Color Psychology Secrets Revealed in Marketing 2020
The importance of colors
First of all, branding is heavily reliant on design and design is heavily reliant on colors. This means not to use black and white in your design - utilize colors! Companies pay billions to influence their consumers at a deep psychological level and colors are part of that. When we wake up, we register 7 million colors in a day and there has been researching to note that influences people in major, unmistakeable ways that change their behavior and more.
Why not be strategic about color and use it purposely as opposed to aimlessly? You are just a smarter, more well-equipped person when you walk through life, knowing how color can subtly influence psychology at a level that most people have no idea of, yet are subconsciously guided by. Colors influence feelings and moods and moods affect purchasing decisions and choices. Rooms painted a certain color can evoke different feelings and cars in certain colors are more attractive to different people. So, if you’ve stumbled upon this video without any regard for marketing or branding, use this knowledge for any decisions you make while evaluating swatches of color, painting jobs, or even what to wear to your next date or appointment. Allow me to explain each color:
One of the most well-known colors and one of the primary colors, red denotes passion, desire, lust, aggression, attention-grabbing, stimulates the digestive system, and is used for a lot of restaurants particularly fast food. However, red has a dark side so don’t get too liberal with it because it can induce headaches and sometimes irritation if actually used too much!
In studies, when we register the color red through our retinas and processed in our neurochemistry, we are being signaled that danger is in our midst and this is simply a primal, old school hardwiring so while it may evoke passion, it may also evoke people to avoid you and stay away. This makes sense when you see how stop signs and traffic signs utilize red to hardwire people’s chemistry for danger. Mix and match, people!
I would recommend using red if your brand archetype is The Outlaw, The Joker or if your industry is something in food and beverage or even automobiles. A red dining room is also a great symbol that people are truly there to eat and be stimulated by great conversation as well. Red is lively and stimulating.
Red, in traditional Indigenous colours, are typically used to represent the devil along with black, so make sure to be careful in your use with tones and shades of red for your culture. Red is perfect for impulse buyers and quick deals so it’s great for product based packaging sold in stores. Research has also found that eating on red plates will typically denote eating less food, so good to know for weight loss campaigns!
Serious, great for focus like for lawyers and doctors and professionals when they want to be taken seriously and listened to with respect. Silver is also a very similar color, perhaps just with a bit of shine, and it denotes calm and coolness. If you are looking to emulate the archetype of The Ruler or The Sage, you would benefit from using gray, or even in your legal or professional family practice.
As a primary color, blue is great for companies that want to be seen as honest, reliable, and dependable such as a lot of tech companies, universities. It’s also a color of intelligence! Wear it to interviews and you may influence the hiring manager to choose you!
Being the color of the ocean and the sky, blue is a very natural color that we let guide us and implicitly let us know that things are okay. Great for a crisis PR rebrand when you have terrible reviews online or people are stressed about data privacy laws!
I would recommend blue for technology companies and also, interestingly, meditation apps, and services. If you’re guiding meditations, use blue as with most leading meditation apps as it’s naturally calming and anesthetic effect neutralizes anxiety.
Blue is also the most universally loved color which explains the collective love of denim and jean companies like Levi’s perhaps simply because of the color. Women love men in blue and women and men both seem to just love it as a whole. Blue can unite the world! If you’re delivering bad news, potentially do it while wearing blue or with a blue background so it’s not too much of a devastating blow.
A color subconsciously implicating luxury, this is a perfect color for gift wrapping to make your gift seem more expensive, but don’t overdo it - purple houses indicate potential tackiness. Is your product or service essentially targeted for high ticket clients and high-income tax brackets? Then usher in your high earners for beauty and chocolate, notably, with purple packaging and branding.
Elegance and wealth are denoted with purple, which is actually why I incorporate a lot of purple in my own brand. I purposely want my prospects and clients to know that I am their solution if they want something elegant, yet indulgent because I give a 5-star, VIP experience as a coach. The archetypes of The Lover and The Ruler go well with this brand, however, my primary archetype is The Magician, and purple is also used well for this archetype because there’s a certain sense of subtle mystery and I build a lot of curiosity and intrigue around myself personally since I’m always cooking ideas up and releasing them when they’re ready without revealing them too soon!
