Color Theory Tips to Inspire Your Brand

Color is mystifying, as marketers know very well. It is as controversial as it is contradicting, and it is also exponentially important to your brand. With 85 percent of shoppers stating that they rely on color when deciding on purchasing a product, you can’t afford to ignore its significance. How exactly can you use color to your advantage? Let’s take a look at three color theory tips to inspire your brand.

Know Your Audience

Understanding your audience and how they might perceive certain colors will serve your brand well. There are many factors that determine how people perceive colors, such as upbringing, personal experiences, personal preferences and cultural background. A solid understanding about your audience and their values, habits and general preferences offers insights to their perceptions of color.

Take, for example, the disparity in men’s and women’s color preferences. The images below from Joe Hallock’s study show this disparity. Women’s favorite colors are more diverse, while the majority of men claim to prefer blue.

female-fav male-fav

To put it simply, colors that work well for one brand may not work well for another brand. Trends vary among demographics, so choose colors and color combinations that best resonate with your audience.

Match Your Brand’s Personality

Personality trumps stereotypes when it comes to properly coloring your brand. According to one study, there are five core traits that help determine a brand’s personality:

  1. Sincerity
  2. Excitement
  3. Competence
  4. Sophistication
  5. Ruggedness

It’s possible for brands to align with more than one trait, but for the most part, brands fit best into one category. For example, fishing gear fits into the ruggedness category and high-end designer sunglasses fit into the sophistication category. Particular colors stereotypically fit into the core traits, like red for excitement, brown for ruggedness and blue for competence.

Coordinate Your Colors

Learning to properly coordinate your brand’s colors begins with recognizing that people notice things that stand out. Be sure to properly highlight your brand by using the right color scheme.

Research proves that, in general, people prefer color patterns with similar hues but accent colors that contrast. Conversions follow this same rule as well. If you purposefully place buttons in contrasting colors but keep the rest of your site in a similar hue, you will likely experience greater conversions.

There are five types of popular color schemes: monochromatic, analogous, complementary, split complementary and triadic.

Monochromatic: Use it to create an elegant, harmonious image with no fuss. Choose a basic color to represent your brand and use various tones, shades, and tints of the color to accent.

monochrome-blue Analogous: Use it for a professional, harmonious image with more contrast than monochromatic color schemes. Select two colors next to each other on the color wheel for this look.

analogous-modpink Complementary: Use it for a bold, visually interesting image. Create it by pairing two colors opposite each other on the color wheel. Tip: don't use red and green. Besides looking too Christmasy, this look is hard to digest by those suffering with color blindness.

comp-purplegreen Split complementary: Similar to complementary, this creates a bold look with contrast. Choose a base color and then use the two colors on either side of of the hue across from your base.

split-yellowgreen Triadic: Use it for a balanced, bold image with lots of contrast. Triadic color schemes use three colors with equal space between them on the color wheel, creating a triangular shape when connected.

triad-berry As you consider color theory in regard to branding, remember that color comes with a great deal of potential to make an impact. Color is a great way to ensure your brand is not only seen, but also remembered. Here's a great infographic from KISSmetrics on how colors can affect shopping in today's economy. Take a look below!


Photo Credit: Jen Tank, Joe HallockKiss Metrics

How do you use color to strengthen your brand?