Don’t overlook the importance of using color when branding your business. Your ad is 40 percent more likely to be read if printed in color rather than simply black and white. But choosing the wrong colors to represent your brand can lead to lost sales. What’s a brand to do? Here are helpful guidelines for selecting the color palette most likely to engage customers in a positive way.

How colors set the tone

Color helps create a distinct identity for your business by defining your brand personality, and manufactures need to make sure the color scheme selected to represent the brand accurately represents your brand promise.

Studies show that the brand colors should “fit” what’s being sold. Like words carefully chosen to describe your products and services, colors also need to be selected to enhance the image and provide value to the brand. For example, if you specialize in manufacturing rugged products known for strength and durability, bold primary colors like red, green, and blue convey that brand promise more accurately than pastels. Cognitive dissonance occurs when expectations do not match the experience — such as when the colors representing the brand do not fit with the brand promise. This inconsistency creates doubt and mistrust with your audience. They distance themselves from your brand, because nobody enjoys feeling doubt and mistrust.

Gender bias, personal opinion and other considerations

Some dismiss color psychology completely, claiming personal color preference is solely based on individual experiences. For example, years after graduation, you may refuse to purchase clothing that represents your archrival’s team colors. But there is a large body of research that supports the claim that color is an important factor in the purchasing decision, and can be leveraged to strongly influence emotions and purchasing behavior.

While acknowledging the role personal preference plays and knowing there is an exception to every rule, brands can — and should — leverage the large body of research available when carefully choosing the colors to appeal to their specific audience. For example, research shows blue is a universally popular color. In fact, people are more likely to make purchases at a retail store that uses blue in its branding. But that didn’t stop Victoria’s Secret from going all-in on a pink color scheme, which has proven to be a more popular color with women. Know your customers and what appeals to them.

Colors: How many and how much 

Typically, an effective brand logo will only be made of one or two colors. That’s because logos need to be simple to be recognizable at a glance, and easily reproduced in a variety of formats. However, the overall color palette designated for your brand could include up to six or eight colors. This “color family” represents the options available for all of your marketing and communications — including the color of your web site text, infographics, brochures, signage, and business cards. And no matter what the initial point of entry, the color scheme of everything related to your business needs to consistently represent the brand. Imagine spreading everything related to your business across a table. Does anything stick out like a sore thumb? The brand colors should be ubiquitous and universal across every piece.

Color is an incredibly complex topic, and what works for one brand could be disastrous for another. id8 is a branding agency that offers a deep understanding of how color affects human behavior, and we have worked with manufacturers across industries to thoughtfully select the best color palettes that produce the best conversion rates. Ready to select the color palette that will set the tone for a brighter future? Contact us today!