Your brand’s use of color can make or break your business. Research shows that the proper use of colors in marketing campaigns increases brand recognition by a whopping 80%. To help you bring your A-game into your marketing campaigns, we’ll discuss how to choose the right color palette for your branding and marketing materials.
Understanding the importance of brand identity
Brand identity is a company’s use of visual elements to distinguish its brand from others. While there are multiple elements that determine your brand identity, such as logo, typography, layout, and overall design aesthetic, there’s no denying that color selection is the most important factor to consider.
It has long been established in the field of Psychology that colors inherently invoke emotions that can directly influence a company’s revenue generation. Strategic use of colors can bring out excitement, enthusiasm, and a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) among your target customers. On the other hand, a faulty selection of colors can reduce your chances of fostering brand recall, thus losing the opportunity to create a solid customer base.
Sure enough, all visually appealing assets can help companies sell products. However, only those with a strong brand identity can sell a lifestyle that will push consumers to support a brand throughout its lifetime. And these can all start with strategically selecting your company’s color palette.
To learn more about brand identity, read our article How Professional Graphic Design Enhances Brand Identity for Companies
Understanding the power of color in branding and marketing
To further understand how color can influence your branding and marketing campaigns, let’s explore the emotions often associated with different colors:
- Black – authority, power, strength, intelligence, class
- White – purity, innocence, neutrality, cleanliness
- Red – love, romance, passion, energy, enthusiasm
- Yellow – joy, optimism, warmth
- Blue – serenity, wisdom, peace
- Orange – energy, wealth, change
- Green – wealth, health, unity
- Violet – royalty, spirituality, mystery
While these color associations aren’t set in stone, leading brands have verified that it wouldn’t hurt to consider these color associations when selecting your color palette. For instance, as we all know, the popular energy drink Gatorade has orange as its main color. On the other hand, Whole Foods and Healthy Options, two leading health food stores, primarily use green palettes.
The color selection of leading food and beverage brand.
Doing audience research
Audience research is imperative when identifying your color palette. After all, the ultimate goal of creating a color palette is to create marketing campaigns that will foster a strong connection with your audience.
Gender is one of the factors you should consider when doing audience research for color palettes. Research suggests that girls resonate more with pink, purple, and red, while boys are more receptive to iterations of black, blue, brown, green, and white. If you have a gendered product, this may be easy. However, finding a color palette that can accommodate both is possible.
For instance, Asana uses pink, blue, and purple in their palette and white in their app UI. This helps the brand resonate with all digital marketers, regardless of their gender.
Asana color palette.
You should also consider the age of your target audience when identifying your color palette. Researches suggest that the lens of the eye gradually yellows with age. This phenomenon makes it more difficult to absorb the differences between blue, green, and violet. Colors may seem duller, and contrasts between colors become less noticeable. For this reason, the younger your market is, the more you can play with color. On the other hand, if you’re targeting the Silent Generation or Baby Boomers, it’s best to go with more neutral colors.
To learn more about visual content marketing, read our article The Impact of Visual Content in Marketing: A Guide for Businesses
Factors to consider when choosing your color palette
The psychological factor carried by each color is only one factor to consider when creating a color palette. Your use of the color palette can still influence the effectiveness of your color branding.
To help you boost your branding and marketing campaigns, here are some of the best practices when creating a color palette for your business:
Think about warm and cool tones.
People who think that colors are easy probably haven’t heard about color undertones. The warmth and coldness of colors can actually create significant differences in the impact of colors.
Let’s take two of the most common colors used in branding–red and green. Warm red invokes the feeling of youthfulness and fun. On the other hand, cool red represents luxury and class. Incorrect selection of red undertones can significantly affect your audience’s reception of your brand.
Understanding red undertones. | Source: Style Yourself Confident
The same goes for green. Warm green is mostly associated with springtime and revival. On the other hand, cool green is mostly used during Christmas and is often used to symbolize tranquility.
Understanding green undertones. | Source: Image Confidence
Selection of primary and secondary brand colors
Most businesses have both primary and secondary colors. The primary color is mostly used to represent the overall aesthetic and personality of the brand, while the secondary color is used to accentuate and complement the primary brand color.
Using various shades of black or white is the go-to strategy of most companies. However, if you really want to spice things up, it’s best to choose a secondary color that visually contrasts your primary color. For instance, Amazon’s primary color is dark gray, and its secondary color is orange. They use various shades of the two colors in their marketing campaign, creating a contrast that accentuates their content.
Sample of Amazon advertisement. | Source: Pinterest
Identify your brand personality.
As mentioned a while ago, color evokes emotions. Because of this, your color palette should represent your brand personality. For example, if you want to convey a fun and enthusiastic personality, it’s best to use the color red. When invoking a sense of luxury and intelligence, using black as your primary color is the best option.
Coca-Cola is just all-out red. This simple yet effective decision greatly conveys their target personality, as they want to convey that good becomes fun and enjoyable with Coca-Cola.
Sample of a Coca-Cola advertisement. Source: Ads World
Think about harmony and unity.
When creating a color palette, ensure that you have colors that will harmonize and unify the colors within your marketing campaigns. This way, your ads won’t look like they’re all over the place.
Slack has one of the most exciting color palettes, as it pretty much has five major colors on its palette. Despite this, the company manages to create visually appealing ads by strategically using muted colors like white.
Sample of a Slack advertisement. | Source: Business Insider
Consider color accessibility and usability.
When creating a color palette, remember that you will use it across your marketing campaigns. This includes your website, social media campaigns, emails, and more. For this reason, remember to choose colors that will reflect excellently on all your marketing channels.
A great example is Shopify. Since it’s a digital solution, its marketing campaigns can be found on almost all social media networking sites. The brand strategically chose a simple color palette that can be used across numerous formats.
To learn more about social media marketing, read our article Designing Engaging Social Media Graphics for Marketing Success
Shopify brand palette.
We know that this is easier said and done. This is why Seter Graphic Labs incorporates color palette selection services in our graphic design offers. We’ll ensure that your brand will have an enticing, attention-grabbing, and memorable color palette that we can use in all your creative assets. To learn more about our services, click here.
Monitor and adapt over time.
Most importantly, remember that your color branding isn’t fixed. You can spice things up based on your audience’s reception or the innovations introduced in the marketing industry.
For instance, Visa used to sport a color palette of light blue and orange. These tend to be softer to the eyes and are more cost-effective for printed advertisements. Now, it has a much more bright blue and yellow color palette to accommodate digital marketing formats better.
The evolution of Visa logo and brand colors.
With a very competitive market today, businesses should be aware that all branding and marketing decisions can significantly affect their revenue generation. The right color palette can help you resonate with your audience better, create more attractive advertisements, generate higher conversion rates, and establish a brand identity that will give you a steady customer base.
Colors may be just a morsel among all the marketing strategies your company is currently planning, but note that it’s something you will carry in all your marketing campaigns.