Brand Colours
April 9, 2021
Written by Eben Chidik
Read Time 7 Minutes

What do different colours mean in branding?

Branding articles, how to build a brand, building a brand, starting a brand.

Colour is far more important than you think

Branding, the fight for customer attention, comes with a lot of methods, techniques, tips, and tricks.

It's all about standing out from your competitors and being different.

The colours you choose, can help you win that fight, or lose it.

More than half of the articles on branding you can read out there will tell you colour "evokes" emotions, or reactions, and it's very much true.

But then they leave you hanging, they don't tell you which colour evokes what response, what to do when your competitors have the same colour palettes and all the other burning questions you may probably have and should have if you want your business to be successful.


The colour crash course

We will take a brief look at the different classes of colours.

And how they are applicable in designing your brand logo.

Primary colours

Primary colours are the three colours that other colours are derived from.

They are red, blue, and yellow.

These three colours combine to create the next level of colours, called the secondary colours.

You should note however, that there are different colour systems:

We have the subtractive colour system called CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and red) for print designs.

And the additive colour system RGB (red, green and blue) for digital designs.


Secondary colours

Secondary colours are purple, green and orange.

They are created using the primary colours.

If you look on the colour wheel, you'll find the secondary colours in between two primary colors.

red + yellow = orange

red + blue = purple

blue + yellow = green


Tertiary colours

Tertiary colours are made by mixing one primary colour and one secondary colour.

There are six tertiary colours:

yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue-violet, blue-green, and yellow-green.

They end up being closer to the primary colour.

You may be wondering what class are black, white, and grey in.

These are called neutral colours.

They can be mixed into any other colour to create tints, tones, and shades.

A tint is created by adding white to a colour, a tone is made by adding grey, while a shade is made by adding black to a colour.


What colours mean in branding

In branding, colours not only trigger emotional cues, or enhance perception but they sometimes literally dictate if a product would be purchased or not.

Businesses are deliberate about the type of colours they use for their brands.

Colours connote concepts, and humans make sense of things through concepts.

Let's get some examples:

White

White mirrors feelings of calm, purity, and cleanliness.

The very famous neutral can also be used to communicate sophistication, just like how the Chanel logo is white.

White can also sometimes feel detached and subdued.

Therefore, you should use it in a way that fits your brand, for example a luxury brand could effectively use a white colour-way to evoke a sense of prestige.

Black

Another neutral that isn't exactly a colour, but we had to put it in too.

Black is such an open blank neutral that can mean a variety of things when combined with other colours.

But in isolation, black is bold, speaks strength, a shade of mysteriousness and a calm level of assurance.

Black is always combined with other colours ( the most common combination being white), brands like Uber and Apple have adopted this combination, thriving on the perception of sophistication.


Red

The life of the party, you think of red and you think of that burst of life.

Red is a bold colour, and in branding your favourite companies go with it to sell their bold products and really catch your eye (of course, Coca Cola comes to mind)


Blue

The ever-calming blue, just like the sky, blue is arguably the most popular colour in the world.

A lot of people hold the same impressions of this colour, no wonder your top tech companies go with it.

Going with the blue colour for your brand can signal professionalism, loyalty and trust.

However, this means that a lot of your competitors may also adopt this color, and it can be difficult standing out.

A way out is you can combine it effectively with other colours to create something interesting and unique, just like Pepsi did.


Yellow

When you think of brands featuring the colour yellow, McDonald's and Best Buy would most likely spring to mind, yellow is an easily noticeable colour, it is what the majority of food companies use.

Yellow evokes feelings of friendship and warmth, but sometimes it might be misconstrued as too flashy if used in the wrong way.

Now that you've found the right colour strategy for your logo, you'll probably want the perfect name to be the foundation of it. Don't worry, we never leave you hanging here at Brander, check out our Brand Name Creation Guide here.

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