A Guide to Color Psychology and Branding

Whether it be consciously or otherwise, color plays a major part in our lives. It affects how we feel, how we communicate and even how we heal.

Color is far more than just a visual experience.  Color can affect your wants, emotions, reactions and change the way you think. It can excite or soothe your mood, raise or lower your blood pressure, and even whet your appetite!

Color Psychology

So, it stands to reason that color psychology should play a significant role in choosing the color palette to brand your business. It’s a powerful tool if you know how to use it effectively. As such, knowing the personality and psychological values of different colors and how they can affect your clients is vital!

Picking a Color Palette

This guide will help you select a color palette for your business. Picking a color scheme is a lot harder than it seems! Your colors need to work in harmony with the core values and personality you want your business to project.

This post includes a brief description of the color psychology associated with each of the main colors and some of the values and emotions attached to them. It also identifies which colors work well with certain industries.

Color Psychology and Branding – The Process

Review your business’s purpose, mission, vision (key business statements) and core values (guiding principles). Your core values should underlie the writing of these key business statements and are important when deciding which colors will best represent your brand and your business.

The slideshow above steps you through the color psychology for different colors. Look at the values and emotions associated with each color to see which color most closely aligns with the guiding principles that underpin your business. This color should lead the color palette for your business. This process makes it a lot easier to choose the dominant color  by considering the core values on which your business is based.

Pro Tip
Bear in mind, your color choices are not necessarily about what you like but what suits your business activities and attracts your clients.

Now that you have your main color, you need to put together a harmonious color palette that works well with that color.

There is a general trend away from using too many colors in your palette. You will need at least one or two colors that suit your business. For example, you could use a single color as an accent in a neutral palette, two totally different colors, or two tones of the same color. 

You will also need a couple of neutrals such as black, white and grey. Black and white, and their tones, are achromatic colors (colors without hue). They can be quite stark, so you can achieve a softer look by using charcoal, beige or cream, etc. It is possible to have a minimalist palette made up of all neutral colors.

Two great websites that can help you find harmonious color combinations are Canva Color Palettes and Coolers Color Palettes. These websites have hundreds of color palettes already created for you. I have no affiliate links with either of these companies – I just really like using them! I have used both sites and have not run out of choices yet! Browse them and select a color palette that “speaks” to you. Use your main color as a search criterion.

Jot down your color choices, including any neutral colors. Make sure you include the hex codes so that you know the exact color and tone you want. Canva or Coolers will provide these for you. If you get stuck, a Google search will often help you if you only have the color name!

What is a Hex Code?

In digital design, colors are referenced by a hex code. A hex code is a shorthand for writing a hexadecimal number. Each hex code defines a unique color and its tone. It’s safer to use than using a color’s name, which can vary in different color systems!

Using a hex code gives you an exact representation of a color. In writing, it starts with the # sign followed by a combination of six letters (a – f) and/or numbers (0 – 9), e.g., black is #000000, blue is #0000ff and white is #ffffff.

Testing your Color Palette

Once you find the color combination you’re really happy with, you will have a color palette that aligns with the guiding principles of your business! While you might tweak your color palette, it pays to commit to your choices as soon as possible. Changes can end up “muddying the waters” by having different colors and tones throughout your brand!

Happy Creating!

P.S. If you want a more structured approach to putting together your Brand Identity, check out my Branding Your Small Business Workbook, with its bonus Tone of Voice and Communication Toolkit. You have already completed one of the steps here!

Pro Tip
Test your colors out on some social media posts and seek feedback on your chosen color palette.
I would love to hear any feedback or questions you have about this post, so please leave a comment below. Thank you!
Happy Creating!

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Anne's Art & Design Space - Anne Tucker

Hi, I’m Anne,

I am a self-taught graphic designer working in Canva and a self-taught artist.

After a long career in the corporate world, including 20 years as a CEO and 7 years as a Board Member, I decided I needed a little more out of life and “retired” to start my own business.

I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. I had no plan! I just knew that I did not want to continue doing what I’d been doing. Sound familiar?

Never one to do things by halves, I did a huge amount of research into starting an online business and deciding on possible niches. Believe me, that niche changed a few times! Let’s not forget learning all about social media, Pinterest, SEO, marketing and more.

I have learnt a lot of valuable lessons along the way. Starting your own business is hard with so much to do and learn. Budgets are tight and you can’t always afford to bring in a ton of experts to do stuff for you.

Let me help you to kickstart your business so you can concentrate on your zone of genius. I can help you with brand identity and a wide variety of business and social media templates, customization and other support to get you up and running.

Happy Creating!

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