Color brings such an immediate emotional quality to a brand. Which is why you should pay careful attention to your color choices, and at which point in the design process you should make the decision about it. We are all familiar with the basic psychology of color – how blue is calming, and red grabs attention, and so on and so forth. But that’s not all there is. Culture also plays an important role into how color is interpreted, as do fashion trends. (What is the new black? What is the pantone color of the year?).
Your choice of colors can make or break your brand identity — I cannot emphasize this enough. What is your vision for the brand? What overall image are you trying to project? What emotions are you trying to evoke? Wrong color choices will result in a totally different mood from the one you were trying to achieve. Some people choose colors based purely on what’s currently on trend. While this will make your brand look trendy and up to date, the downside is that years later it might look dated just as easily.
The human brain responds to color the same way it responds to pleasure or pain – it is immediate, visceral, primal. Once you’ve picked out the perfect color for your brand, use it consistently across your identity program. The more consistent the use, the stronger the impact.
I normally ask a client from the start to pick out color palettes. But this is not to say that I won’t give my own suggestions based on the design direction and image that the client wants to portray in the design. I actually prefer to create the graphic first, in black and white, and then apply colors later. The one thing I learned in my years of design experience is this: the more definite the client is in her vision for her brand, the easier it is to create a graphic identity that represents it.
A study of the world’s top 100 companies revealed important information about color choices. Here is an infographic created by Marketo that shows the results of that study: