The choice of colour for logo and branding design is fascinating. It’s also controversial and I can recall countless discussions with clients over this subject. Perhaps the reason is because there are so many misconceptions about colour and it’s physcology. Think about how peoples perception of colour can be influenced by so many things such as experiences, cultural background, personal preferences, associations and so on.
The idea that you can choose a colour for your brand that will appeal to all of your target market therefore seems unlikely. For example, yellow is supposed to be positive and happy whereas green is calming and relaxed. However, start to build in different peoples perceptions of these two colours and you’ll quickly find that there isn’t a universal opinion or solution.
Despite this there have been many attempts to classify colour and explore the affect it has on consumers. A recent study named The Interactive Effects of Colors showed that there is a relationship between branding and colour. The study focused on the perceived appropriateness of colour and a particular brand, so in other words, does the brand colour fit with what is being sold? For example, the Landrover brand is green which fits the product, it’s outdoors and we can picture the product in it’s settings or green surroundings.
Further studies such as Exciting Red and Competent Blue also support an association between colour and people’s perception of a brand. This studies explored how consumers view the ‘personality’ of a brand through colour. An example would be Harley Davidson which needs to looks masculine, and therefore uses black.
Now for some advice on how to choose a colour for your logo
With all of the above in mind you can see the dilemma. Yes, there is evidence to support colour influences, or associates with a particular type of product or brand. However, opinions vary so much that there can’t be a perfect solution. So where does this leave us?
There are no clear guilelessness for choosing your logo and brand colours. However, research suggests they can communicate the personality, product type and ethos of a company. They are an important consideration and will have a bearing on your company image.
To help I have included a few questions to ask when choosing your brand colour;
Personality – What is the personality of your company? A funky new design agency would need to communicate a different message to that of a corporate lawyer for example.
Product – What are you selling? Is there colour associated with your product? This will help people instantly recognise what you offer, for example, recycling companies are associated with green for environmental.
Market – This goes without saying! Know your market! If you’re selling to men predominantly then pink would be a poor choice.
Competitors – What are your competitors doing? By choosing a different colour you will almost certainly stand out from the crowd.
When in doubt look at how big brands use colour to communicate and persuade people to buy from them. Notice how for example Apple uses white to communicate good clean, simple design. This is reflected in their products.
In summary, choosing a colour for you branding is like any other aspect of design. You need to think about the implications and put reason to it. You shouldn’t ever choose a colour because you like it. Dig deep into your market, usp’s and most importantly your companies personality.
I’ll leave you with the following charts which i hope will serve are a reminder to how powerful the use of colour can be. The charts show ‘Hallock’s’ findings for mens and womens favourite colours.
Main image source: The Logo Company