Colour Psychology: Using colour to communicate subconscious messaging
Did you know that distinct colours increase brand recognition by 80%?
The thing is though, it goes so much deeper than that. Brand colours aren’t just about recognition, there’s a deeper psychological effect that the colours of a brand have on us. In fact, we make up our mind on a brand in 7 seconds purely based on their colour choice. That’s all you get. 7 seconds before your target customers make up their mind on whether they like you or not. And it’s all subconscious, we’re not even aware that we’re making these judgements. It’s because each colour has a meaning attached to it, a deeper meaning that gives us an emotional reaction. Stop signs are red because in that context it represents danger. On the other side of that coin, Cupid’s arrows are red because red is also the colour of love. We attach so much meaning to colour, and brands can take advantage of this.
Here’s a breakdown of the main colours and what they mean for branding.
Red: Power, Strength, Determination, Passion, Love. Used by a lot of food and drinks companies to stimulate people’s appetites.
Yellow: Joy, Happiness, Intellect, Energy. Used to invoke a feeling of cheerfulness.
Green: Growth, Harmony, Freshness, Hope. When BP did their $211 million brand re-design, they chose a predominantly green logo to curb some of their environmental faux pas.
Blue: Stability, Trust, Loyalty, Wisdom. Blue is a favourite of investment banks to create a feeling of security and stability.
Purple: Power, Nobility, Luxury, Dignity. Cadbury’s signature purple wrappers are there to attach a luxury feel to their chocolate.
Orange: Fascination, Creativity, Determination, Stimulation. Used for brands that want to put creation and fun at the forefront.
Grey: Balance, Formality, Conservativeness, Sophistication. Apple uses a simplistic grey logo to mirror their high tech product line.
Black: Elegance, Formality, Mystery. Used by brands like Chanel and Prada to reinforce their high brand value.
White: Goodness, Innocence, Purity, Cleanliness. Often paired with black to create a simplistic, refined feeling.
Pick colours that reflect your brand and fit within your market. In terms of how many colours you should have in your brand logo, avoid having any more than three: A primary, a secondary and a tertiary. It’s most common to have white and black as two of the colours, and then one other, dominant colour. Think of this as something of a ‘3 colours rule’ (get it?).
Our name isn’t an accident, and you can actually see the three colours rule in our logo. We use red as our dominant colour and white and black as neutral colours.
The red in the logo is for the passion we have for what we do.
The white is for trust and the speed of our delivery.
The black is for our professionalism and skillfulness.
Think long and hard on what you want your colour choice to say about your business.
3 Colours Rule is a branding and marketing agency specialising in growing tech companies and start-ups. Beyond our brand strategy, design and marketing services; we also have a podcast: Tech Brains Talk where our founder has conversations with experts and entrepreneurs in tech. We also have a branding and marketing academy to support marketers expand their skills and entrepreneurs too. We also run our non-profit organisation, TLA Black Women In Tech, one of the fastest-growing communities for black female professionals and entrepreneurs in tech.