Color and Your Brand

Color and Your Brand

color and your brandUsing color to form an emotional association with your brand

What can profusion of color tell us about our relationships with brands? We form all kinds of emotional associations with color, and research has shown that the use of color can “increase or decrease appetite, enhance mood, calm down customers,” and even affect how long people think they’ve been waiting for a service.

Some brands hang their hat on color. ING Direct changed its name to Tangerine when it was acquired last fall and embraced verbally what had previously only been a visual part of the brand experience—the ING logo. The French telecom giant Orange built its brand around the color. This may be limiting (you’re unlikely to see a blue logo unveiled anytime soon), but if it’s done right and with commitment such an investment might be worth it.

In general, we advise our clients to:

  • Work with a great designer—someone who understands color associations and how (and when) to make use of them.
  • Avoid bringing color in too soon in the process. You want to use it to build on a solid visual expression, not the other way around.
  • Look at color in the context of your competitive landscape. Coca-Cola, for instance, “owns” red in the soft drink world. But in social media, both Twitter and Facebook comfortably coexist with blue color palettes. Perhaps in a monochromatic industry you can be the break out.

Bold or reassuring?
Like everything related to your brand, using color successfully requires both thoughtful strategy and bold risk-taking. While there are definite trends that show, broadly, how color can affect our choices, the research also tells us that humans’ relationships with color are far too personal to be predictable.

Is color a tool that you use to build your brand boldly, or is it just in the background? As the brand strategist who wishes she’d gone with Lotus Pod, I’d advise you to take the big risks. Just do so thoughtfully, and take your time to ensure you’re comfortable with the color you’re committing to.

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