Every time consumers interact with a brand, it presents opportunities for the company to influence the market’s perception of them. The marketer’s responsibility is to choose the best designs for visual assets to be used during these situations that will make customers want to buy their products or acquire their services.
With the help of color theory, you can choose colors according to the visual identity your company has selected for your brand. It will ensure the assets’ alignment with your company’s values and effectively engage your target audience.
Here, we teach you the basics of color theory and, ultimately, help you determine “hue” you are.
What Is Color Theory? An Intro to Color Schemes
Choosing a color scheme requires a bit of knowledge about something called the “color theory.” In essence, this describes the guidelines that help designers and their clients decide on colors to use in designing brand assets.
Color theory is considered both an art and science of using color based on how humans perceive them, taking into account the visual effects of combinations to help pick which ones go well together. Plus, it helps create a unique palette to communicate messages on both visual and psychological levels.
It is important in branding because of the latter’s requisite: a unique and recognizable visual identity. The aesthetic appeal combined with the emotions attached to the different colors – whether by natural or cultural association (to be discussed later) – is what makes people recall a brand and discover a sense of attachment to it.
In modern color theory, you will get to use your knowledge of Sir Isaac Newton’s color wheel, which incorporates the three sets of colors: primary, secondary, and intermediate. These colors are combined to create a palette belonging to one of three main color schemes:
With only one color and varying different tints, tones, and shades associated with it, the monochromatic color scheme is the simplest of all basic color schemes. As such, it is most commonly used in minimalistic brand designs that require less distracting imagery.
There’s one major downside to it, though. This color scheme will prevent you from using other colors in your visual identity. That’s the price of simplicity.
An analogous color scheme consists of three colors sitting next to each other on the color wheel. It is quite popular for being easily found in nature, like the changing colors of leaves in autumn. Some examples of this are:
- Red, red-orange, orange
- Blue, blue-violet, violet
- Red-violet, red, red-orange
Complementary colors are those made using hues that tend to cancel out each other. This can be more than one pair of colors that produce tinges of white or black. Thus, complementary color palettes are also known as “opposite color” schemes.
The trick when coming up with a complementary color scheme is to take pairs directly opposite each other in the color wheel. In the modern color theory, this means blue and yellow, red and cyan, and green and magenta. In a simpler color wheel, this may also mean blue plus orange, yellow plus violet, and green plus red.
Color Your Brand Persona: Hue Are You?
Since time immemorial, color has played a crucial role in man’s everyday life. In fact, we are hardwired to associate colors and respond to them according to our predispositions.
For example, some colors signal danger, as in discoloration in rotting food or the changes in the sky’s hue when a storm is rolling in. Color is also integral in giving meaning to information (think of traffic lights).
Although not all individuals have the same perception or reaction to the same color, there are two ways people derive meaning from it: through natural association and cultural or psychological association.
This describes the inherent suggestion colors offer in relation to the natural world. It triggers different emotions based on the innate color of things in nature and their biological attributes, such as the level of ripeness of fruit or potentially dangerous weather conditions when the sky changes from clear blue to a gloomy gray.
Moreover, the natural association of colors also covers the frequency interval or wavelength of a certain color. This explains why blue light from certain electronic devices can disrupt our circadian rhythm.
Cultural or Psychological Association
People also derive meaning from various hues by looking through their cultural or psychological lenses. Think of it as a kind of photo filter that changes how people perceive colors depending on their specific beliefs, preferences, and culture.
Using color theory, you can understand why the market trends are what they are in relation to what the audience associates with a color naturally and psychologically.
Take blue, for example. It is naturally associated with the color of a clear sky or clean water, which is why people often see it as a peaceful and calming hue. Culturally, Americans associate it with the male gender, while the Chinese consider it a feminine hue.
This example represents the different associations made with the same color, based on the beholder’s background (i.e., geographic location and culture). This means that you need to have an in-depth understanding of your target audience before you make color scheme decisions for your brand persona.
This matter becomes even more crucial for global brands whose target audiences come from different locations and cultural backgrounds. Since different colors work in different ways in various markets, make sure that you conduct focus group testing before finalizing your visual identity.
A branding persona will always require color, even if you decide on a monochromatic scheme. Colors trigger human emotions, and these feelings help influences people’s purchase decisions.
Take advantage of how hues influence your customers by carefully putting together your branding colors with the help of our branding experts at Yellow Branding. We take pride in helping brands discover “hue” they are.