Purple also lets people know that I am unique and one of a kind. Being a combination of red and blue, it encourages peace, yet also encouragement and stimulation.
Purple also denotes a weird gender bias as well: women see it as their second favorite color, however, men see it as their second most hated color. Typically, I enroll a lot more women in my color scheme and I’m not surprised!
High energy and success, so great for gyms and sports along with cars.
I would recommend using orange for brands in fitness and automobiles in any way because you will be set up for success in letting people know how exuberant, fun, and on top you are. Orange lets people know that you are in charge, you know what you’re doing, and you’re going to go fast. This is great for brands emulating the archetypes of The Outlaw and The Maverick or Trailblazer.
Orange is also associated with fairness and affordability so it’s great for brands that want to appeal to people who want equality and justice brought to the bigger picture and larger landscape of market share. You’ll notice that sales and deals can sometimes be wrapped up in orange text and packaging.
Orange is actually one of the second most hated colors, so I’m not surprised why most prison uniforms are orange and why it’s hard to rock it as a general styling color.. so extravagance and uniqueness may be difficult to achieve with orange.
The third and final primary color, yellow is all about optimism and high energy and it will whip up a sensation of buzzing, humming frenzy around your brand. Creativity and optimism spring from here with the sun and bananas. Happiness is all communicated with yellow! If you’re not sure what feeling it is that you want to evoke, but you know you want to engender positive feeling and advocate for positivity as a lifestyle, yellow is perfect. I would recommend yellow for gyms, fitness brands looking to encourage people to work out and groundbreaking books delivering landmark research. If your brand archetype is likely going to be a mix of The Enthusiast and an optimist, use yellow primarily.
Yellow and orange are also great colors for weight loss as research has shown that more energy and digestive power is exerted with these influential colors! It’s not surprising why yellow is the classic color of the happy face logo and sticker.
Gold, being a more luxurious and classical symbol of decadence, is the upscale version of yellow and this can, given the high value of gold jewelry and products, can do wonders for a brand struggling to convey wealth and prestige.
Often used in environmental campaigns to directly emulate the colors of forests, plants, and flowers, green is a trustworthy and wholesome color evoking unity and friendliness. We go out for walks or breaks in nature when we’ve been indoors for too long. Green is down to earth and great for earthy, land-based brands that want to be acknowledged for their appreciation of nature, friendliness, and are really the archetype of both the Everyman or Everywoman or even the Explorer. Fundamentally, we relate to green and level with it. Green evokes safety and strength in that.
Green is incredible for essential oil businesses and aromatherapy as scents of pine, fir, and mint can go well with the actual color and pair nicely.
Universally, green is also one of the top 3 favorite colors of men and, to a lesser degree, women.
Unfortunately one of the most hated colors universally across men and women, and despite it’s potentially calming and environmental associations such as with trees, it appears that scary bears and dirt are what most people typically associate to the color brown and it takes away from its likeness. Brown is associated with ugliness, laziness, boredom and this does not help with its branding so it may be one of those colors you just avoid, as compelling as it is for an earth tone.
Maybe try beige or taupe as it’s closer to the exuberance of yellow or the innocence of white!
Try to exude luxury by upscaling your brown to bronze and making a metallic pigment show up in your branding.
Pink is the color of innocence, safety, and comfort. I would recommend using this color for these industries: healthcare products, feminine based services, comfortable bath care, fragrance, and even baby toys and food. Pink is represented by the archetype of The Innocent but also The Lover who is seen as sweet and nurturing. You are safe with pink! Pink is great for skincare brands as well to denote liveliness and vitality within innocent, pure packaging that allures women.
Onto the hues...
