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Consider the Right Color for Your Brand

At Jacob Tyler, we are responsible for building brands. In the beginning, we take a lot of time to research and determine our client’s brand story, position, values, differentiation, identity, and you guessed it… colors. If you’ve recently started a new company, created a new product or are rebranding an existing entity, chances are you’ve been thinking a lot about what your new or invigorated brand will look like – and what it will feel like. Depending on your situation, naming and other brand components may come first, but the color of your brand is never far behind.

When deciding on colors for your logo, there are a few things to consider:

Consider The Psychology of Color: There have been extensive studies on the effect of the human subconscious – and even more written about how brands can utilize color to attract customers and drive consumer decision-making. Though not an exact science, there is certainly validity to the effect of color on mood and emotion. “Color Theory” has been around since the days of da Vinci. It’s why interior designers favor certain hues (“warm” and “cool” colors) for certain living spaces.

In a very general sense, certain colors are thought to portray certain virtues – yellow for optimism and warmth; orange for cheerfulness and confidence (also used subliminally to make people hungry); red for excitement, energy and boldness; green for growth and tranquility; purple for wisdom and creativity; blue for trust and stability; white for innocence and godliness; and black for elegance and power. Think about how you experience color in your own life. When you are surrounded by a certain color, how do you feel? At Jacob Tyler, our offices are awash in red. You can feel the energy and intensity right away. It’s a great color for a creative space – but probably wouldn’t work too well for a relaxing day spa.

Obviously, there is some validity to the psychology of color. I’m not a doctor or psychologist by any means, but in my opinion… OUR opinions of color are formed by individual experience, exposure, and preference. Thus I feel color favors nurture over nature. I will admit that creating a brand color scheme based on color psychology is a good baseline, but it shouldn’t be your only consideration.

Consider Your Audience: Before choosing your brand’s color scheme, you must define you brand’s audience. Who are they? What are their preferences? What are they looking for, and how will they find it in your brand? You might boast the most “creative” financial investment products in the industry, but your audience most likely prefers the byproduct of that creativity – stability. In this case, you’re better off choosing a blue or green as opposed to a “creative” purple or red.

Consider Your Product: In some cases, you may be selling a product that is widely known to be a certain color – like a basketball. In this case, you may not want to brand everything lime green. When it comes to color, sometimes the product speaks for itself and inate color association from you customers is important.

Consider Your Competition: What are others in your industry doing? Is there a successful standard that you should stay within? Can you potentially differentiate yourself by going way outside of the mainstream, or would that be self-defeating?

There are certainly cases where thinking too far “outside the box” would be detrimental to your brand. But there are also examples of industries where wildly different brands successfully offer similar services. Take the car service industry, particularly Uber and Lyft. Both offer a similar service – rides on demand through mobile apps – but have wildly different brands. Uber has a sleek black and silver logo and offers black and silver cars. Lyft’s logo is pink, and each Lyft car has a giant pink mustache on its grill. Both have significant shares of the same market but each brand is very different from tone, to goals, to mission.

Consider Mixing it Up: There’s no rule that says you have to use only one or two colors for your brand. Of course, using multiple colors is the exception and not the rule, but there are instances in which multiple colors make sense – and make a bigger impact than a traditional two-color scheme. There are also very good reasons to have different color palettes.

In 2014, Jacob Tyler rebranded and designed the San Diego International Airport’s new website, www.san.org, featuring nearly the entire color spectrum. This is NOT something we usually do, but the use of these colors were strategically developed to match the airport’s brick and mortar color scheme, which uses those colors to guide travelers through the airport by topic – red/orange for flight information, orange/yellow for dining and shopping, green/blue for parking and transportation, and purple for public and travel information. The website is part of the airport’s ecosystem, creating a four-dimensional experience for the traveler. The site is a good example of how using non-traditional color schemes can be effective for certain unique brands.

Consider the Whole: Great brands are greater than the sum of their parts. Great brands are an experience. Brand colors should be carefully selected to communicate this experience to your defined audience and achieve your branding goals.

If you’re obsessed with color and learning more, or you are a design professional looking to create color palettes for your project, a really simple site to use for a crash course is Canva. Their “Colors Design Wiki” teaches you everything you need to know about colors, their meanings, and the many color combinations that will hopefully give inspiration to your next design. For more information, you can visit https://www.canva.com/colors/ or if you want to talk to me… you know how to find me.

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