Your brand colours are flippin’ important.
Think about it, have you ever wondered why the brand colours Gucci, Chanel and Paco Rabanne use are black with a bit of white, gold or silver?
It’s not random.
It’s because these colours, psychological, are linked to expensive and deluxe products. And, believe it or not, studies show between 85% – 90% of consumers buy products based on colour alone.
But whether colour really has a massive part to play in swaying a customer to buy is, arguably, debatable.
Because colours mean different things to different people.
For example, being laughed at in school for wearing yellow trousers on ‘Dress Down Day’ as a child isn’t going to bring back happy memories. In instances like this, you’ll associate yellow with a pretty shitty stage of your life, making it unlikely the colour alone will sway you to buy from a business who uses this colour predominantly (like Indelible Think – whoops!).
Whatever the reason, colour or not, try not to think about this post as picking a colour which will sway a customer to buy. Instead, think about what colour attributes suit your brand and the personality you want your customers to see.
Even if colour psychology is, arguably, a load of bollocks.
Picking your brand colours.
When you choose your brand colours, you need to do more than stick a pin in a colour chart, decide you didn’t mean to put it in the one it lands in, before doing it over and over again until you land on your favourite colour.
The colours you pick need to:
- Align with your values
- Suit your business brand
- Make you stand out
- Complement your physical products (if you have any)
- Appeal to your customers
Which is why I’ve listed a load of different colours, who uses them and the characteristics associated with each:
Photo by Nikolai Chernichenko
Who uses red: Coca-Cola, Netflix, McDonald’s, KFC, Kelloggs, LEGO, Red Bull, ESPN
Attributes: Power, action, ambition, confidence, energy, youthfulness, urgency, stimulates appetite.
Red is a real statement colour.
It’s why people drive red Ferrari’s and not lime green ones. It exudes power, ambition and confidence. But it’s also a colour associated with stimulating our appetites for things we want to binge, think Netflix, Maccie D’s and KFC, all of which are aimed at youthful audiences.
Red is often paired with white, yellow or gold to make it feel like a luxury.
And you can argue how is a thin McDonald’s burger with its tiny buns and manky lettuce a luxury?
Well, it’s a treat, a little luxury when you don’t have to cook when you get home from work.
Photo by DPReview.com
Who uses yellow: Nikon, DHL, Ferrari, SHELL, CAT, Indelible Think
Attributes: Clarity, warmth, speed, enthusiasm, positivity, fun, adventurous, attentive, logical, energetic
You can really see why brands like Nikon chose yellow. All of the above encapsulates the use and flexibility of a digital camera perfectly.
But do you know who else uses yellow?
Yep – Indelible Think!
I chose yellow because copywriting is about being clear and precise. We have to write words which help your customers understand:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why they should buy from you
As fast as possible.
It’s why writers don’t do mind-boggling, long-winded jargon.
I’m also fun to work with (I am, honest!), enthusiastic, positive and extremely attentive in getting the right words on the page for my clients.
Yellow sums up my business values to a tee.
Oh, and it’s also the first colour that catches the eye in a group of colours.
That’s science, baby!
Photo by Morning Brew
Who uses orange: Etsy, Amazon, Fanta, Firefox, Nickelodeon, easyJet
Attributes: Impulsive, approachable, instinctive, extrovert, friendly, motivated, optimism
Orange is ideal for Etsy, not only for the sellers who show off their extrovert skills to create some pretty awesome stuff, but the attributes are ideal for an e-commerce website.
You want people to buy on impulse, but to do that, you need to be friendly and approachable too.
It’s why Amazon uses orange, y’ see?
Brands who use orange tend to push the boat out to show how open and optimistic they are (Stellios from easyJet back in the day, anyone?) and whatever they’re selling is usually dead easy to buy, use and great value for money.
Photo by Morning Brew
Who uses blue: Pepsi, Zoom, Skype, Dell, Nivea, HP, Card Factory, Tesco
Attributes: Trust, honesty, dependability, strength, calmness, stability
Want brand colours that’ll appeal to customers of all ages and genders?
Blue is the colour.
Trustworthy, stable, dependable – traits shared by brands like Pepsi, Zoom, Tesco, Dell, HP, Nivea, etc.
They’re great traits for any business to have, and that the colour appeals to the whole consumer spectrum, well, you’re not going to miss the mark with many.
That’s the reason why blue is the most popular packaging colour on the planet.
