Choosing the Best Color for Your Brand

Think your logo would look great in red, or how about orange? If you're not sure, you're not alone. Here's a color primer to help.
August 23, 2012

One of the more-overlooked ways to build a strong and memorable brand is through choosing the right color(s). Different colors trigger different feelings and have different associations. Colors, like taglines, evoke certain emotions and ideas about what your company stands for.

Research reveals that "people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62 percent and 90 percent of that assessment is based on color alone." (Source: CCICOLOR- Institute for Color Research)

When selecting colors for your brand ask yourself what you want your brand personality to be, what colors best suit the characteristics of what you’re selling and then compare that with what colors your competitors are already using. You can use color to distinguish your brand from others, who are going after the same type of customers.

Some brands will actually change their colors over time to reflect change in their product line or what they stand for. When you want to evolve your brand with new colors, you need to change both your logo and the colors of your product. Sometimes it’s smarter to either hold onto your colors or just swap one of them out instead of making a drastic change. When you use colors over a long period of time, people remember them and the new colors might not resonate immediately.

Here is a list of different colors, brand examples and how they are used:

Red. Think of Coca Cola and Xerox logos. Red is a symbol for love, power and excitement. Red also symbolizes the devil and creates an alarming affect. You typically see red when a company is trying to get your attention.

Pink/Purple. Think of Yahoo! and Orkut. Pink is a symbol of vanity, elegance and romance. You typically see pink when a company is trying to be stylish or appeal to women.

Orange. Think of Nickelodeon and Etsy. Orange is a symbol of fall, warmth and friendship. You typically see orange when a company is trying to comfort you in some way. If you’re trying to appeal to children, orange is usually a good color to use.

Yellow. Think of Best Buy or McDonalds. Yellow is a symbol for youth, the sun, energy and happiness. Typically you see yellow when a brand is trying to have a positive impact on people.

Green. Think of Starbucks or Whole Foods. Green is a symbol for the environment, nature and money. Brands using this color are typically more eco-friendly than those that do not. It’s useful for companies focused on entertainment, finance or leisure.

Blue. Think of American Express, Ford, IBM, Intel, Samsung and HP. A lot of brands use blue because it symbolizes freedom, trust, intelligence and progress. Brands using this color are typically those involved in the technology industry.

Brown. Think Coach or UPS. Brown is a symbol of earth, natural and neutrality. Brands using this color are more traditional, conservative and care about nature.

Black. Think Lexus, Disney and Nike. Black is a symbol of power, simplicity and sharpness. Brands using this color usually put a premium price on their products.