Colour Me… Brand

Careful colour choices are crucial to bring your brand’s personality to life
Tags: Branding

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In an earlier Blog, we wrote about the benefits of a consistent and attractive brand, where the various parts of your brand identity fit and work together . This time, we focus in on one key part: Your brand’s colour palette, and how careful colour choices can make a big difference to how people feel about your organisation.

Emotional response

In a great episode of the US sitcom Scrubs (click to see the clip), cynical Chief of Medicine Dr Kelso swaps the angry janitor’s uniform for a calming ‘robin’s egg’ blue, and generously gifts hapless hospital lawyer Ted a tie… in a shade of bright orange that’s said to provoke outright hostility.

“Simple psychology”, he says: “colours evoke different reactions”.

You’re probably looking for a less extreme response to your website, logo, or campaign poster than the punch poor Ted gets, but the fundamental impact of colour on our emotions is clear. Humans have hard-wired connections to and associations with colours that go far beyond ‘that looks nice’ and are pretty enduring and common across cultures.

So when it comes to colour, choosing carefully and using consistently are key to an attractive, recognisable brand.

Choosing your colour palette carefully

You care about the work you do, and the impact it has, so how people see and feel about your organisation is important. Your colour palette is a powerful tool to help you bring your brand’s personality to life.

While the light blue of the janitor’s uniform can evoke calmness and trust (there’s a reason so many banks and financial institutions use similar blues), it doesn’t have the same energy and vitality of orange or the youth and optimism of yellow.

And while red can mean danger, it’s also associated with passion and excitement, and is a big part of why some instantly-recognised brands command attention.

So your favourite colour might be the very best or the absolute worst colour you could pick for your organisation. It all depends on the personality you want to get across – what’s at the heart of what you do and what you stand for, and how the colours you use can help people really feel that.

And of course just one colour won’t be enough. An effective, versatile brand colour palette will have at least three, which look good and work together as contrasts or complements to each other.

Using a consistent colour palette

Your brand’s colour palette will need to work effectively and evoke your brand across everything from your logo to a website, leaflet, poster or sign.

Using and repeating those colours consistently across different media is a short-cut to awareness and recognition, creates added impact, and gives each communication extra context that’s a head-start with your audience. How you make sure you do this well could be part of your brand guidelines, if you’re looking to develop them.

So, when you’re thinking about what’s important for your communications, and how you build a clear, attractive brand, don’t forget the power of colour to evoke emotions.

Northern Bear can help

We’re a friendly creative agency dedicated to working with charities and not-for-profit organisations.

We work with small and medium-sized organisations on branding, strategy, design, websites and campaigns to help raise awareness and funding so together we can DO MORE GOOD.

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