Color has a powerful psychological impact on everyone. Some colors initiate a mood, such as red eliciting excitement. Other colors may have deep personal meaning to each individual. You must first know your audience and how they are most likely to respond to different hues.
According to Very Well Mind, the idea of color psychology traces back to 1666 roots, when Sir Isaac Newton learned how white light passes through a prism and creates colors. He then learned certain colors combine to create additional colors. Since color is all around us, it affects everything we do.
Color impacts your brand in multiple ways. Color choice impacts your brand image, how customers respond to your marketing and can even help you stand out from the competition. Here are some ways to effectively use color to grow name recognition.
1. Use a Consistent Color Palette
One key to upping your brand recognition is placing the same look and message in front of your audience repeatedly. Come up with a brand color palette and add the exact hues to your brand guidelines.
If someone creates an ad, they should use those colors. Your web designer should know the exact HEX codes to use. Product packaging design should incorporate the same hues. Consistently present the same colors to grab the attention of consumers and keep it.
2. Look Current
It’s important you understand modern color trends and strive to incorporate popular hues into your branding efforts. You can use the current color of the year as a call to action (CTA) button. As long as it doesn’t clash with the rest of your design, working in a pop of trendy color shows you understand what’s current and are up on popular culture.
You could also weave them into your accents. Need an arrow to point the way? Use a trending hue.
3. Set a Mood
Have you ever felt slightly agitated at the color yellow or calmed by a soft blue? Different shades set a mood for the majority of users. Take the time to create buyer personas so you understand fully the impact each shade has on your buyers.
Keep in mind the culture of the audience. In some countries, black has negative connotations and you should steer clear. In other countries, it is seen as regal and elegant or neutral. Know your customers so you can choose the right colors to elicit the emotions you want out of them.
The type of product you sell can also influence which colors you should choose. Selling something like summer swimwear calls for bright, fun colors. If you offer cemetery plots, you probably want to go with a more serious-minded hue.
4. Add Contrast
Different color combinations can provide contrast and impact how people view your website and social media pages. Your background color should contrast harshly with your foreground elements, such as text.
For example, if you have a white background, black text pops. Consider people of different vision abilities and how well your color combinations work for them. What about those who are color blind?
Businesswire reported tens of millions of people face colorblindness in the workplace. Around 75% feel being color deficient slows them down at work. However, you can make their task easier simply by creating materials with certain colors.
5. Stand Out From the Crowd
Pay attention to what colors your competitors use. You should strive for something meeting industry standards. At the same time, you don’t want the same colors because choosing the same hues might confuse your customers.
Consider brands such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi. They both use red but in different ways. Coke uses red and white and sometimes silver. Pepsi uses red, blue and silver. Both pull in red for excitement, but they do so in different ways.
6. Consider Mobile
According to Bank My Cell, there are approximately 6.378 billion smartphone users in the world. Although screen resolutions have improved drastically in the last few years, it’s important to understand how colors might work differently on a smaller screen.
The combinations of complementary colors that look great on your larger screen may mesh together and look too busy on a mobile device. Take the time to actually view your designs on all screen sizes to ensure everything responds appropriately.
7. Limit Number of Colors
It’s important not to make your logo design or website look like a rainbow smacked into it. Most designers agree you should limit logos to no more than three hues and one should potentially be neutral.
Think about the angles and cutouts in your logo. How do the colors look close up and from a distance? Pay attention to any potential hidden meaning. How will the design function? There is a famous photo floating around the world wide web of a Starbucks van with a sliding door. When the side panel slides open, the word turns into “Sucks.” The last thing you want is a negative message or image associated with your brand.
Gain Audience Recognition
The whole point of choosing your colors wisely i s to make an excellent first impression on your audience. Over time, you can use the same look to gain household notoriety.
Make sure you use your brand colors everywhere, from your website to the packaging you mail orders in. The more times customers see and associate your color palette with your brand, the more they’ll relate those hues to you.
Eleanor is the editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the director at a marketing agency prior to becoming a freelance web designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and dog, Bear.