Using Color in Your Business Branding
Starting your own small business is very exciting, but with so many factors to consider it can be overwhelming. Business branding might be an afterthought, however your choice of color scheme for branding and logo design is one decision that should not be overlooked or hurriedly decided.
It might be tempting to pick a pretty combination of colors for your business and think no more about it, but without even realizing it color psychology has a big effect on the way brands are perceived. Therefore it is important to pick appropriate colors to suit the nature of your business.
A color’s powerful subconscious effect gives us an invaluable tool in marketing, which can be used to strengthen your business. Luckily, there are generally a number of colors you can choose from to convey your message so that it isn’t necessary to pick one that you don’t like or respond to personally.
Choosing the right color
No matter how great your service or product, if your color scheme is poorly chosen your potential customers might be put off. The 60%-30%-10% rule is a good ratio if you use three colors and a study has show that most top brands use blue, at 33%. Blue is seen as trustworthy and serene, reflecting nature like the sky and sea.
Most companies choose the color appropriate for the industry they’re in. When you think of red and yellow McDonald’s is of course the first restaurant that you think of, but combinations of red and yellow are also used for fellow fast food brands KFC, Burger King and Pizza Hut.
This is for various reasons; yellow is the easiest color to see in sunlight as well as being the happiest color. Red, yellow and orange all also trigger hunger and induce excitement. Fast food restaurants want to be easy to spot, with customers eating a lot and quickly. Therefore a combination of these colors makes perfect sense.
Blue, black and purple all suppress appetite, perhaps because we associate these colors with food that is rotten and inedible. Therefore these colors are rarely used for food products, and don’t work as well as warm colors for restaurant decor.
Green is seen as healthy and fresh, so is often used for organic, eco-friendly and health products. Blue is popular for cleaning products as it is seen as a ‘clean’ color. Purple is powerful and a color of royalty, so is a popular choice for luxury brands. Black is powerful and sleek, so also used to market luxury products such as cars.
Exceptions to the rule
Most brands are successful when they follow conventions for their brand’s color, however bucking the trend can also be very effective. This isn’t to say go for the ‘wrong’ color deliberately, but use a color that conveys the message that your competitors haven’t thought to use.
Garnier Fructis is a good example of this. Amongst the sea of blue and white competitors its bright green colour stands out. This isn’t to say it’s inappropriate however; green is a fresh and healthy color, perfect for a shampoo; it is merely that when they launched the majority of the brand’s competitors were using the most obvious colors to represent the product. This shows that while it is important to bear in mind the message each of your chosen colors conveys, it isn’t always necessary to follow the crowd. You can think of ways to use alternative colors to represent your new business.
Emily Bradbury is writing on behalf of Superdream, a digital marketing agency based in the West Midlands. They offer a full range of services including SEO, graphic design, copywriting and PR.