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How to choose brand colors for your startup

The colors you choose for your brand convey all kinds of information. It’s not blatant or outspoken. It’s subtle. But, colors speak every bit as much as words on a page or digital screen. They give off a feeling, and when someone sees them, an initial impression is formed. There’s an emotional impact.

How do you want those who buy from you to feel? Choosing the right colors is essential in helping your target audience form the impression of you that you want them to have. You must therefore incorporate those colors into your branding materials. Everything from your website design to the colors of your offices, to your logo. It all matters because your company needs a unique, recognizable, unified look and feel.

Branding Ideas Design Identity Marketing Concept
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How your customers respond to color

People respond to the use of color in a variety of ways. However, research shows that up to 90% of a product’s evaluation is based on its colors alone. Obviously, colors have a huge impact on how people perceive a brand and how they behave in relation to it. That means there is an opportunity for you to take advantage of color when it comes to marketing your brand.

How well-known brands use color

If you thought that well-known brands choose their colors by accident, you would be mistaken. Brands you see in the media every single day, such as Coca-Cola, Apple, Google, and more have colors that play a huge role in their color identity. They each have a brand-color palette that is purposeful.

For example, Coke’s choice to use red on almost everything came about because they wanted to make sure that their barrels were distinguishable from alcohol during transport. We’re pretty sure nobody would have guessed that! However, Coke was smart. The brand also knew that the color red is associated with impulse buying. How often have you been at the checkout in a convenience store when the red on a Coke bottle caught your eye, and you suddenly felt thirsty?

It’s happened to us for sure! Coke knew what it was doing, and you should, too. That’s why researching a brand-identity color palette is so important. You need to choose colors that can move your customers in the emotional direction you want them to.

Understand the meaning of colors

Now, there is a mountain of research out there that goes super in-depth when it comes to the meaning people assign to various colors. In fact, there’s so much information out there that we’d need to put together a lot more articles than this to cover it.

However, to give you a quick overview here’s a brief breakdown:

  • Black is both elegant and sophisticated. It’s a color that signifies formality and luxury. However, be careful because people can also see it as mournful.
  • Brown denotes honesty and being down-to-earth. It’s also used by many companies in connection with organic products.
  • White is traditionally a sign of purity. It conveys innocence and simplicity. If you want to go for a minimalist feel, white is a good choice.
  • Purple has always been associated with royalty and majesty. Some also see it as a bit mysterious and perhaps spiritual.
  • Blue implies trustworthiness and reliability. It is also considered a calming color. For this reason, you’ll frequently see shades of blue used in places like hospitals.
  • Green is the color of nature. Many companies use the color to suggest that their practices are sustainable. However, it can also signify high status and wealth.
  • Yellow is the color of optimism. Many people associate the color with sunshine, health, and happiness.
  • Orange is associated with adventure, freshness, life, and vitality.
  • Pink is considered feminine. It can be romantic and sentimental. It can also be seen as denoting youth and vigor.
  • Red is associated with love and passion. However, it’s also linked with excitement, energy, and even danger.

Naturally, there are many different shades of each of the colors listed above. Each shade and hue can subtly change the emotional message you intend to send.

How to choose brand colors

Now it’s time to consider which colors mirror your business values and methods. First, know what your company’s values are and what your brand stands for. Then, consider what you want your target audience to feel about you.

For example, do you want your target audience to feel more intelligent, positive, or confident? What do you want for your customers? Do you want them to be more informed, happy, or wealthy?

What kind of personality does your brand have? Do you want to be seen as inspirational? Fun? Uber-serious? When you understand what you want and what colors mean, you can choose brand colors that fit the image you wish to portray.

A Team Working On Brand Colors
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Where your brand colors should appear

After doing all of your research, and you’ve chosen the colors you want for your brand, you need to incorporate them into all your marketing materials and touchpoints. With that said, here are some of the primary places your colors need to show up:

  • Events
  • Staff uniforms
  • In-store
  • Stationery
  • Social media
  • Website and emails
  • Logo
  • Advertising

Before you commit to any brand colors, you should test them out in small venues and be sure to get customer feedback!

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Will Blesch
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Blesch is a copywriter, content writer, and someone passionate about anything that lets him discover more about this…
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