You might think that the colours a Brand decides to use don’t concern you. I get it.
“What do I care? I see colours everywhere, doesn’t make a difference to me. All I know is that PepsiCo is the nice guy between them and CocaCola, Nespresso is the better coffee and I love Ikea.”
See, this is a great example that colours affect us. A logo, an advertisement, the background of a website, the walls of a restaurant, all have meticulously chosen colors. Think about how the colours in a living room make you feel, or how you pick and choose your clothes.
To give you an idea, it takes us about 90 seconds to form an opinion on a Brand, and that opinion will be influenced at 62-90% by the colours of the Brand (Source: WebpageFX).
Whether we like it or not, colours trigger our emotions. They can be purposely used to make us feel and act a certain way.
Here, I want to paint a picture (Haha) of how Brands use colours to get your attention or to convey a message.
Now, before we get into the good stuff, keep in mind the following:
- The psychology and meaning of colours is not black and white (haha again!), it’s not an exact science and there are many interpretations possible.
- Simply using a colour to convey a message is not enough. The colour will be impactful if it can associated with relevant behaviour. (eg. Green for company that pretends to be Eco-friendly but is not, will have the opposite effect).
- A Brand cannot influence you just by using colours, but colours indicate a Brand’s intentions.
And now the fun stuff! Let’s look into 4 groups of colours:
- The Pastel colours: Light, referring to imagination
- The Warm colours: Loud, intense, playful
- The Cool colours: Safe, peaceful, wise
- The Prestige colours: Elegant, demanding respect
The Pastel Colours
ADJECTIVES: Feminine, Playful, Compassionate, Loving
THE EFFECT ON YOU: Want to appear cute, feminine and to feel innocent, targeted for teenagers and young ladies.
WHAT TO DO: See if you are the target!
BRANDS: Barbie, Benefit, Claire’s, Hello Kitty, …
PERSONIFIED BY: Reese Witherspoon in “Legally Blonde” (Anyone else you can think of?)
ADJECTIVES: Simple, Pure, Accessible
THE EFFECT ON YOU: Refers to something new, blank page for you to make it your own.
WHAT TO DO: I know the ad looks satisfyingly pure and clean but don’t let yourself be influenced by that. Look at the actual product.
ADS: Google, Apple, Microsoft, …
PERSONIFIED BY: Anne Hathaway (Comment below with other suggestions)
ADJECTIVES: Modest, Classic, Corporate
THE EFFECT ON YOU: Wants to appear mature and professional.
WHAT TO DO: Ask yourself whether you agree to it or not.
BRANDS: Swarovski, Wikipedia, …
PERSONIFIED BY: Tom Hanks (Do you agree?)
The Warm Colours
REPRESENTS: Passion, Love, Boldness, Impulse
THE EFFECT ON YOU: Wants to trigger your appetite and sense of urgency, accelerates your heart rate.
WHAT TO DO: First of all, calm down, nothing is that necessary!
BRANDS: Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Nintendo, Lego, Tim Hortons, …
PERSONIFIED BY: Rihanna (I mean, who else!)
ADJECTIVES: Brave, Confident, Friendly, Intelligent
THE EFFECT ON YOU: Kindly commands attention.
WHAT TO DO: Don’t rush.
BRANDS: Fanta, Mozilla Firefox, Home Depot, …
PERSONIFIED BY: Kerry Washington in “Scandal” (Comment with your ideas)
REPRESENTS: Happiness, Energy, Fun, Optimism
THE EFFECT ON YOU: Wants to catch your attention, brings good news.
WHAT TO DO: Remember that you don’t need yellow to feel happy.
BRANDS: Hertz, McDonalds, Best Buy, …
PERSONIFIED BY: Amy Schumer in “I Feel Pretty” (Am I right?)
The Cool Colours
REPRESENTS: Nature, Healing, Growth, Relaxation
THE EFFECT ON YOU: Wants to give you a sense of harmony and tranquility, wants to appear environment friendly.
WHAT TO DO: Just buy more plants man!
BRANDS: Starbucks, Holiday Inn, Tropicana, …
PERSONIFIED BY: Dalai Lama (Share your ideas)
REPRESENTS: Loyalty, Trust, Peace, Security
THE EFFECT ON YOU: Wants to seem reliable and trustworthy.
WHAT TO DO: Listen to a water stream, you’ll be fine.
BRANDS: Facebook, Dell, Ford, Oral-B, …
PERSONIFIED BY: George Clooney (Don’t you think?)
REPRESENTS: Prestige, Nostalgia, Creativity, Wisdom
THE EFFECT ON YOU: Implies wealth and royalty, wants to seem special and imaginative.
WHAT TO DO: ALWAYS RESPECT ROYALTY (Psst, I’m joking. Don’t buy things just because they remind you of your childhood!)
BRANDS: Cadbury, Milka, Yahoo, Hallmark, …
PERSONIFIED BY: Sir Elton John (Do you see it?)
The Prestige Colours
REPRESENTS: Immortality, Charisma, Respect, Glory
THE EFFECT ON YOU: Wants to inspire knowledge and spirituality.
WHAT TO DO: Just embrace it, I mean we’re talking about “Immortality” here!
BRANDS: Lindt & Sprungli, Versace, …
PERSONIFIED BY: Beyoncé (Let’s leave it at that)
ADJECTIVES: Elegant, Determined, Powerful
THE EFFECT ON YOU: Creates feelings of sophistication and uniqueness.
WHAT TO DO: Just ask yourself, “is this worth the price?”
BRANDS: Chanel, Nike, Sony, …
PERSONIFIED BY: Audrey Hepburn (Comment with your opinion)
REPRESENTS: Tradition, Stability, Honesty, Earth
THE EFFECT ON YOU: Feels comfortable and reassuring.
WHAT TO DO: Question what you see. Is the Brand truly established?
BRANDS: Hershey’s, Nespresso, Louis Vuitton, …
PERSONIFIED BY: Al Pacino (El Padre…)
That’s a lot of colours. And there are a lot more, with a lot of nuances and subtleties, associations and preferences between men and women, etc. More things that can be covered in another blog post 🙂