Photo by Barbie
Who uses pink: Cosmopolitan, Barbie, Hello Kitty, BBC Three, Victoria’s Secret, Breast Cancer Awareness
Attributes: Love, respect, warmth, intuition, assertiveness, femininity
Pink brands, let’s be honest, are used widely by many female-targeted brands. Yep, even in today’s society, where we tell our children they can like whatever colour they want, pink represents feminitity.
And that’s cool.
Brands like Barbie and Hello Kitty are aimed at girls and Cosmopolitan and Victoria’s Secret, at women.
Pink tells consumers your brand is warm, loving and respectful but also that you’re assertive and intuitive, traits which are fantastic in any person or business.
Photo by HiPWallpaper
Who uses green: Body Shop, Tropicana, Holiday Inn, Starbucks, Android, Spotify, Carlsberg
Attributes: Eco-friendly, Harmony, restoration, rebirth, nature, growth, security, health, peace, sanctuary
Green is used by many eco-friendly brands, as well as by those hoping to sell you something where they want you to feel relaxed.
Eco-friendly, harmony, health, nature: Bodyshop, Tropicana
Relaxed, peaceful and a place of sanctuary: Starbucks, Holiday Inn, Carlsberg, Android, Spotify.
If you sell natural soap with no antioxidants, using green in your branding is almost a dead cert!
Photo by Nespresso
Who uses brown: UPS, Lee, Kettle Chips, Graze, Nespresso, M&Ms, Snickers
Attributes: Stability, reliability, honesty, comfort, supportive, rustic, earthy, grounded
Brown is a very earthy colour, which is why it’s popular for products like Kettle Chips, Graze and Nespresso, as it taps into their products coming from nature.
For Lee, it’s about comfort and reliability (and support to show off that great arse of yours in their jeans), while UPS need to come across as stable, reliable, honest and grounded.
And M&Ms and Snickers?
Probably because it’s chocolate if I’m honest.
Photo by Mondalēz International
Who uses purple: Cadbury, Milka, Hallmark, Yahoo, Syfy, Aussie
Attributes: Luxury, indulgence, spirituality, elegance, calming, stylish, creative, fantasy
Purple is a luxury colour, and you’ll tend to find brands who use purple like to add a splash of white, silver or gold.
Again, it works for chocolate brands like Cadbury and Milka as chocolate is an indulgence.
Hallmark also use purple, and you won’t pick up one of their cards for 29p in Card Factory.
No, you’ll pay between a dizzying £1.50 to £3.50.
Because they’re a luxury card brand.
Personally, your standard 99p Card Factory one is fine.
I wouldn’t touch Clinton’s, have you seen the prices in there?
Oh, and purple is a Royal colour, and you don’t get higher-brow than that.
Photo by Laura Chouette
Who uses black: Chanel, Gucci, D&G, Prada, Paco Rabanne, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, BBC
Attributes: Sophistication, boutique, luxury, accuracy, strength, authority
Do you sell luxury, boutique products?
Then black with touches of white, grey, gold or silver will make sure your brand is, well, bang on brand.
As you’ll see from the majority of the brands mentioned above, they’re mostly about class, sophistication and exclusivity.
Yep, even the BBC.
Think about it. The Beeb is seen as a staple of Britain, priding itself on its sophistication, accuracy or authority.
Think that’s nonesense?
Well, when announcements are made simultaneously on BBC and ITV, it’s the Beeb with the highest viewer share.
Because people see the BBC as being more accurate, even if it’s not.
Photo by Aleksander Vlad
Who uses it: Apple, Dove, Dior
Attributes: Sincerity, simplicity, sophistication, cleanliness, soothing, purity
White is sincere and simple.
It represents something you can take straight out of the box and use almost straight away, without complication.
It’s why Apple products, whether it’s an iPhone, iPad or iPhone, are packaged in white.
White is also about cleanliness, ideal for soap brands, like Dove.
Work in the wedding industry?
Like a wedding dress, it’s likely your logo and colour scheme will have lots of white in it.
Are you ready to show your true colours?
Or have you realised you’ve already chosen your brand colours perfectly?
Either way, hopefully, this article will give you some food for thought.
If an eye-watering mix of lime green, red and turquoise works for you – nice one!
If not, then maybe it’s worth considering a change to something that matches who you are, what you do and how you want to be perceived.
Until next time,
PS. But Matt, what about multi-coloured branding colours, like eBay and Google. Multi-coloured means easy-going, creative, playful, inclusive and diverse. You thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you?
PPS. Grey? … oh, FFS!
PPPS. Happy with your brand colours but feel your website needs more traffic? Then check out my article, How to Optimise Your Website for SEO.