Color psychology refers to how humans perceive and respond to different colors. We may not intentionally behave this way but the fact of the matter is, we’re wired in our core to respond to the colors around us. It is because of this reason that color psychology plays a significant role in graphic design associated with marketing.
Color can have an effect on a buyer’s purchase decision and long time loyalty. Color psychology also actively participates in boosting some brands over others. This is why you need to take into consideration this psychological implication seriously and start leveraging it to your advantage.
Whether you’re in the process of building your brand from scratch or going for an overhaul of your existing brand, DO consider color psychology. In fact, according to Web Tribunal, colors can help increase brand awareness by 80%! So use them wisely to help boost your brand’s impact.
So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of color psychology in graphic design.
First up, we’re going to walk through some different color associations and their psychological effects before we talk about using different colors in branding.
Color associations actively play a role in determining color psychology. That’s why you need to consider them when figuring out your color scheme. It may be true that these associations can differ based on the context in which that particular color is used but there is a general sense in which most colors are perceived.
This general perception helps brands experiment with various colors within the borders of that context. We will explore more on this when we talk about the application of colors in branding.
For now, let’s look at different color associations and some examples of successful brands that effectively utilize color psychology.
The color white is one of the most useful colors in graphic design. It helps set balance and gives the design a clean and crisp look. The color psychology behind white is the reason it’s one of the top colors to use in website design.
Black is one of the most daring colors out there. When properly used, the color black can give a design a very sleek and cutting-edge look. Rich black is favored by most designers for print work because of technical reasons. Plain black can come off as greyish or muddy as opposed to rich black when printed. This is why designers prefer rich black for printing.
Red is one of the boldest colors, owing to its imposing nature. Not every brand and industry can benefit from using red in their graphic design. But for those brands that can, like the ones listed above, it has helped them stand out. So consider your industry when choosing red in your graphic designs.
Orange is one of the most underrated colors. It’s such a warm beautiful color with such lovely shades. Learning a little bit more about this color would maybe help color psychology and anyone could understand how and when to use it. Orange can be used for food brands as it has a tendency to increase appetite.
Yellow is a color that has a cheerful vibe. While yellow’s color psychology makes people feel frustrated when used in excess, most of the time it can look cheerful in the right setting.
It can also be used as a pop of bright color in a darker palette along with blue and black to give it a nautical feel.
Green is one of the most pleasing colors to the eye for obvious reasons. Trees are green! Green is a color normally used by eco-friendly brands. Green can add a sort of freshness to your design if it’s used in the right shade in the right setting. If you want to market that your brand is eco-friendly, using green in your graphic designs can be the best option.
Blue is a worldwide favorite color. There are scientific reasons behind it some say and this color psychology could be true because most brands in the world love using blue in their color palettes. The biggest proof is that approximately 40% of Fortune 500 companies use the color blue in their logo. So adding blue to your graphic designs can help your brand appear familiar and friendly.
Purple was once considered a luxurious color. It used to be the color of nobility. But this color psychology no longer remains in people and it’s now used in different settings. Purple is an up-and-coming color for tech companies to incorporate into their branding as a secondary color. When used in moderation in graphic designs it gives a very futuristic look.
Pink is one of the most stereotypical colors out there. It’s known to give out a very childish and girly feel to it. But this color psychology is no longer favored by people and is opposed by many. But still, it can be used for edgy and futuristic graphic designs in subtle accents.
There are colors that are psychologically potent in fixing or breaking a person’s disposition. And that is one main aspect of color psychology that you must tackle as a brand strategist or a marketer. But there’s also the case where different colors evoke different feelings in different people.
A person’s background, gender, upbringing, geographical location, culture, and personal preference will all factor into their color psychology.
So then how do you decide which colors to use for your branding? It’s a tough call to make for some brands. Choosing which colors they want to associate with their brand is not as easy as it would seem.
But we’d recommend considering factors like your mission, vision, target audience, your brand values, and the message you want to send through your brand as the main things to consider.
These are crucial things to consider. Your brand values and the colors you pick need to be coherent.
For example, if your brand is tech related you can use colors like black and blue with hints of blue, purple, and pink to give that futuristic look. Or, if you’re a brand that sells organic and all-natural products you can use colors like green and yellow in your branding and subsequent graphic designs like the example below.
On that note, let’s move to discussing color palettes. Your target audience’s color psychology is affected not only by one color. Because, let’s be honest your brand can’t survive on one color alone. You need to find other colors that go well with the main color you want to go with or complement it.
In that regard, you can first start by choosing your primary color or colors and then proceed to select your secondary colors. Your primary color will be the main color that will be featured on most of your brand work along with accents from your secondary colors. Regardless, make sure they all work well together. These colors can be analogous or complementary. That solely depends on your brand personality and corporate preference. You can use a color wheel to decide on these colors.
Once these selections are made they can be applied to your graphic designs. With the proper colors being used your graphic designs will look visually appealing and interesting.
Now, you need to remember that a sound color palette alone will not help you. The thing that brings your selection to life is the effective use of these colors. You may have the prettiest color palette, but if it’s not used to its best effect in your designs, it won’t matter. This is why there should be a page dedicated to your color usage on your company brand guidelines.
This guideline will also help you to strategically use your colors in various design elements of your brand. Incorporating this established color frame into your logo, your brand mascot design, the typography, and the overall graphics can highly increase your brand’s visual value in marketing.
And by that, your brand can produce consistent designs that help nurture brand awareness. This consistency is very important because graphic design helps build your customer’s color psychology. In other words, it helps market your brand through visuals and it is your job to make these visuals as appealing as possible.
We can now conclude that color psychology plays a crucial role in graphic design. Your brand can make an impact with all of its visual design elements if color psychology is leveraged to help boost it.
Most famous brands are able to make us recall their brand color even without trying because, from a psychological standpoint, we’ve been impacted. This effect will push us to make that purchase.
Just think about your favorite drink. How often does color make you choose a brand over another brand? In fact, research reveals that out of the snap judgments people make about people, an environment, or a product, 60% – 90% of those assessments are based on color alone.
If you want to evoke the intended emotions in consumers then be intentional in your color usage to navigate their color psychology. That could help you make a lasting impression on consumers and that’s what the whole marketing game is all about.