The Importance of Colour

The importance of colour in branding

Colour as access to the complex world of branding

I am taking my journal writing up a notch to tease out content and share insights that pour out of me as I write my book on Soulful Branding. I want to start with colour as easy access to the complex world of branding.

The importance of colour in our lives can not be denied. The way colour grabs our attention, excites us, cautions us, floods our soul with emotion, evokes psychological reactions: it is one of the most influential elements of branding that has been proven to greatly influence behaviour.

Colour is such an important element of branding that it can be central to a brand’s success. Think Tiffany & Co.’s coloured packaging; or how people expect Cadbury to be purple; the influence of McDonalds golden arches; or the red and white of Coca-cola which is responsible for creating the colour of the Santa Claus we know today. Not the most inspiring examples, but you’re starting to get how central colour is to branding.

Swapping brand colours

When you mix up the colours of brands, for example, swap Google and Yahoo colours so Google is purple and Yahoo is multi-coloured – it creates a sense of unease and instant confusion. See for yourself here.

Colour is complicated and yet so base and simple. You could spend a lifetime learning about the essence of colour: colour pigments, mixing colours, colour combinations, light and darkness, emotional responses to colour, colour as therapy, colour in nature.

We can take colour for granted especially the incredible spectrum of the colours that surrounds us in nature. Think of the iridescent and changing colours of a sunset. When you delve into the science of colour you are opening the world of light and shadows – the very essence of what our souls are made of.

Colour anxiety

The forces of colour are so great – people are scared of colour. Have you noticed how conservative people can be with colour – notice a lot of clothes shops filled with black, white and grey and other neutral colours. It is easy to stand out from the crowd when you embrace colour bravely, colour is a great tool for self-expression.

Colour is one of the quickest ways to grab attention. You can’t avoid the impact blue and red flashing lights have on you when seen in your rear vision mirror, or how arresting the yellow of caution and danger signs can be.

Choosing colours for your brand

Check out this simple guide to choosing colours for a brand. Note a brand’s colour can be different to what you see in its actual logo, for example the Tiffany & Co.’s infamous colour green-blue of it’s packaging isn’t used in the logo itself.

When choosing colours for your brand, put aside your own colour preferences and delve in to the psychology of colour and consider how you want people to feel.

The use of colour in branding is changing, brands are becoming less afraid of adding layers of colour, multiple colours and less controlling over exact colours. Corporate colour palettes were limited to one and two colours due to the cost of adding colour plates and inks to the printing press. It is difficult to control how colours will appear with colour monitors varying greatly and digital printing that skips what used to be essential steps to proof and match colours.

Where once colour screamed at you through advertising and marketing, I like to think, people are becoming more sophisticated and design savvy and seeking more authentic use of colour. For me nature and art are the most powerful sources of inspiration for colour and the fastest way to touch and move people.


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