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How Colors Can Make or Break Your Brand

By Alex Krasowski  1/11/24

Understanding Color Psychology

What is color psychology?

What even is color psychology? Color psychology is all about how colors affect our perceptions and behaviors. It’s wild how a simple color choice can convey a message without saying a word. For instance, red can evoke feelings of passion and urgency, while blue often instills a sense of trust and calm.

Real-world examples

Think of McDonalds. What comes to mind? Instantly, their red and yellow logo pops into mind. Red is known to stimulate appetite and create a sense of urgency, hence why many restaurants use the color. Wendy’s, Chick-fil-a, and KFC use it to name a few.  Recently though, McDonalds has shifted their branding to more muted and organic colors to keep up with health-conscious trends. Next time you go to the golden arches, keep a lookout for all the colors.

Image of McDonalds Storefront

Choosing the Right Colors for Your Brand

Aligning with  brand identity

Your brand’s color should reflect its personality. Are you fun and vibrant, or sophisticated and luxurious? For example, we worked with Family Car Rental to create a vibrant and sleek logo to give them a more professional look. We shifted their brand from a more muted red to a vibrant red, which is instantly eye-catching. Red was and still is a common car paint color, so it builds the association in the potential viewers mind. 

Image of the Family Car Rental branding guide

Knowing your audience

Understanding your audience is key. Without it, no marketing or branding is possible. Different age groups and genders can react differently to colors. Younger audiences might prefer bold, vibrant colors, while a more mature demographic might appreciate subdued, classic tones.

The Impact of Color on Consumer Behavior

Influencing perceptions and buying decisions

Colors not only attract attention but can also influence emotions and attitudes. A study from the American Marketing Association found that up to 90% of snap judgments about products can be based on color alone. That’s huge!

Color trends and implications

Trends come and go, but your brand colors need to stand the test of time. While it’s tempting to jump on the latest trend, make sure it aligns with your brand's identity. Remember, consistency is key.

Color and Cultural Context

Understanding Global Perceptions

Color meanings can vary across cultures. While white is often associated with purity in Western cultures, it represents mourning in some Eastern cultures. Always research your target market’s cultural associations with colors to avoid any awkward situations. 

Practical Tips for Implementing Color Psychology in Branding

Applying colors effectively

It’s not just about choosing a color; it’s also about using it effectively. Ensure your chosen colors work well in all formats, from digital screens to print. For example, an intense blue may look fantastic on print, but it may be blinding on screens. 

Tools and Resources

There are great tools out there like Adobe Color or Coolors to help you pick a harmonious palette. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Image of Coolors Home page

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Overuse and inappropriate choices

A big no-no is overusing a color or choosing one that contradicts your industry norms. For instance, using neon colors for a law firm might not convey the right message of professionalism.


Color is a powerful tool in your branding arsenal. It can influence perceptions, convey messages, and even drive purchasing decisions. As a small business owner, leveraging the psychology of colors can be a game-changer in setting your brand apart. So, get creative, do your research, and watch your brand come to life with the right hues!

Let us know what you think!

Got a story about how colors impacted your brand? Or maybe a question on picking the perfect palette? Drop us a message. We love to see how colors are bringing your brand story to life!