Black does wonders for people who want to be taken seriously, demand authority, and even want to be slimmer. Wearing black is a classic, timeless look, and branding heavily with black can register you as someone to listen to, however.. because of its void-like nature, you could either be confused for being powerfully respected or powerfully evil so make sure to mix up black with other colors that serve your branding palette to the emotion you want to evoke.
A classic tuxedo and a little black dress are timeless pieces in Western culture as well, however in certain cultures, black is forbidden to wear because of its religiously evil connotations to the Devil. It isn’t hard, once you really notice black, how black cars actually statistically get into more accidents because black activates chaos magic. It makes sense then, why black is worn to funerals in Western culture and why the Black Lives Matter movement heavily draws on bringing order to the chaos that circulates around black America and black history.
Quality and sophistication also heavily circulate around black, which is why most cellphones have black screens and black designs and perhaps may even help support the popularity around the TV show, Black Mirror.
Black and red also interestingly activate confidence and this is why they are typically used in many fashion and beauty campaigns, so be sure to notice that when Black Friday rolls around or massive sales around Christmas and New Year’s.
White reveals the visionary elements of purity and innocence. While being a stark, bright hue, it makes sense why a bride typically wears white at her wedding to be seen as innocent.
When considering black and white together, think of the yin and yang symbol: in Asian culture, yin is a symbol of earth, femininity, darkness, passivity, and absorption. Yang is conceived of as heaven, masculinity, light, activity, and penetration. Taken both into consideration, there is an incorporation of both for perfect balance. The order needs chaos and chaos needs order.
It is also notable that white can simply be a blanket statement for all those who are Caucasian, or who have lighter skin tones. Our historical, cultural, and psychological impressions of white and black color our dyadic thinking, our power struggles through civilization, and even our impressions of people’s innate worth and upbringing.
Lighter versions or warmer shades of colors implicate a feminine, toned down and more subtle emotional response. These shades remind us of summer days in the heat and why we gravitate to certain Adobe Lightroom Presets or filters on social media for our media and images. In a room, warm colors give a sense of coziness.
Darker versions or cooler shades of colors implicate a masculine, amped up and very serious emotional response. These shades remind us of colder months and wintery seasons. In a room, cool colors give a sense of cleanliness and can even help a room seem bigger.
Color schemes, aka color harmonies, are just as important to know for the color scheme of your brand, or the colors in your brand kit. Some blues work with yellow, and some blues just do not, for example. Arm yourself with a color wheel and you will be equipped to know!
Complimentary colors are key to know about here and those include a light blue and cherry red or a bright yellow and deep purple. Avoid a 50/50 split actually though because a graphic can be difficult to look at if two colors are exactly equally shown.. a bit of careful imbalance here is actually a better course of action when you want to attract and appeal. Try instead to shoot for an 80/20 split.
A monochromatic hue, so essentially one color split up into different shades and used on one piece of marketing collateral, is used, however, I recommend something more contrasting to build curiosity and draw eyeballs.
Triadic color schemes are what I love the most, and these are 3 complementary colors all equilateral on the color wheel. I love this style of creating color schemes, however a warning here is to use at least 1 primary color because primary colors, given their inherent nature of no other color combinations being able to create them, are intrinsically unique and appealing to the universal human eye.
There are lots of different kinds of color schemes like tetradic and more, however the important principles for complimenting colors are what you really need to know.
A disclaimer about color psychology is that science is not iron-clad. By that, I mean the jury is out and science has not proven that color affects people on a behavioral and psychological level 100% of the time.
Take these recommendations and advice as grains of salt and make sure to evaluate that, given your associations with certain colors based on your culture and upbringing especially in your given country, that this may not apply equally to all.
If you know your culture has a different perspective of blue or orange and my advice conflicts with your knowledge, firstly what I want you to do is share what you know in the comment section below this video and then apply your knowledge mixed with what you’ve learned here in your branding.
I did not invent or even research color psychology in-depth, I simply know from experience in branding and what I learned in studying marketing. Come to your own conclusions and your best judgment.
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