How Color Effects Brand Development

Jun 4, 2015 | Brand Differentiation

Sticky Brands are visual brands. You can see the difference of these brands before you ever experience them. But it’s bigger than simply “seeing the difference” — you feel the difference.

According to a study called Impact of Color in Marketing, “People make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products. About 62‐90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone. So, prudent use of colors can contribute not only to differentiating products from competitors, but also to influencing moods and feelings.”

Color hits us at a deep, visceral level. A well developed visual identity connects with you at an emotional level. It engages your lizard brain and sets your expectations of what is about to come.

Color Gets Noticed

Color gets your brand noticed.

If you travel through Western Canada and US you will see bright orange pop-up tents in parking lots. The locals recognize these tents as where to get windshield cracks and chips repaired.

DECO Windshield Repair is an auto glass repair company. They make repairing a windshield insanely easy by going where their customers are. DECO sets up mobile repair centers under bright orange tents in parking lots of major grocery stores and shopping centers.

DECO chose orange as their primary brand color very deliberately. Matt Horne, CEO of DECO, explains, “Orange is the first color you pick up in peripheral vision. You’ll catch it out of the corner of your eye.”

Using color to be noticed is a tried and true strategy. You can always spot a McDonalds from the highway with their bright yellow golden arches. Color helps to attract attention and bring customers to you.

Color Affects Mood

Color sets the tone of your brand.

DECO likes orange, because the color not only gets noticed it creates positive expectations. Matt continues, “Orange is a comforting color up close.” The color orange radiates warmth and happiness, because it combines the physical energy and stimulation of red with the cheerfulness of yellow.

Color’s influence on mood is well researched and understood:

  • Blue = Trust, dependable, strength. This fits brands like IBM and GE. They’re big, stalwarts brands that want to demonstrate dependability.
  • Yellow = Optimism, clarity, and warmth. Yellow demonstrates energy and vitality, and it’s a primary reason why I use yellow in Sticky Branding’s visual identity.
  • Orange = Friendly, cheerful, and confident. Orange has the ability to make you smile, and that’s reflected in the DECO brand.
  • Green = Peaceful, growth, and natural. Green pulls on our relationship with nature, and demonstrates rejuvenation. It has a calming ability.
  • Red = Bold, excitement, and youthful. Red is a powerful color. Think Ferrari, fire trucks, and Coca-Cola. It has a substantive feel, but with a ton of energy.


Color Is Nuanced

The neat thing about color is the spectrum is so large. You can always find a color that reflects your brand.

You can blend colors to build upon their strengths. For example, if you add yellow to green you can create a shade that signals more energetic growth. Where as if you add blue to green you create a shade of green that signals a brand that’s more established and trusting.

The choices are endless when discovering the color that reflects your brand.

freesiaMy desk is covered in yellow and orange pantone color chips. I am working on refreshing (and simplifying) the Sticky Branding visual identity. It’s been a mishmash of colors and bees for the past six years.

I have been trying to find the right yellow to reflect my brand, and the choices are endless. I have landed on Pantone 14-0852, also called Freesia. It’s an energetic yellow, but with a richness that I like.

(Stay tuned for more news on the Sticky Branding brand update in the coming weeks. We’re waiting for all the new print collateral from Primo Print to arrive.)

Own Your Color

Color can easily be overlooked and delegated to your graphic designers. But that’s a mistake. Your brand’s color is strategic. It’s the first thing your customers see, and that shapes the tone and expectations for your brand.

Choose your color deliberately and own it. What color is your brand known for?

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Jeremy Miller

Top 30 Brand Guru

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