A Guide to Choosing Colors for Your Brandby Dmitry
One of the key elements of building a strong brand is color selection. Every color has a different feel and various associations. By choosing a color or a combination of colors for your brand identity, you will take on those associations. Colors will evoke certain emotions and feelings towards your brand so it is vital to choose a color that will represent your identity effectively.
Research reveals people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on color alone.
Why Color Matters
If you own a color in your industry, this color will symbolize your product. This can act as a great identifier. For example, if you sell physical goods, your packaging will stand out from the competition. The color will also be recognizable on any promotional media and your logos.
Where to start?
There is a great new tool which can help out with color selection called Cymbolism. It’s an interactive survey of color and word associations. Every page loads a new word, for which you have to select a color you feel best represents it. The results are then aggregated and you can see most popular associations either by color or by word.
To help you select the right color for your brand I’ve aggregated the results from Cymbolism, and also provided examples of logos that use each color: (Click on chart for full view )
These aren’t the top ten words that represent each color, these are just the words that happened to have been entered and processed by Cymbolism and came out on top. Having said this, the sample size is quite large and the selection should give you a decent indication of what a color stands for.
I’ve also included some multi-colored examples at the end. Some brands choose not to associate themselves with one color. Instead of two or three colors, they choose four or more. This represents variety. This makes sense for brands that are platforms or marketplaces as they host vast amount of different applications or goods.
There are also two more colors that haven’t made it on the list: black and white. These are arguably not even colors, and they will go well with pretty much everything you choose. White you probably shouldn’t use because you won’t be able to print the logo on white paper unless the white is used on a darker background. Black is a good complementary color to use and a lot of brands choose to have the text set in black because it is neutral and serious.
How to select your color
Look through the table above for a quick overview of what each color stands for. Some questions to ask yourself:
What color do you like?
What color represents your brand’s personality?
What color suits the characteristics of your product/service?
Color’s aren’t tied to any particular industry — though some may be better suited for some services/products than others. You should aim to pick a color that will represent your brand’s personality best. One that will give your customers the right impression the first time they see it.
You aren’t limited to one color. Some brands like eBay choose to go with many colors to represent variety — but you can also choose a couple of colors that work well together.
Consider differences in cultural interpretations of your color. For example in the Western world, white is considered the color of purity and peace, however, in some parts of Asia white is the color of death. Make sure the color you select will give the right impressions in the markets you’re present in.
At the end of the day, the color you choose should be something you like, not just something you worked out through a formula. The brand colors tell others something about your company, but it is also something you should get behind and enjoy. If you don’t like the colors in your logo, then you won’t very happy seeing it every day on your stationery, your website and your product packaging. Select something that represents your company, but at the same time something that you like as well.
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