Psychology of colour – the power of your brand colour

How you use colour in branding communicates a lot about your company. People are very visual, and colour, along with your design can communicate your vision in an instant. You have seconds to connect with people. You may wonder how much information can be communicated in such a short period of time. Many people do not know why they like the brand. However, they do know a good brand when they see it.

Colour and culture

Our culture dictates what is a desirable colour and what is not. Different colours have different meanings depending on societal norms. This is why it’s important to consider how your message will be received anywhere your brand is present.

As an example, in North America, yellow is a very positive colour. It is connected to happiness and positive feelings. Alternatively, in France, yellow is perceived as a negative colour. Meanings attached to it include jealousy, betrayal, and weakness. Two very different meanings, in two very different cultures. To get the attention of both, a business should probably stay away from yellow and find a colour that carries a positive message throughout.

What’s with psychology and marketing?

People often wonder what the connection is between the world of psychology and marketing. The connection has always been there and it has been strong. They’re not just selling a product, they’re often selling a lifestyle.

For example, Coca Cola created Santa Claus. No doubt, psychology played a major role in creating a jolly fellow that would elicit positive feelings. He was carefully created with likable, culturally positive characteristics in mind. That’s the combined power of psychology and marketing.

Subliminal marketing

In 1957, subliminal marketing became popular. This technique included flashes of products on a single frame, embedded into movies. The goal was to increase candy and soda sales. Viewers were most likely not aware of the messages prompting them to “eat popcorn” and “drink soda”. There were researchers that said it worked and increased sales, while others found problems with the studies that supported that idea. In fact, subliminal advertising is still very controversial, however, it still exists in other forms.

Today it would take a critical eye to find. It can be as simple as a picture within a picture. For instance, ice on top of a product might be molded into the form of a woman or man’s body, depending on the audience being targeted. People may not be consciously aware of it, but on some level, it will resonate.

Colour – what brand colour should you select?

The marketing department often relies on psychological research as a way of understanding the messages their chosen brand colour sends to its audience. Research supports the use of one colour over another, depending on your message, industry, and brand.

Here are some interesting facts about the psychology of colour

Men and women have different preferences in colour. These preferences are ingrained in society and are strongly connected to gender. This needs to be taken into consideration before selecting brand colours. Interestingly, preferences for colour change when men and women select a colour together. Colours chosen together are often in a neutral shade.

The most popular colours of purchased vehicles are black, grey and white shades Click To Tweet

Men and Women

Always keep your audience in mind. Who you are trying to connect with? Is it men, women or both? If it is men, take a hard pass on purple which is one of the most disliked colours for men.

If you are trying to gather the attention of women, stay away from brown and some shades of orange for your brand Click To Tweet

Orange is a fun, edgy colour. It is a very tricky brand colour. Some shades of orange are off-putting to women. Culturally orange has many meanings depending on where you live. Interestingly, in Ukraine, orange represents strength. This dates back to a pivotal moment in history.

A time when the country came together in 2004 and stood up to the government during one of the biggest fraudulent presidential elections in history, known as the Orange Revolution.

– Smartertravel,


It is fascinating that brands targeting men for self-care products have an affinity towards black and red (think cologne). In North America, black is connected to power, mystery, strength, authority, rebellion, and sophistication. Red communicates energy, danger, strength, power, passion, and desire. Studies have found that red is a very powerful and persuasive colour!


The use of colour is powerful. Various colours can immediately communicate the values of your brand. In North America green depicts creativity, nature, money, and ecological awareness. Asian cultures see green in a different light. It is related to eternal life, new beginnings, youth, health, and prosperity.


In Western cultures, blue symbolizes trust, security, and authority. If you pay attention you will find that blue shades are often associated with financial institutions, law offices, medical practices, and insurance companies.

In many Middle Eastern countries, blue means safety and protection, and is symbolic of heaven, spirituality, and immortality.

– Smartertravel,


Branding is an opportunity to define what is different about your business. Remember that your favourite colour may not be the best choice for your logo or brand. The colour you love may not reach your audience or make the branding cut. It’s best to colour within the cultural lines and limits.

You typically don’t want to use feminine colours if you are targeting a male demographic. People refer to societal norms as a way of understanding how to fit in. We often conform to social standards to ensure our place within society. Rules change within some cultural sub-groups, but overall the need to integrate is primal. Alternatively, if the point of your brand is to fight cultural norms, you may not follow the rules.

Waitresses wearing red get bigger tips from male customers

– Science Daily

Businesses need to stand out among the thousands of advertisements people see each day. It takes a lot to stand out. Going with the cultural flow can create positive feelings with potential clients. It is also possible to actively challenge norms that are typically accepted through the use of colour and design.

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