Color – An Essential Element in Any Design

As a graphic and web designer the use of color is one of my most important and powerful tools. Life is color and it’s important to understand what a significant role it plays in how people view you, your company and your products.

The following is an excellent blog by Allison Freeland, PR Director at iAcquire, that really describes the impact color has on our decision making process and how to use it as a tool to help define your brand. I couldn’t agree with her more and highly recommend reading what she has clearly and succinctly described.

Color and Branding: How to Use the Psychology of Color to Hook Customers

No branding tool is more effective than color. In fact, 93 percent of shoppers make purchase decisions based on color and appearance. Color preferences are tied to personal preference, cultural upbringing, and context, and also have deep psychological ties. Research reveals individuals make a subconscious judgement about a product, place, or thing within 90 seconds of viewing it, and between 62 to 90 percent of that perception is based on color alone. So, you can see how color plays a part in driving revenues or serving your organization’s end goal. Color also improves willingness to read, attention, retention, and recall: all activities we want our customers to engage in.

Start With What Objectives You Want to Achieve

As you look at your brand, look what it represents and choose colors that send the message you want to convey and the objectives you want to achieve.

Map Brand Personality With Color

Then, map your brand personality with color emotion guides. Align your brand personality with the right color “emotion.”

  • Red: Love, passion, immediacy, sale,
  • Orange: Happiness, youthfulness, thirst
  • Yellow: Energy, optimism, cheer
  • Green: Soothing, eco-friendly, balance, restfulness, healing
  • Blue: Trust, calm, powerful, tranquility
  • Purple: Luxury, creativity, royal
  • White: Innocence, purity, cleanness
  • Black: Dramatic, class, bold, professional, authority
  • Brown: Conservation, longevity, natural

Colors Need to Be a Contextual Fit

Colors are most powerful when we believe that the brand’s color “fits” the industry they are in, according to a study called “The Interactive Effects of Color“. Your brand colors need to speak to your customers and have to be understood in a wider context if the industry you are in. For example, if you are a financial company and you use the colors yellow and orange (signifying youth and vibrance versus trust and authority)… It isn’t the best fit and customers might be off put by your color choice and choose not to trust you.

Where to Start

Choose one to two primary colors based on the emotions you want to evoke with your end consumers. From there, create a style guide to serve as a bible for your design and branding. Aaron Alexander of says: “Choosing the right color sets the tone for your business online. Make it simple, be mindful of the goals you want to achieve, and map the color to your core audience’ psychographics.”

Integrate Color Into All Branded Content

A unified brand presents a professional front. Throughout every piece of marketing material your brand produces, make sure it has consistent branding. Make sure the following aspects are universally consistent:

  • Logo
  • Website: webpages, blog, product pages, call-to-action buttons, landing pages, social media
  • Offline promotions: Mailers, magazines, brochures, conference takeaways, swag, signage
  • Multimedia: Video front- and end-cards, branded images, infographics

Still need more guidance? Take a look at this infographic created by Marketo and Column5.


True Colors: What Your Brand Colors Say About Your Business by Marketo