Color psychology is something every creative should know about. We are taught about at Art Schools and we learn it at work.
Not using this powerful knowledge is loosing out on personality, vibrancy and impact of your brand.
I’m sure you’ve had problems choosing the perfect color to paint your room, perfect lipstick color (there’s so many shades!) or perfect sofa color. What about brand colors?
This is even more complicated task, and you’re supposed to then stay consistent! How are you not afraid you’ll make the wrong decision and then want to change all colors and loose all the consistency you’ve build so far?
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We all have our favourite color
It may be aligned with our personality, but it doesn’t have to be the perfect color for our branding. To determine which colors you should be using for your brand, you should start with getting clear on your business mission, vision and perfect client profile. The best way to do it is to answer some powerful questions, like:
- What do I want to be know for?
- What words describe exactly how I want to come across?
- What I need my clients to know for sure about my business?
- How I want my clients to feel when contacting with my brand?
- Who is my perfect customer, what do they like to be talked to?
You can get my Brand Clarity Workbook – the form I give to all my clients before we start working together. It contains over 15 pages of those kind of questions and is supposed to help you gain clarity on your vision, mission and perfect client profile. You’ll need to spend some time on it, but it’s worth it, because then you can focus all your efforts in the right direction.
And get your branding just right, the first time.
Find colors that support your business values
I’m sure you’ve experienced this feeling, when you paint a room and it totally changes it’s vibe and energy. Or if you feel sad you find yourself wearing different colors than when you’re happy and full of energy. That’s because colors make you feel.
Colors communicate very strong message to our subconsciousness – we don’t usually understand it on a logic level, but we get the message.
If you’d like your clients to feel inspired and full of energy, while making sure you come across as an honest and open person, you may want to choose colors from the Spring Personality color palette: those are all light, bright and clear colors from yellow, to lime green, pastel pink and blue and light greys.
Want to look sophisticated, romantic and elegant? Choose cool, bluefish and purple colors of Summer.
Is passionate, warm and energetic your vibe? Choose warm Autumn colors from red, through orange to yellow, to deep purple, green and brown.
Perfect colors for a strong, practical and dynamic brand is Winter: with bold, contrasting colors like black, white, strong yellow, blue red and orange. (This is the only season that contains pure white and black).
I will be writing separate posts about each of the color personalities soon, so stay tuned.
Each color evokes different feeling in us and communicates different message. Each prime color can have a different shade that also changes how it makes us see it (think lime green vs. muted, pastel green or bottle green).
For now let’s just focus on prime colors, so we can then dive deeper in each color palette later in separate posts.
Balanced, harmonious, abundant, earthy
Green is a color of harmony, so if your brand is to communicate this – this is your color. This is also a great color for brands that want to be perceived as organic, aligned with nature. If you sell scented candles you make yourself – this could be a perfect color for you. Choose from deep olive green to send a “balanced” message, through bottle green that seems professional and elegant, to light pastel green that’s calm and elegant. Be careful to balance warm green with other colors (like blue), or you can create a not so elegant effect of earthy, dirty green.
optimistic, powerful, high-self esteem, strong emotionally
Want to be perceived as a strong person, who has a lot to say? Yellow is a go-to color for you then! Light, pastel yellow will be perfect for the Spring Personality, whilst deep yellow works great with white & black of Winter and adds a lot of energy and statement there. You can choose a mustard shade to put into your Autumn palette and add an elegant, deep element to it.
Be careful: extensive use of yellow can make you look as needy and lacking in confidence (and it was supposed to be optimistic, right? I know!).
Creative, optimistic, positive, passionate
We all love a peachy pastel color – it’s very feminine, whilst not as trivial as pastel pink. Deep tangerine color comes across as super energetic, can be elegant and full of passion. When mixed with beige, creates beautiful mix you’d like to lick. If your brand is feminine, strong and passionate – choose orange as your primal and beige as your supportive color.
Be careful not to use it too much: strong colors are best used as a splash every now and there, so it really leaves impact without being too overwhelming and looking cheap.
strong, passionate determined, energetic, courageous
Have you ever been in a great mood and wanted to put a red lipstick on? Yes, that’s the color of passion, energy and happiness. If you want your brand to communicate that – choose read and never go back.
As with orange, use in moderation, or you can come across as angry!
Nurturing, warm, optimistic, hopeful, kind, intuitive
This is the main color of my branding, connected with light, cappuccino beige.
I want my brand to be perceived as nursing, intuitive and warm, so it communicates to people I can help them build and nurture their brands, intuitively understand their needs give them a boost of optimism and inspiration.
Be careful not to use it too much, you can appear as childish and lacking self-esteem.
Powerful, safe, sophisticated, dynamic, dramatic
Splashes of black can be very elegant (you see a lot of it in magazines, used in elegant serif or script fonts, connected with beautiful imagery), but used too much can appear as draining and heavy. Use it wisely and with bright colors so it really shines among them and you use it’s “light side”. You can find black only in the Winter Color Personality.
Pure, clear, sharp, hygienic, ethereal, clean
Think not only clear and sharp white, but creamy whites, light beige, butter whites. White space is very powerful and should be respected and added in any design. I will soon write a separate post about white space in design, so please stay tuned if you’re interested (or sign up for my newsletter to make sure you won’t miss it).
White works beautifully mixed with a splash of color every now and there. It makes other colors shine and bring lightness to your designs. IT’s a perfect color if you’d like to be perceived as clean, but be careful – sharp white feels hygienic and it’s very cold.
Warm, rich, elegant, wealthy, glamorous
Works best as a splash of color, given a lot of white space. Mixed with white and gold creates a very elegant and sophisticated look, though it’s very strong and you will surely communicate very strong personality through that.
Used with muted colors adds a lot of sophistication and becomes light and optimistic.
If you’re brand is premium and expensive – this color should appear in your color palette.
Used excessively can appear as demanding and selfish.
Prestigious, wealthy, balanced, glamorous, calming
It’s a lot more calming than gold, yet still very elegant and sophisticated. Again, it works best used wisely not excessively.
Both gold and silver can appear as grey or “dirty” yellow in web, so make sure you apply a gold or silver texture, or a grain (in Photoshop), to illuminate it and make it look like one of these metals.
This color is very difficult to use – it does not work great as a primary color, it needs to mixed up with a different color that’s going to bring life to it and shine its light on it. Try not to use grey with black and white only, you will appear as very cold and lifeless.
Grey works great with pastel colors – for delicate look, and with bright colors for optimistic feel and statement.
There’s many shades of grey and try to be careful when designing for web, as many people won’t see very light grey if their screen isn’t 27’ iMac.
You can choose from clear grey (that’s pure black and white), or warm or cool tones which will compliment their primary colors.
Do not use it too much, or it will take personality out of your designs!
Now that you know what each color means, we can move to the Color Personalities.
Stay tuned for my next blog post, we’ll start off from Spring Color Personality and move on to other seasons too. I’ll prepare a special inforgraphic for you with a Spring color paletter so you can have it as a reference for your own brand. Then I will teach you how to build your perfect color palette, so you are confident with mixing colors and sure you will evoke only the best feelings about your brand.
What color is your favourite? Which one are you subconsciously drawn to? Let me know in the comments below.