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Color is a big part of our world.

The colors we surround ourselves with can impact our mood, change our energy levels, invoke memories, and even influence our decisions. As you can imagine, color is a powerful player in people's perceptions of your brand as well.

Related: Playing with color — The power of persuasive clicking

A blog post on Elle & Co. says 60% of people decide whether they're attracted to a message based on the color alone — and color reinforces brand recognition by up to 80%.

Point is, color makes a big impact on customers.

This is why Google has reportedly tested 41 different shades of blue in its logo to see which blue performed best. The winning color, according to dozens of charts and graphs, was not too green and not too red.

"It's interesting to see how you can change the way that people respond to the Web in ways that are not intuitive," Google executive Marissa Meyer explained.

Color branding is about your customers

Many brands have a signature color (or colors) that makes them easily recognizable.

In many cases, it would be odd to see their logo in a different color. Can you imagine McDonald's golden arches in a bright purple instead? What if Starbucks' logo wasn't green & white, Pepsi's logo wasn't blue & red, and Target's wasn't red all around?

When we see that bubblegum-pink writing, we know it's Barbie — and when we see the tiny blue f, we know it's Facebook.

But, it's not just the logo. As an article on SpellBrand suggests, there are many ways to incorporate color into your branding:

  • advertising
  • business cards
  • employee uniforms
  • interior design at retail locations (and in the office)
  • letterhead
  • marketing materials
  • product packaging
  • signage
  • social media graphics
  • website

According to Aprimo, marketing activities should focus on customers to create positive experiences each time they interact with your brand. Color will be part of those interactions, so deciding which color to use often comes down to who your customers are.

Emma Foley, design lead at Clique Studios, says, "As much as you might want them to, everyone is not going to be your audience. So, if you focus in and build a strong community of people you want to talk to, you can do a lot with using color as the first interaction with those people."

For example, color has the power to make your website stand out among similar websites.

"One of your website visitors might think, 'They are using this hot pink in a world of traditional blue and that's really interesting. I want to learn more about this company'," Emma explains.

She says there are really two schools of thought about how companies should manage color: 1) this is our brand color so we have to use it or 2) play around with colors because the rest of the brand is strong.

How to choose a color for your brand

Before deciding which color makes sense for your brand, it's important to take a step back and think about what colors mean.

Red

Red color branding
Source: Unsplash

The color red is associated with intensity, emotion, and a sense of urgency. It can invoke feelings of active energy, passion, trust, love, intensity, aggression, excitement and appetite.

Red logos
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Brands that use red: McDonald's, Audi, Coca-Cola, CNN, Lego, Canon, KFC, TLC, ESPN, Target, Levi's, Virgin and Netflix.

Blue

Blue color branding
Source: Unsplash

While there are many shades of blue that mean different things, blue is generally associated with depth and stability. It's associated with conservative judgement, confidence, truth, order, and understanding.

People often sense comfort, faith, clarity, calm, trust, harmony, tranquility, unity, and order in shades of blue. It can invoke a sense of security, curb appetites, and stimulate productivity.

Blue logos
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Brands that use blue: United Airlines, Chase Bank, Dell, Ford, General Electric, Twitter, Oreo, Lowe's, AT&T and Samsung.

Yellow

Yellow color branding
Source: Unsplash

Yellow is a bright & vivid color associated with positive energy, sunshine and freshness. It can make people feel alive, energetic, cheerful and optimistic.

Yellow logos
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Brands that use yellow: Subway, Shell, Post-it, Lay's, Denny's, Hertz and Snapchat.

Beige & ivory

Beige color branding
Source: Unsplash

While it's not used too often, beige and ivory can invoke a feeling of simplicity, calm and pleasant stability.

Tilemark is a great example of a brand that uses beige & ivory.

Beige color branding
Source: Tilemark

Gray

Gray color branding
Source: Unsplash

Gray is associated with security, reliability, dignity, practicality, conservative judgment, calm and intelligence.

Gray logos
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Brands that use gray: Wikipedia, Swarovski, Lexus and Nissan.

Green

Green color branding
Source: Unsplash

The color green is associated with the harmony of nature, the environment and renewal. When looking at green, people often feel calm, relaxed, trusting, peaceful, hopeful and healthy.

Green logos
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Brands that use green: Holiday Inn, Starbucks, Animal Planet, Spotify, Land Rover, John Deere, Tropicana, Tic Tac and Hulu.

Purple

Purple color branding
Source: Unsplash

Purple is symbolic of luxury, royalty, glamour, power, nostalgia, romance, introspection, nobility, spirituality and wisdom. It also stimulates creativity and problem-solving.

Purple logos
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Brands that use purple: Yahoo, Marketo, FedEx, Syfy, Taco Bell, Purplebricks, Purple, Hallmark and Wonka.

Orange

Orange color branding
Source: Unsplash

The color orange is associated with happiness, sunshine, citrus and the tropics. Orange is a playful color that makes people feel enthusiastic, creative and determined. It stimulates mental activity and supports energy, vibrancy and warmth.

Orange logos
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Brands that use orange: The Home Depot, Nickelodeon, Firefox, Izze, Amazon, Fanta, Payless and Harley Davidson.

White

White color branding
Source: Unsplash

White symbolizes cleanliness, peace, innocence, youth, simplicity, purity and safety. As a reminder that colors mean different things in different cultures, it's interesting to note that white carries connotations of death and mourning in many Asian cultures.

White logos
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Brands that use white: The North Face, Tesla and Vans.

Black

Black color branding
Source: Unsplash

Black symbolizes luxury and the mystery of night. It's bold, serious, powerful, elegant, wealthy, stylish and sophisticated.

Black logos
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Brands that use black: Chanel, Nike, Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Puma and Lamborghini.

Pink

Pink color branding
Source: Unsplash

Pink symbolizes love, romance, tenderness, caring, sweetness, warmth and youthful fun.

Pink logos
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Brands that use pink: Barbie, Baskin Robbins, T-Mobile, Lyft, LG and PINK.

Brown

Brown color branding
Source: Unsplash

Brown is associated with the earth, reliability, support, dependability, the outdoors, simplicity, endurance and support.

Brown logos
Made in Lucidpress

Brands that use brown: UPS, Hershey's, M&Ms, Gloria Jean's Coffee and Cracker Barrel.

Key takeaway

While color has the power to affect people's moods, choosing your brand colors shouldn't be based on emotional response alone. As Emma Foley of Clinique says, "There's so much more that goes into a brand than a logo and color." Once you understand your brand's customers and values, you can create a brand color palette that speaks to them.

Ready to start testing your new brand identity? Try creating a few logo variations in Lucidpress, using your brand colors.

Lucidpress - free logo maker

Author Bio

Kristen Kuchar is a writer & editor who has had the opportunity to cover several industries for a wide variety of national publications. Her specialities include travel, as well as the beverage, food & restaurant industries.