The Science of Colour Marketing

Has it ever crossed your mind as to why a certain company’s logo is coloured that way? or why does Coca Cola use red so prominently in their logos and products? Is it because they randomly picked the colour red for their brand or is it based on certain market research of colours and what they signify? Is there really something called colour marketing.

Well to answer that last question, Yes! there indeed exists a thing called colour marketing and is widely practised by the brands across for achieving their respective goals. Colours are a great way of highlighting your special features or attracting people towards your brand or in some cases to create a sense of urgency to act (think of the red boards outside shops with “clearance sale” banner). 

Try answering the following questions and you might get a better idea on the importance of colours in marketing. 


1.    What colour are you likely to use for the merchandise and jackets if you are starting cruiser bike group?
2.    What colours would you prefer to use for a science project on environmental conservation?
3.    What colours would you use to paint your kids' play area in school or at home?

In the first case, you’re are most likely to go with some dark and sober colours which will reflect something serious and classic (think Harley).

In the second case, as it’s an environmental project, you’re likely to go with colours that reflect the colours of nature i.e. green and brown.

In the third case, you might prefer going with playful and bright colours like yellow, pink, sky blue.

If we study the above three scenarios, we could see that the colour choices were based on the target audience, relevance and requirement as per the situation.

It’s very important to choose the colours based on the situation and the kind of image you want to exhibit. Colours play a very important role in creating a connect and help your customers in having a positive impression of your brand.  You would not want kids toys business to have black and maroon as the colours of your brand and it would not ideally be perfect to have grey or white as the logo colours for an amusement park.

Colour Symbolism

Every colour signifies a certain feeling. When we think of a certain colour, we immediately come up with a word that would define it the best as per our psyche. White stands for peace, Red for danger and so on.

Historically, certain colours are used for signifying a specific emotion or purpose. The emotion associated with a colour may also differ based on the geographical, psychological and religious factors. For example, Green is almost a forbidden colour in Indonesia but is the national colour of Mexico and is highly revered. Similarly, Red is the symbol of purity and of great religious importance in India but is a symbol of aggression and brutality in Nigeria. 

Based on the above examples, it becomes very important for a business to have universally accepted colours if they want to expand. For multinational corporations, it is a daunting task to decide on colour as that would be reflecting their brand image.

Colour Psychology 

Various studies have been done to study the effect that a colour can have on our mood and behaviour. You all have just come across the news of how Glasgow’s blue colour streetlight helped in the reduction of crime and suicide rates.  Apparently the colour blue has a soothing effect on our brain and helps us relax. 

A study was done during the 2004 Olympics where players from taekwondo, boxing, wrestling were observed. It was found that the players in the red attires had a better success ratio of 60-40 over their blue counterparts. Point to be noted here is that the study was carried out only where the opponents were evenly matched. Not taking anything away from the sportsperson’s ability, this could be a result of red being a dominating colour and creating a certain psychological impact on the opponents.  

Our brain relates each colour with a certain feeling. This can be best demonstrated using the example of traffic lights. The colours were carefully chosen and there is a reason why red is used to stop the traffic and green to allow the traffic to pass by. While yellow is there as a caution. This is so because of years of conditioning our brain has undergone and what we feel about those particular colours. Tomorrow if a new rule comes up about reversing or changing the colours on a traffic light, it might result in utter chaos.

Brands and Their Colours

Today when we hear about any big brand, immediately a colour would crop up. We would associate grey and black with apple, yellow and red with McDonalds, red, blue and yellow with Red Bull.
As mentioned earlier, is it because the founders of these company used these companies simply because they liked these colours? or is there a deeper meaning. Let us try and understand what some of the colours mean in the world of brands.

Black & Grey-  A symbol of sophistication, class and elegance, Black is often the favourite colours of luxury brands and brands who want to go with a sober and classy look for their logo.
Brand Examples: Apple, Rolls Royce

White -  White can best be described as the absence of colour. Just like black, it can also be used signifying something elegant. If you want your brand to have a minimal approach yet be straight to the point with the logo, white is your colour.
Brand Examples: Puma, Chanel

Red  - A colour that signifies youthfulness and excitement, Red is a particular favourite with companies going for aggressive marketing and food industry, in particular, prefers to use a dash of it.
Brand Examples: Coca Cola, Canon

Green - A symbol of nature and purity, green is also associated with money. A perfect colour for companies going for natural appeal, energy conservation and financial services. 
Brand Examples: Tropicana, Animal Planet

Yellow -  A colour that represents fun and joy, yellow is perfect for your company if you want to attract some attention or get the younger crowd going. It’s another major favourite with the food giants across the world. 
Brand Examples: Mc Donalds, Burger King, DHL

Blue -  A colour that infuses certain calmness and trust, blue is a big favourite with the big tech players and financial institutions and also some fashion brands.
Brand Examples: Dell, RBS

For decades, these colours have become the identity of these brands and have become a part of their image. Years from now, these companies might make changes to their logos and fonts, but one thing will remain constant and that is the Colours!

Posted Date 30-11-2019
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