Color in Branding

The first thing a person notices about a logo or design are the colors used. Our eyes are naturally drawn to see bright colors, appreciate contrast, and we then attach meaning to those colors in some way. Color gives us a way to express who we are.  Look at what you are wearing right now.  What are those colors saying about you?

Colors can also be a powerful tool when branding your company. The colors you choose each have a meaning and can have a subconscious effect on the consumers.  I have included an image below that breaks down each color and what they mean to consumers.  Let’s use it to look at the very well known brand, McDonald’s.  What does the red and yellow say about this company?


These colors convey to us that McDonald’s is an energetic place where we can experience happiness.  Doesn’t that embody McDonald’s?  I have so many great memories as a child of going to McDonald’s and getting a happy meal with my family.  It has impacted me in such a way that I still go to McDonald’s and enjoy myself every time.  For me, this logo represents happiness.  While McDonald’s brand image may have deteriorated over the past few years due to health concerns, the colors in the logo serve as an unconscious reminder of what we can expect at McDonald’s.  

There are so many cues in logos that impact the way we feel about a brand.  When we designed the Namify logo, we decided to go with green because as a branding company we strive to work in harmony with our clients allowing them to present themselves however they choose.

In a recent article from entrepreneur magazine, they share the following:

“And in regards to the role that color plays in branding, results from studies such as The Interactive Effects of Colors show that the relationship between brands and color hinges on the perceived appropriateness of the color being used for the particular brand (in other words, does the color “fit” what is being sold).

The study Exciting Red and Competent Blue also confirms that purchasing intent is greatly affected by colors due to the impact they have on how a brand is perceived. This means that colors influence how consumers view the “personality” of the brand in question (after all, who would want to buy a Harley Davidson motorcycle if they didn’t get the feeling that Harleys were rugged and cool?).

Additional studies have revealed that our brains prefer recognizable brands, which makes color incredibly important when creating a brand identity. It has even been suggested in Color Research & Application that it is of paramount importance for new brands to specifically target logo colors that ensure differentiation from entrenched competitors (if the competition all uses blue, you’ll stand out by using purple).”

What does all of this actually mean.  It means that you want to first, match your logo to your brand.  Then, you need to think about what those colors are conveying to your consumer and if that is the desired message.  While doing this, you need to keep in mind those ever important 4Cs.  Company, Consumer, Channel and Competition must be considered when designing or changing a logo.  

So, whether your logo is bright green or red and yellow, on top of a building or on a small name tag, it says something to your customers.  Is it saying the right thing?

Color Wheel

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