Color Psychology: Achieving Great Small Business Branding

July 12, 2016



Color is an underrated part of marketing and branding. Identifying how we as humans respond to the colors put in front of us will allow you to understand how your brand may be translated in a client’s mind. Selecting the right colors for your branding will set the scene for your marketing down the road.


Remember how your mother always told you a first impression is made in 7 seconds? (So stand up straight and make eye contact). Well, with branding you’re lucky if the client’s eyes are on it for longer than 3 seconds! What do you want to portray to potential clients at the glance of your logo? A lot can be said just by the colors you select.



Red is the color of excitement and energy. It can encourage quick decisions and gives a sense of urgency. Red also has effects on the human body raising blood pressure and heart rate. Getting hungry while thinking about the color red? Of course you are–it encourages your appetite!


Target uses a strong red color paired with bold headlines in order to create an aura of excitement and urgency for their frequent sales and promotions.





Yellow is the color of cheerfulness and joy. It stimulates mental activity and generates muscle energy. Yellow is known to draw in impulsive buyers. Overuse of the color yellow can have a disturbing effect– too much of a good thing, I suppose.


Lipton tea is a great example here. They really reinforce their company image with cheerful, positive messaging in their branding.





Orange increases cheerfulness and optimism. The brain is stimulated by the color orange and increases oxygen supply to the brain. Hungry again? Orange is also known for bringing on an appetite.


Perhaps I’m showing my age here (or lack thereof), but when I hear “orange” and “cheerfulness,” only one brand comes to mind. Nickelodeon used their orange complexion to complement their fun, lighthearted brand of TV programming for children.





Blue gives the sense of security and promotes trust in a brand. It is also associated with peace and reliability. The color is calming to the mind and is recognized as a color of health and healing.


Perhaps it’s because of our natural association of the color blue with “the boys in blue.” Whatever the reason, a shade of blue seems like an obvious choice for a security company.





Green has taken on the identity of nature and health with the green movement. Often used for promoting environmental products, green stimulates harmony within the brain.


Love it or hate it — the green giant that is Starbucks has more than embraced their commitment to the environment.





Purple stimulates the problem solving and creative areas of the brain. This color often represents a creative, wise, and imaginative brand or service. Can you see why we chose it?


The Syfy network was an obvious choice here, with their “Imagine Greater” tagline. No shortage of imagination in these shows!





Grey is best used as an accent color instead of the leading lady. Too much grey can lead to feelings of nothingness; i.e. the “blah” effect!



White represents purity and cleanliness. It can spark creativity since it is translated as a “clean slate.” Overall, white has always had a positive connotation. The goodie-goodie of the color world, you might say.



Black is the color of authority and strength. It is often a color used by luxury brands for its formal and elegant feel. Black can become overwhelming if used too frequently.


James Franco in a tuxedo… Does it get any classier?




As an exercise, think about a few of your favorite brands and the color scheme they chose. Think it was an accident? Not a chance (we’re looking at you, McDonald’s. Mmm.. I want a burger…)


Which color(s) does your small business use? Is it appropriate for your desired message and audience?


If not, we HIGHLY recommend giving a re-branding campaign some consideration. It can be a lot of work and strategy, but we happen to know some pretty cool people who specialize in that sort of thing (wink, wink).


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