When you make something for people to look at, you generally want them to feel a certain way. This is especially true when it comes to branding, logos, websites, and the like.
What kind of message are you trying to send? What sort of business are you in? What feelings do you want your clients to associate with your goods and services? These are all important questions to ask yourself when coming up with a brand identity.
According to many surveys throughout history, America’s favorite color is blue. Green is the second most popular among men, and purple is the second favorite among women.
So what are some well-known blue brands? You’ve probably heard of these companies: Wal-Mart, Facebook, Ford, IBM, Lowe’s, Twitter, and Samsung. This leads me to some of the personality traits associated with blue. Blue is sincere, honest, and friendly. Brands that are blue are often considered wholesome and honest. Blue is also a very relaxing color to many people.
But there are also different shades and tones of blue. A dark blue, for instance, is considered more formal and professional. Darker colors in general are more professional or mature looking. Whereas a light blue is much more youthful, open, and peaceful. Blue is also traditionally masculine.
So what color is right for you? Here is a list of a few feelings and brands associated with certain colors. Keep in mind that not everyone views everything the same and that different color values inspire different reactions. For example, if you work with trauma patients during their recovery and therapy, you probably shouldn’t choose the bright, loud red that many health institutions use.
- Red – passion, urgency, health (Red Cross)
- Yellow – happiness, warning, positivity, stress (McDonald’s)
- Blue – honesty, loyalty, sincerity (GE)
- Green – nature, life, prosperity, cleanliness (John Deere)
- Orange – lively, friendly (Home Depot)
- Purple – elegance, creativity, peace, wealth (Cadbury)
- Pink – innocence, spring, youth, femininity (Barbie)
- Brown – earth, traditional, rugged (UPS)
- White – cleanliness, health, innocence (PBS)
- Gray – neutral, serious, relaxed, the opposite of exuberant (Wikipedia)
- Black – strength, luxury, maturity, bold (Chanel)
There are obviously many more colors than just the eleven listed here. Take chartreuse, for example, a nice tennis ball yellow-green. This color is currently considered very trendy and is a springtime or autumn color. It is associated with gardening, nature, and Etsy-type craft stores. This color can inspire both action or relaxation depending on the context.
Periwinkle blue, which is my favorite color, is considered very calming and open and a winter or spring color. It can be paired with complementary oranges or greens or with other blues and neutrals. Periwinkle is also currently considered trendy, but its roots go back further as a popular pastel blue color. It was big in Impressionist art and throughout fashion during the roaring 20s.
As you may have noticed, color has a lot of baggage that can be helpful or harmful when defining a brand. There are stereotypical characteristics associated with each unique hue, but each color also has the power to elicit very individualized reactions.
When choosing the colors for your brand, it is important to consider the stereotypes first, then look at variations to give yourself a way to stand out if that is your wish. You also have to remember the industry you are in, the people you are trying to reach, and how you want clients to react to your brand’s image.