Here at LOGIC1, we love to measure results and retest them again to optimise for greater performance, which has made us find the topic of colour psychology so important when thinking about potential leads and conversions online. If you’re already getting a little bit lost in some of the digital marketing terms we’re using, check out our Digital Marketing Glossary before reading further or contact us if you’d like to talk about solutions we can help with for your business or upcoming project.
When do we use colour psychology?
The psychology of colour around marketing and branding can be used within many stages of the buying process. From when someone first sees a brand, the colour will associate different meanings around their ethos, while a high contrast Call to Action (CTA) button may make it stand out more and therefore create more promising results.
Along with contrast, colour choice can also make a difference when choosing which colour to use. In other words, the difference between making your CTA button red versus green can make a huge difference in how people associate to it.
How do I choose which colour to use?
Choosing a colour may seem straight forward, but how do you really know what works better? That answer is A/B split testing. By trying a few options that you think may perform well, you can see how this affects the consumer’s buying journey through a tool such as Google Analytics. This will allow you to see measurable data such as conversion rates and how both successful and unsuccessful customers have navigated through your site. By having evidence collected through real data, this gives you the opportunity for having the most informed data possible of how customers who are interested in your brand and offerings react to small changes in big ways. Moz, which is an SEO product, increased conversions by 187.4% just from split testing their CTA button from as yellow instead of green. Impressive, right?
So which colours should I focus on?
Depending on what your aim is by using colour may influence which colour you may use. For example, if you are looking at colour for a brand, the colours you consider should speak about the brand’s personality and offerings. What I mean by this is are you looking for your brand to excite someone when they see it, or would you prefer your brand to be associated with reliability and security? This answer completely depends on your vision for the company and what it stands for.
For other uses of colour, such as CTA buttons and social media content to grab potential customers fast, colours which contrast highly (therefore standing out more predominantly) tend to work best- especially for generating conversions.
Red is a colour which stands out compared to many other colours on the spectrum; because of this, it tends to be associated with strong emotions. It can represent positive emotions such as passion, power, speed and enthusiasm, but it may also represent strong negative emotions such as danger, warnings, anger and fear. Red has been known to encourage appetite also, which may explain why so many large food brands use this colour for their logo. To name a few, think of brands such as Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Levi’s, Virgin and Netflix.
Just like the sun, the colour orange is often associated with warmth. Non-corporate brands with a more “fun” image tend to use orange frequently as it can represent confidence, creativity and friendliness. Think of brands such as Nickelodeon, Hooters, and Fanta for example, to name a few. However, if you want your brand to be taken quite seriously, the colour orange probably won’t convey that as well as some other colours may.
What colour jumps to mind when you imagine a smiley face? Yellow is often associated with happiness, optimism and energy. It’s the first colour that infants can see and has a particularly long wavelength, which may be why we have such strong psychological associations towards this colour. Think about brands such as Subway, McDonald’s, and Chupa Chups, who all use yellow as their primary colour within their logo.
The colour green is often associated with things which are natural, healthy and to do with growth- probably because of how prominent it is within nature. Money has also been highly associated with the colour green also, but tread carefully with this double-edged sword as it can also signify materialism and jealousy too. For example, think about brands who use green as their primary brand colour, such as Animal Planet, John Deere and Starbucks.
Blue is commonly known as a great colour to symbolise trust, reliability, integrity and tranquillity. It’s often used as the main colour for corporate and tech-based companies because of this, and it’s also the colour which stands out the most to colour blind people (as most react to green and red-based colours). Mike Zuckerberg is colour blind- which is why the Facebook logo was created with blue as it’s main colour. In addition to Facebook, many other companies from a range of industries use blue as their main colour in their logo. For example, technology-based companies such as Visa may use it to associate their brand with reliability, whereas Unilever may use it to portray a moment of tranquillity when using one of their products.
The colour purple is commonly known for portraying luxury, creativity and magic. Along with commonly being associated with royalty, it also portrays an element of fun- think about brands such as Wonka and Cadbury who pride themselves on creativity and fun and have predominantly purple logos.
Pink is a colour which tends to be associated with women, especially when considering younger demographics. Many of these brands tend to be targeted towards women- think of brands such as Barbie, Supré, Roxy, Victoria’s Secret & The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The colour black is known to be a colour which signifies sophistication, elegance and can represent an element of seriousness- however, black must be used with caution as it can be seen as plain and negative if not used both appropriately and sparingly. Some brands which use black as their primary colour within their logo (and do it well) include Adidas, Nike, Calvin Klein and Disney.
When many people think of the colour white, they may associate it with innocence, clean, peace and trust. It works great to create a simplistic logo, however, if not executed well, white may infer the idea of isolation and emptiness. White is a great colour to use in addition to another colour- some companies which have followed this aesthetic include Coca-Cola, WWF & Apple.
Although people tend to associate different colours with different things, when it comes to branding, one key factor is that the colours used to create a ‘feel’ must fit the brand’s ethos i.e. if you want your brand to be seen as more sophisticated, an orange scheme may not reflect what values you want to highlight within it.
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