Colors are critical to your brand. The right colors will strengthen your messaging and brand personality. Whereas the wrong colors may put your audience off or even make them feel uneasy. Your prospective customer has to be able to think and feel “this is meant for me” when faced with any of your branded communication. And colors play a huge part in that.
Colors are powerful. They catch our attention quickly and affect our mood. In fact, colors are so powerful that they can provoke a physical response in a person. Red and yellow can increase your blood pressure. Whereas green can do the opposite. Colors also affect our decision making. They have such a powerful draw that experts recommend switching your smartphone screen into black and white if you suffer from phone addiction. Looking at black and white screen is less stimulating and less interesting. So it’ll lower your urge to constantly be checking your phone.
Colors have strong feeling of personality. Bright colors are considered to be lively, energetic, and young. We even describe a certain type of person with the word “colorful,” and know exactly what that means. Grey or toned down colors are considered to be serious and stable. Some might even say boring. Needless to say that your brand should use colors that match your brand personality.
Have you ever had an experience where you have forgotten a name of a brand or a product, but clearly remember what color the label or text was? Colors increase our attention level and therefore help to remember things better. The most successful brands have a signature color they use to strengthen their presence in the crowded marketplace. Think of Coca Cola red, Caterpillar yellow, Starbucks green, Tiffany’s trademarked Tiffany’s Blue (light teal), Facebook blue, or Apple’s use of white.
Choosing colors for your brand
How do you choose the right colors for your brand? The kind of colors that attract your ideal customer and strengthen the bond you have with them? The key is to know your audience but also know your own brand. It helps to have your brand’s foundational pieces like your brand’s personality and the value proposition defined. Know the demographics and preferences of your audience. Those are in critical role when you start thinking about what colors represent your brand the best.
Understanding of basic color psychology and cultural implications are important here too. You don’t have to become a master color sampler or anything. Just make sure the colors you’re considering for your brand are not in conflict with what you want to communicate. I’ve created a handy Quick Color Guide for you to help with this. Download the guide here.
Do you have to like your brand’s colors? It is a good idea to pick colors you are ok with, preferably like. You can’t just pick your favorite color, unless your ideal customer is an exact copy of yourself. Let’s say your favorite color is pink but your ideal customer is a +50 years old corporate executive male. It’s highly likely that pink would not appeal to that customer. To be sure, you could test this by interviewing few people from your audience, and ask what colors they are drawn to. Or by showing them few different color combinations or photos with certain color schemes and ask them to choose their favorite.
This is not to say that your brand can’t reflect your personality and preferences at all. As the founder of your business — especially if you are a solopreneur service provider — you need to show your personality. But depending on your ideal customer, you will have to make some important choices when and where you do this. You have lots of options. You can do this through your blog posts and the images and the tone of voice you use in your blog. Your webinars are also a great opportunity to bring out your personality. And you can include your favorite color as one of the colors in your brand library, just not the entire library.
Like mentioned before, exception to the previous rule would be if you are identical with your ideal customer. This is especially true when you have created a business around helping people who are facing the same challenge you previously faced and already solved. In this case, you are — were — your ideal customer and can choose your brand elements by thinking “what would’ve appealed to me at the time.” Many lifestyle bloggers fall into this category.
In any case, don’t choose colors you hate. Even if it would be your ideal customer’s favorite color. Find a color you are ok with. Because colors have such a profound psychological — even physiological — effect, you risk starting to grow negative feelings towards your own brand if you have elements you strongly dislike. And you are your brand’s biggest and most important ambassador. So, you have to be able to believe in it and talk about it with genuine enthusiasm.
There are wonderful exercises with moodboarding and finding photos you and your ideal customer loves. And I am working to get you an easy to follow step-by-step framework to help with that. In the meanwhile, subscribe to my newsletter (orange tab at the bottom of your browser) to get informed when that worksheet will come out.
To keep you inspired or just for fun, check out https://brandcolors.net/. It’s a collection of brand colors by known brands out there.
P.S. If you haven’t already done so, come check out my free Facebook group DIY Brand Design & Strategy for Soulpreneurs where I teach soulpreneurs like you to build their own branding and create their own designs.