Okay, I lied. When it comes to choosing the right colours for your business, there is no one size fits all solution. But depending on your industry, target audience, and even your culture, some colours just work better than others.
Colour theory is a booming business with many individuals working tirelessly to discover how different colours impact mood and feelings. Even something as changing the hue or saturation of a colour can alter how people feel about it. That’s why it quite literally pays to work with a designer who understands colour theory.
While it’s true that choosing the right shade of orange may not guarantee that your Yaletown-based juice bar is a hit, colour theory can help you differentiate and entrench your identity. After all, Harley Davidson wouldn’t be the brand it is today if it was pink and and sparkly. To help you get started, we’ve created this basic introduction to colour theory in business.
Arguably the strongest colour in the spectrum, red is said to actually have a physical effect on people. It can raise blood pressure and respiration rates. It’s also been shown to enhance metabolism, which makes it the finger lickin’ choice for many food and drink brands. In design, red can be tricky. It’s purest form, red can be overwhelming making it more suitable as an accent. However, darkening the hue can make it enigmatic and elegant.
Vibrant and energetic, orange is associated with the earth and with autumn. It’s affiliation with time means it’s an appropriate choice for communicating change. Orange is also associated with the sweet, delicious fruit, so it’s a great choice for health brands.
Contrary to popular belief, this colour isn’t mellow. It’s energizing. Yellow is associated with sunshine and warmth and hope. A punch of yellow lends cheer and impact to a design. As a gender neutral tone, it’s great for anything associated with children. Darken the hue to a lustrous gold to evoke feelings of richness and prosperity.
Growth, abundance, renewal, sensuality, and fertility—green is the ultimate earthy hue. As a mixture of yellow and blue, green incorporates some of the qualities of each. It’s harmonious like blue and vibrant like yellow. Green is great for anything related to the environment as well as designs related to wealth, renewal, and nature. Lighter shades tend to be more energizing and vibrant while darker shades represent stability and wealth.
Blue is such a versatile colour that the shade you pick will have a huge impact on perception. Lighter blues are soft and calming but you can brighten them up to infuse them with a vibrant energy. Darker shades are ideas for projecting reliance and stability, which makes them great for tech and financial businesses.
Long associated with royalty, purple is powerful, but it’s also linked to creativity and the imagination. In design, sweet shades like lilac and lavender feel light and romantic while darker shades invoke a sense of style and luxury.
Black is tremendously versatile. It can be conservative, modern, traditional or unconventional, depending on how it’s paired. In design, black has most commonly used for typography and other functional parts. However, black has recently become one of the most popular colour combinations for tech unicorns like Uber, Vice, and WeWork, who pair it with grey for a sleek, streamlined image.
White is often associated with cleanliness and sterility, which makes it ideas for salons, beauticians, and absolutely anything medical related. As a neutral backdrop, white amplifies other colours and can feel either warm or cool depending on how it’s used.
Grey is the choice for corporate designs where formality and professionalism are key. It’s a sophisticated color. Pure grays are shades of black, though shades of blue or brown may be mixed in. With sharp bright colours like pink or orange, grey can be stylish and tremendously edgy.
Beige, Cream, and Ivory
Beige, ivory and cream are the quiet, sophisticated choices that are generally used as backgrounds to reflect and amplify accent colours. Designers may choose to work with thesw ecolours when they want to lighten and soften dark colours without the stark contrast of white.
When it comes to business and branding, it’s a good idea to take advantage of every edge to attract and connect with your audience. If you want to learn what colours may be best for your business and branding, talk to us. In the meantime, here’s a quick breakdown.
- Red: Passion, Love, Hunger, Drive, Attention
- Orange: Energy, Vitality, Health, Change
- Yellow: Happiness, Hope, Warmth
- Green: New Beginnings, Abundance, Nature, Fertility
- Blue: Serenity, Responsibility, Tranquility, Establishment
- Purple: Creativity, Royalty, Wealth, Imagination,
- Black: Mystery, Elegance, Class, Edge
- Gray: Reserved, Formal, Professional
- White: Purity, Cleanliness, Virtue, Sterility, Health
- Beige, Cream or Ivory: Calm, Elegance, Purity, Health, Nature