Color Theory: Using Colors that Make Sense for Your Company
Have you ever wondered why companies use the colors they do in their branding? Probably not. Color goes unnoticed for most people, consciously that is. Though not always fully aware, our brain is taking in the colors of every single thing you see in a day and makes decisions based on those colors. Color has a huge impact on how we see the world. It can evoke emotions, feelings, and urges just by seeing it. Companies take advantage of how our brain sees color all of the time by using colors that incite the feelings they want to portray. That being said, color is so incredibly important when designing logos, advertisements, and websites. No color is ever bad to use, it just needs to be used correctly.
The Trustworthy friend
Blue is the most used color in branding. Why? It is proven to be the most calming, reliable, and trustworthy color of the rainbow. For most companies, these emotions are important in gaining new clientele. Blue is often used in communication, technology, and insurance companies to evoke feelings of honesty and transparency. Values that humans want when investing in those things. The color blue is also the easiest on the eyes and it's attractive to look at. Given this information, blue is the safest color to go with branding a company, but definitely not the only one to go with.
The Attention Grabber
Now red is the opposite of safe. It can easily go wrong when used incorrectly but can pay off immensely when done right. Red demands attention and energy. On a daily basis, red suggests being attentive such as a stoplight or hospital sign. Demanding attention is not a bad thing when trying to stand out in a sea of companies. Having on red lipstick or nails is considered bold and for some companies, the bolder the better. Netflix, Coca-cola, Tesla, CNN, and Target are giants in the business realm and they have all made red part of their branding. Red also naturally incites feelings of hunger. That is why many restaurants take advantage of the psychology of red when deciding on their branding such as Chick-fil-a, Red Robin, KFC, Outback, and Wendy's. The list is nearly endless with restaurants that have made red their main color. Red can be great depending on what the company is trying to project.
The Finicky One
The color yellow is tricky to work with as part of a company's branding. Rarely is yellow used exclusively in branding and advertising. It's usually paired with another color. Naturally, yellow is harsh to the eye and needs another color to balance it out. Yellow can be a cheerful, happy color that is often associated with a sunny day. Pairing yellow with certain colors give it a different feel. For example, black and yellow should be used sparingly together because of their high contrast but that doesn't mean the pairing doesn't have a place. Black and yellow is often associated with caution such as caution sign or a bumblebee. That is why construction or hardware companies often use this combination. It can be tricky to successfully use yellow but McDonald’s, Cheerios, and Stanley Tools have figured it out.
The Tree Hugger
The last main color to touch on would be green. Second to blue, it is also one of the most calming colors visually for a company to use. It evokes feelings of trust and relaxation and thoughts of nature or wealth. Many nature or environmentally friendly companies use green as their main color because they know people think of green when thinking of outside. Anytime a company wants to appear fresh, green is a perfect color to incorporate. The color green can also suggest new growth or unchanging. A company can take advantage of the attributes that green suggests and come off as innovative and stable. Both are attributes that anyone would want to invest in. Many non-profit organizations use green in their overall branding to seem friendly, generous, and trustworthy. It's not hard to see why Animal Planet, Whole Foods, Tropicana, and Starbucks utilize the color green.
The Weight of the World
Choosing a color seems like an easy thing to do, but it carries so much weight behind it for a company's brand. It would make sense for a bank to use blue or green in their branding due to the trustworthiness that they give off. It wouldn't make a lot of sense for a restaurant to use blue in their branding because blue food is not common to eat. While using black and yellow for a construction company works, it is too intense for a therapy center. No color is taboo but there are ways to better utilize color in a way that makes sense for your company.