. You have the choice to strengthen your advertising by consciously using a colour that compliments your message. Or you could wing it, and run the risk of accidentally using a colour that confuses your message.

Some of the meanings that we give colour are remnants of survival instincts and are hard-wired into our basic response systems. Red, for example, still affects us today, although the root of our relationship with the colour red goes back to a time when we had to hunt and kill to survive. Blood spilled would mean danger or feast, and we still have a very visceral reactions to crimson and bright red.  Red has been proven to change our moods, our appetites and our heart rates.

How powerful is that?

Can you imagine how understanding colour psychology could be very powerful, especially when used in combination with a compelling headline and the right graphic?

Colour psychology is a giant tool in your branding toolbox that shouldn’t be left to taste, or preference. While it’s important that you like your brand, it’s equally important that it communicate what it needs to communicate. (In design we refer to this as form and function.) The form should be beautiful, but it should never interfere with the function.

With some research, colour investigating and palette trials, I am sure that you will find a combination that suits your personal tastes and speaks to your audience on a sub-conscious level.

Happy branding!

About Chris Donnelly

Chris Donnelly is a brand strategist and a launch specialist. She works with entrepreneurs to flesh out their values, their launch plans and that special unspoken secret ingredient that makes them unique in the marketplace.


  • Sandra Eamor says:

    Excellent! I’m glad to see you blogging! 140 characters is great for your tips, but I’m looking forward to reading more! Gemil and I were just chatting about colour today! He wants to change the logo to blue… I want to keep it purple. I prefer the psychology of purple too. I know that blues are more ‘corporate’ colours, and it is widely used in business… which is another reason I like purple. I like to stand out! 🙂

  • ChrisDonnelly says:

    Hey Sandra- thank you 🙂 I am going to do the full rainbow of colours (eventually) and what some of them mean paired. I’ve been putting off blogging for way too long. 🙂 It’s time to get some deeper info out there on brand psychology, archetypes, colour etc.
    I’d love to know what posts you enjoy (to keep me writing in the right direction.)
    blue = so corporate / social media / yet confident and trusted.
    purple = transformation /regal… I definitely see why you like it! Especially your tone of purple with a little more red in it. It feels a little warmer and more approachable than some other purples. It’s memorable. And for Gemil: it would pair nicely with a robin’s egg or a sky blue. Maybe you could both win 🙂

  • wig says:

    hello That’s a good post.

  • Simply desire to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness in your post is just cool and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable work.

  • Hulloo, Chris!

    So, where would YOU go for reliable information on cultural perceptions of colors? It seems there are a million websites which purport to explain it all, and in the end, very few agree on anything except red is hot and blue is corporate.


  • ChrisDonnelly says:

    Hi Joel, Lovely to see you outside of triiibes!
    I am going to be posting a series of colour psychology articles over the next few months. There is some research out there, but it’s so diluted with (I love it!) ‘red hot and blue corporate’ that it’s a daunting task to find useful new info. We are also running some colour testing in 2013 and will be publishing the results as soon as we can. Thanks for asking – it gives me insight into what people are finding and what they need. 🙂 I am excited about our colour pairings research, which is a little more interesting than just the one colour breakdown. Stay tuned!

Leave a Reply