How does colour make you feel ... bright and sunny, gloomy and depressed? We all react to colour, whether consciously or subconsciously. To give it its correct term 'colour psychology’ is something that has been studied in depth. In fact, over the years, experts studying the science of colour have determined how colour effects our moods and therefore shape our values. This is how we have ended up with such a wide range of paint colours and colour mixing stations at the local DIY superstore. But determining the colour of your living room wall is one thing; determining the brand colours for your logo, website, business signage, branded clothing and business vehicles is quite another. And it is an expensive mistake if you get it wrong!
One of the most prominent examples of colour psychology and colour emotion at work is with political parties. In the UK the colour of the right is BLUE (dependable, strong, trusted, traditional, steady), the colour of the left is RED (vibrant, exciting, bold, youthful, energetic) and the centre-ground Liberal Democrats YELLOW (warm, optimistic, clear, innovative, enthusiastic). Now, whether you agree with those as attributes for any of those political parties is your own decision, but it is a great example of 'colour branding = values’ at work.
So how does it work for small and medium sized businesses? Often clients will come to me with a hastily created logo that they needed to send to someone when they first started out. Their van vinyl-wrap guy needed it, or the social media page needed a logo and it is rushed out with little thought about how the logo might be needed in the years ahead and what that logo really says to customers viewing it.
When starting the design process for a website and branding, I have an in-depth conversation with my clients to create a design brief. This brief acts as the foundations for building a brand that will serve them well for many years ahead. The primary question is 'How do I want my clients/customers to feel about my business; excited, trusting, confident, calm, happy, natural, reliable?' The answer might be all of those things, but the more you can narrow down these thoughts to one or two primary feelings it will help steer you.
Of course the industry and purpose of business also plays an important role in colour choice, for example a bright red logo for a lawn mowing and turf care company probably wouldn’t be the best choice! If you are a company involved in the renewable energy sector you would probably want to veer towards green and yellow to reinforce your connections to nature and innovation.
Taking a look at the colour emotion wheel, where does your business sit? Does it match the values that you hope to convey to your customers or clients? Did you nail it with your start up branding or did you have a branding disaster? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences of developing your businesses branding.
If you are just starting up your business venture and need some help or looking to review your branding, website or marketing strategy I’d love to have a chat.
Thanks for reading!