The term colour psychology might not make your heart race in sheer anticipation of learning more about it (surely anything containing an ‘ology’ warrants a yawn!?). But it should!
I’ve come to believe it’s a hugely under-rated & little understood weapon in our entrepreneurial armoury. Let me tell you why:
1. 93% of first impressions are non-verbal*
2. An opinion is formed from looking at a website in the first 90 seconds. In those 90 seconds, between 62% and 90% of that opinion is based solely on colour**
Colour works on an emotional level. It triggers feelings.
In other words, gut reactions that we don’t even try to rationalise. That means colour has an immediate impact - more than words, more than your latest post or video. How could this not be used as a secret weapon?
Quick Tips on Choosing Colour
Choosing the best colours for you is totally personal. If you work for yourself as a ‘solopreneur’, I believe that you should love your brand & feel a real connection with it. Because there’s so much of you in it.
However, it’s vitally important to capture the personality of your business (brand personality), your values (the unshakable things you stand for) & what’s important to your ideal clients. Ask yourself how you want your absolute best client to feel when they see your brand? And I mean really feel (so you can’t just say ‘in the mood for buying!’).
I can’t stress enough how valuable it is to set aside some thinking time to answer these sorts of questions before your choose your colour palette. Then you can look back & decide whether your colours support these things.
Here are some brief ideas as to which colours might support which values & feelings:
Yellow = friendly, happy, confident
Red = strong, courageous, warm
Green = restful, balanced, organic
Blue = logical, calm, trustworthy
Try Coolors.co for a fun way to explore colours.
Sense-check your sector
Now this is the one where I see lots of young brands coming unstuck.
There are a number of studies within the marketing arena (like this one from Google), that recommend sticking with convention in design. This is because ultimately everybody’s busy & distracted & they don’t want to work hard to figure you out.
Colours are a great way to show your sector, without horrid ‘me too’ branding & design.
For example, the food industry uses a lot of red & orange. Warmth is known to fuel appetite while cold, unnatural colours have the opposite effect. Yep, seriously, blue is scientifically proven to suppress appetites (will we see a ‘blue diet’ before long!?). You’ll rarely see blue in a restaurant decor & branding, & if you do I’d bet that it’s seafood - so meets another sector convention.
Using the seasons
Seasonal colour psychology is fascinating & totally revolutionised how I style brands. It provides a framework that means all of your brand elements will just work in beautiful harmony.
And when it comes to colours, this is where you can now take your palette & focus on tone.
Based on your brand values & messages, your brand will fit into winter, autumn, spring or summer. Each of these have different traits. Think of spring - bright, full of energy & promise. Daffodils, bluebells - exuberant new life waking up. You would avoid muted, intense & grey-tones for this season & instead look for clear, bright & pastel shades.
Colour is such a fun part of your brand & plays an important role in how you’re perceived. Don’t underestimate it: use it as a tool to create harmony & feelings that are true to your brand values.
About the author
Cat Archer Underwood owns Coho Digital & is a Winchester-based brand stylist & storyteller. Specialising in entrepreneurs who build their businesses online, Cat helps them to work out what makes them special & unique, then how to communicate it through words & visuals.