Branding For Your Audience – Choosing a Color

Derrick Lin


Written by Joe Hickman. Packaging Specialist of Charlotte Packaging.

(image: Printable Coloring Pages)

When designing a business logo, product packaging or advertising material, it is important to think about branding. You want to put across a consistent message, but what do your designs really say about your company? That’s where color psychology comes in.

What is Color Psychology for Branding?
Color psychology is a field of study in the design industry that looks at what each colour represents and conveys. It looks at how certain shades make a person feel; something that is extremely important to consider if you are trying to persuade a customer to make a purchase.

You might not think that the color of an icon or product packaging makes that much of a difference, but in fact, it has been found that 90% of snap judgements or impulse buys are made because of the color of an item’s packaging (info source).

Although different colors may be interpreted by different people in their own way, thanks to global culture, many of us now come to the same emotional conclusions. Generally, everyone’s perceived understanding of colors are now the same.

So what does each color mean? And what colour should you incorporate into your branding? Let’s take a look:

Yellow is a bright and sunny colour and therefore connotes optimism, clarity and warmth. Brands who adopt this color want to purvey the idea of familiarity and positivity.
Popular fast food giant McDonald’s uses yellow in its famous golden arches logo, as well as combined with red in its packaging. This colour combination is said to stimulate the appetite and make customers hungry. While the yellow’s sunny appearance is happy and inviting.
Other brands that use this color are the National Geographic, IMDb and Ikea.

Orange is also a friendly and cheerful color, but brands that use it are more likely to want to convey confidence. It is also widely used by businesses with young target audiences, for example television channel Nickelodeon.
Orange can be seen in the well-known Amazon arrow smile, Firefox web browser and Fanta fizzy drink bottles.

Red is an exciting color. It’s bold, youthful and has real pace. That’s why it is regularly used in snack packaging and in fast food restaurants.
Coca Cola, Walkers, KFC and Burger King all have red logos and packaging. And other big brands such as Virgin and Netflix also use the color to promote their speedy services.

This is a royal color and therefore is often associated with quality or fine items. It promotes creativity, imagination and wise knowledge, so is also adopted by many creative businesses too.
Big brands that use purple in their branding include Cadbury, Hallmark and Yahoo!

Many people understandably assume blue is a bit of a masculine color, but a lot of women like this color too. Blue signifies trust, dependability and strength and therefore is popular among brands that are in the digital or technology industries.

Take a walk through the countryside and you will find that most things in nature have a green pigment to them. As a result, brands looking to convey their organic or natural elements often optimise their branding using this colour.
Green is also peaceful, healthy and promotes growth. As a result it is used by Whole Foods and juice company Tropicana, the television channel Animal Planet and well-respected 4 wheel drive brand, Land Rover.

Monochrome or Multi-Colored
Black and white is colorless and is therefore used by brands who want to project an image of neutrality, calm, balance and clarity. Whereas multiple colors project all the associated meanings of the included colors and therefore show diversity.

So what does your current branding say about your company and what colours should you use? Well, maybe red and yellow if you have a food company, purple if you sell luxury goods or blue if you’re in IT. Think about what these colours say to your customers. Is this how you want to represent your business? If not, change it.

About the author
Joe Hickman is the Packaging Specialist of Charlotte Packaging. Charlotte Packaging is a family run business with over 40 years of experience in the packaging industry. They are specialists in providing custom printed plastic and paper packaging to both local and international companies.