Branding is All About Color

From a young age, we learn to associate emotion with specific colors.  As children, we are introduced to the color wheel and the relationships of colors when mixed.  In general, we are taught to feel that blue hues are cooler and calmer, while red and orange evoke warmer emotions. However, color preferences are rooted in our own personal experiences, exposures, and cultures, and therefore not universal and global to everyone.

In visual marketing, color can be one of the most powerful ways to influence audience reactions.  In North America, specific colors commonly evoke certain emotions, and many brands take advantage of these perceived categories to influence their target audiences.

Here are some of the most common color associations that brands use in North America:

  • Red: Love, Passion, Anger, Tension, Excitement
  • Orange: Energy, Happiness, Vitality, Creativity, Change, Endurance
  • Yellow: Happiness, Warmth, Hope, Wisdom
  • Green: Nature, Health, Growth, Envy, Inexperience
  • Blue: Confidant, Calm, Responsible, Reliable, Trustworthy. Fresh, Sad
  • Purple: Royal, Wealth, Power, Creativity
  • Pink: Femininity, Romantic, Childhood,  Love, Sensitivity, Tenderness, Sweetness
  • Brown: Nature, Wholesomeness, Dependability, Humility
  • Black: Elegance, Darkness, Evil, Fear, Mourning, Mystery
  • Gray: Conservative, Formal, Boring
  • White: Virtue, Purity, Clean, Peaceful, Calming
  • Cream or Ivory: Calm, Elegant, Purity
  • Tan or Beige: Conservative, Piety, Dull

Colors are very important when planning your Social Media Strategy

The most effective use of color can vary from network to network and industry to industry. A school may choose cool, confident colors that evoke feelings of success to increase engagement on social media. And then incorporate warmer colors to promote community events or programs. This informative infographic offers suggestions on How to Use Colors in Your Visual Social Media Strategy.

An article on Social Media Today notes that studies show that color:

  • Increases brand recognition by up to 80%
  • Improves readership by as much as 40%
  • Increases comprehension by 73%
  • Can be up to 85% of the reason people decide to buy

When creating and working with brands, visual designers also use context and tone of colors to evoke emotions. The context depends on where and how the color is placed. For example, a designer may create a social media image for a school which uses blue for its brand color, and then may use a complementary color to blue, as a way to make the school’s message pop while maintaining a balance of color that works well together.

People will often state blue means this and red means that – but what they don’t realize is that they tend to talk about the solid primary color and that there are an infinite number of shades and tints of each color. Grouping them all together against one base color does not do them justice as each tint has its own distinct feeling.

Color choice and color placement are complex skills and really does require the eye and expertise of a professional designer. If you’re looking for a designer who can convey your school’s brand, values and message in the most attractive, effective and successful way possible, contact the HigherEd Geeks at Effective Student Marketing today.

-Suki Soltysik