Have you ever thought about what your brand colours say about you? For instance, do your brand colours spark confidence, or do they stir up feelings of unease? Does your audience see your brand through rose-coloured glasses, or are they seeing red flags?
Do your brand colours invoke happiness and passion, or do they conjure notions of greed and deceit?
There’s a reason why phrases like “green with envy,” “tickled pink,” and “true blue” are part of our popular lexicon. Because whether you’ve ever thought about it or not, the colours you choose to express your brand with, matter.
Before you let your brand colours speak for you, make sure you know what they’re saying. This is where Colour Theory comes in.
Wait, there’s a colour “theory”?
Colour Theory is a fundamental element of any brand design strategy. Understanding colour theory can go a long way toward not only portraying your desired brand image and making a positive first impression with your audience but using just the right colours can ensure your brand stands out in a crowd.
This isn’t your kindergarten colour-mixing lesson, though (you remember: red + blue = purple, blue + yellow = green, and so on). Colour Theory is complex and layered, but can be broken down into three basic concepts:
- The Colour Wheel: Sir Isaac Newton developed the first version of the colour wheel in 1666. It has since evolved, but the gist is a wheel of hues that can be divided into primary colours, secondary colours and tertiary colours.
- Colour Harmony: Essentially any combination of colours that are aesthetically pleasing. There are a variety of colour harmony concepts, but each one includes analogous colours, complementary colours and colours based on nature.
- Colour Context: Describes how each colour reacts when combined with another colour and whether or not they contrast well or wash each other out.
While these three basic concepts are simple enough to grasp, things get a little trickier when you start mixing and blending colours to create your perfect brand colour story. Something as simple as changing the exact hue or saturation of a color can evoke a completely different feeling in an audience.
Show Your True Colours
So, you’re choosing your brand colours. You understand your own brand story and you know what kind of impression you want to make on your target audience. You also know that no matter what, you want to distinguish yourself from your competition. Choose your colours wisely.
Here’s what your brand colours are saying to your audience:
- Red: This hot primary colour is often associated with fire, passion, anger and power. When users see red, it can signify importance, danger, and most importantly, a sense of urgency.
- Blue: Often associated with sadness, blue has a lot more meaning to us than that. With blue, it all depends on the hue. Light blue is often interpreted as calming and is associated with cleanliness and relaxation. Bright blue is energizing, innovative and friendly. Dark blue signals strength, reliability and importance.
- Purple: Our personal favourite. Purple draws from the energy of red and the stability of blue. Purple has a strong tie to wealth and luxury. In older times, purple fabrics and dyes were expensive, so only the rich could afford them. But purple is also linked to creativity, ambition and devotion. That’s the meaning we felt drawn to when choosing g[squared]’s brand colours. With our creative solutions, ambition to succeed and devotion to social good, we knew this was the colour for us.
- Yellow: Best known for conjuring feelings of happiness and satisfaction, yellow is one of the most optimistic colours and is often used by brands that want to embody joy and friendship. On the contrary, dark yellow is often associated with cowardice, ego, and deceit—which is why most brands tend to stick with bright or light tones of yellow.
- Orange: There is no doubt about it, orange calls attention to itself with the vibrant energy of red and the jovial happiness of yellow. It tends to embody feelings of enthusiasm, creativity, confidence and determination. Studies show that orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, produces an energizing effect and stimulates brain activity. That said, there is a fine line. Some uses of the colour orange can feel to blatant or overbearing.
- Green: The most down-to-earth of all the colours. As one of the most dominant colours in nature, green tends to represent growth, refreshment, balance and harmony. It can invoke feelings of restfulness and security. While softer hues of green embody peace and healing, deeper hues can lean toward greed and materialism. Making smart use of this colour can go a long way toward complementing your brand story.
- Pink: Delicate, nurturing and compassionate, pink exudes a sense of unconditional love and support. Unlike red, which stimulates, pink has a soothing effect. The flipside to this is pink’s propensity to sometimes be perceived as timid or immature. The trick to using pink effectively is striking the right balance.
We feel you; this is a lot of information to digest. Who knew choosing the exact right hue of blue could be so important? But don’t fret—we got you. If your brand needs a redesign, let g[squared]’s creative team put our know-how to work for you.