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The Psychology of Colour and How It Affects Your Brand

September 1st, 2014

September is here which means the start of another academic/working year. Your memories of ice creams, beach days and lying in the glorious sun are fading fast as you get back into the swing of work. With the leaves on trees starting to turn colours such as brown, red and yellow enter the landscape around us but here’s some food for thought; how does colour affect your brand?



What are you thinking? Stop? Danger?  Love? Energy? All of the above?  The days of picking a colour just because it’s your favourite are over. Why? Here’s another one…



Royalty? Mystery?  Magic? Nobility? All humans associate colour with meaning. Let’s take a look at some popular brands and how they make this work for them:


Hilton Hotels


Hilton Logo
The colour blue is associated with relaxation, cleanliness, peacefulness and a calm atmosphere. The colour white is pure, innocent and simple. The Hilton Hotels logo is blue and white. On Hilton Hotel’s website they say they are the ‘most recognised name in the industry […who] stand as the stylish, forward-thinking, global leader of hospitality.’ The top thing that a customer wants from their hotel is cleanliness. As a ‘global leader of hospitality’ the colour blue promotes the chain’s cleanliness and peacefulness.



Selfridges Logo

The colour yellow is associated with happiness, positivity and trust. The colour black is classic, bold and formal. What are the colours of the Selfridges & Co logo? Every word that springs to mind when thinking of each colour are words that the brand wants to be associated with. Selfridges state that they, ‘make sure their customers can trust their environmental and ethical standards’ and ‘want to make a positive difference to the communities in which they trade.’ From this we can see that Selfridges not only want to make an impression on their customers, but who they work with as well.



Etsy Logo

The colour orange is associated with affordability, creativity, youth and high-spirit. Etsy’s slogan is ‘The world’s most vibrant handmade marketplace’. Orange is a colour of creativity, a trait that is a must in the handmade industry. Etsy also promote affordability and lean towards a younger target market. The white colour is again simple and pure, a service that Etsy promise to provide for their customers.



Cadbury Logo


From a very young age Cadbury is a recognised brand that has always felt truly British. When we think of Cadbury we think of Dairy Milk, Freddo Frogs, Wispa, Twirl and Crunchie. All in all, it is chocolate that is luxurious and smooth, words that the colour purple is associated with.



Netflix Logo

As mentioned earlier, the colour red can be associated with danger, love and energy. But within different industries, red (along with every other colour) is associated with terms that are specific to that industry. For example, within the food industry the colour red is associated with spicy dishes. Netflix is a television/film streaming service, therefore the colour red means action, adventure, romance and horror to their target market. Through the colour red, Netflix are telling their target market that they appeal to all tastes.

The first step in the colour choosing process is to think of your target audience and then the rest falls into place. If you know what your target market is looking for and you know what vibe every colour on the spectrum gives off then all you need to do is match them up.

One colour equals twenty words. Do you have ideas already?

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