The Importance of Color Theory in Branding and Design

Our culture has harnessed the knowledge of colors to create products and marketing. See the importance of color theory in branding and design.

Updated on July 25, 2022
The Importance of Color Theory in Branding and Design

Humans have an incredible way of understanding and applying what we learn to enhance the world around us. One of the things that impact the way we interact with things every day is basic color theory, or the science and art of using color. Over the years our culture has harnessed the knowledge of this theory to create products and marketing that affect our daily lives. In this article, you’ll see the importance of color theory in branding and design.

The Importance of Color Theory in Branding and Design

As you delve deeper into color theory, it can explain in great detail how humans perceive color. Not only does it explore how we physically see and process color, but how we emotionally and intellectually process it as well. It also analyzes how humans understand the effects of color when they are mixed, matched, or contrasted with each other. The biggest thing to learn from color theory is how colors communicate messages to people. It has become one of the most vital marketing strategies to consider for companies and their products because of how much you can say with different colors.

Many children learn about the fundamentals of color theory when they are young. They are typically introduced first to learning the primary colors: red, blue, and yellow. As their comprehension of color grows. We move into learning about how they can combine to create secondary and tertiary colors. As we get older, we can forget this. Even though it can be quite relevant to the work we do today.

Color Psychology Study

Many people don’t realize the power that color holds and how it affects the way we make everyday decisions. In the same manner that a business name can affect the way, a brand is perceived. Color also holds influence over the purchasing habits of buyers. It’s for this reason that tools such as this business name generator and the color wheel were created. Some people have entire consultant careers based around color, as knowing the effects it has on people is incredibly valuable.

A study on color psychology in the context of marketing is ready. So, the most interesting piece of information they found was that most people make up their minds. So, within 90 seconds of their initial reaction to something. Whether it was people or products. They found colors can not only contribute to standing out among the competition. But that it also influences our moods and feelings. These are some conclusions that professionals have made in regards to what colors they choose to invoke certain feelings.

Colors and Feelings: Color Theory in Design

Red – This color is usually associated with urgency, it creates a feeling of high energy. Often seen when it comes to clearance sales.

Orange – Alerting and aggressive, generally a good call to action color.

Yellow – Known to make people feel bright and vibrant. This color is used to make people feel excited.

Green – Seen as relaxing, easygoing or associated with wealth. Many stores use this color to help customers feel relaxed.

Blue – Invokes feelings of security and trust. Many businesses and banks go with this as their main color.

Pink – Traditionally this color has been used to market products to women because it’s seen as romantic and feminine. But times are changing on using “traditional” gender colors.

Purple – A calming and soothing color that is often used in marketing for anti-aging beauty products.

Black – There is something always sleek and powerful about black. Many luxury products and brands make good use of this color.

Different Approaches

Each different marketing tactic requires different approaches to color, but remaining cohesive is always the most important. Decisions around your initial colors and design can be really difficult. So, turning to a professional is always a great idea if you need some extra support. Here are some things to consider for choosing colors for your different branding needs.

Logo Color Theory in Design

It’s not easy to know where to start when it comes to creating a logo for your business. Every business should have a standard black and white logo for different uses. But having the main one that’s colorful will help you stand out among the most recent trends. Your logo is essentially the most important symbol used to represent your brand. Your logo should tell the story of your brand. Color is one element that can communicate a great deal about you.

In another study, Labrecque and Milne discovered through their research on color differentiation in the marketplace. That particular industries frequently use the same certain colors. For example, over 75% of credit card brand logos use the color blue. While 20% of fast-food brand logos use red. Many established brands like Coca-Cola and Starbucks are known for their iconic colors. These weren’t random or bold choices, but they have certainly been impactful. A logo is a powerful visual tool and that’s exactly. Why you should put a lot of stock into the color you choose for yours.

It’s a great idea to consider investing in a good logo from a professional company. They have a wealth of experience when it comes to knowing what works and what doesn’t. Many agencies and companies have done testing to show what logo elements are successful. They can usually help you come up with an entire creative suite around it. You convey what you want them to know about you. Your business goals, and they can suggest shapes and colors that will best benefit you.

Web Color Theory in Design

For most companies, a website is considered their storefront, especially during these times. The way a site looks can turn a customer away instantly if they don’t connect with it. You can see how quickly people leave on the bounce rate. That’s always a good way to tell if the colors on your site are working. We know that UX design can improve your website conversion significantly. Part of this process is determining your color palette ahead of time. 

Depending on your brand and the type of work you do there are some general go-to’s. You can also be bold and step out of the box so you can stand out among the crowd. There are tons of resources on color theory for designers and many companies. They have talented designers with years of experience and the latest knowledge under their belt. They can help you figure out the best color combinations. Functions to make your site optimize for your target audience.

Another thing to take into consideration when designing colors for your website is to ensure you are following the accessibility standards that exist today. These standards are in place so that anyone can access your website in almost the same form and function. By being inclusive and accessible, your site is available to anyone, and no one is on their visual impairments. 

Social Media Marketing

We use social media every day, and the use of new networks and tactics for marketing is only going to grow. The way we interact with colors at the rate and speed of social media certainly has an impact on the decisions we make. Many people will look at your social media and will decide almost right away if they want to stick around. These seemingly trivial details play a major role in influencing first impressions. There is something visually appealing about a cohesive feed and there are several tools, tips, and ways to color-coordinate like a pro for your feed or grid. A simple tip is to start with a palette for four to five colors and play around with which ones will be your main color and which ones will be accents. 

We have generally come to understand that colors on the cooler spectrum like blue and green may make people feel calm, trustful or tranquil. On the other hand, warm colors have known to trigger a range of emotions from anger and hostility to comfort and warmth. 

Most people would assume that green is a more friendly and non-threatening color compared to one like red, which is more dominating and appealing to customers. However, in a study from HubSpot on the effects of color and marketing, they tested two different call-to-action buttons. Their results were surprising to some, they found that the red button outperformed the green button by 23%. It just goes to show that even what we thought we knew about color theory still has room to evolve.

Email Marketing Color Theory in Design

Thinking about colors when it comes to your email marketing is also important. Sharing your information through email is a lot different than other means. Many people to plain white emails, so you definitely need to stand out. On the other hand, having too much color might give people the wrong impression. There’s a fine line to standing out amongst the rest when it comes to e-mail marketing and paying attention to the colors you use is vital. You also need to consider how people will be viewing the email; is it on desktop or mobile? Screen sizes also matter when it comes to choosing colors to use. So a great application of color theory in design.

Keeping on-brand is important, you want people to see colors and immediately associate them with you and your company. At the same time, people might find the content stale, if they see the same colors they see on a regular basis they may be quick to trash the email because they can assume they know what it’s about. Switching up colors from time to time keeps things fresh. You may get even a higher inbox open rate when swapping for new colors because people by you offering something new, yet familiar.

Print Materials

While most marketing is digital these days there is still a need for print materials and there are some extra things to consider when it comes to printing and colors. So, how to get the best print color? When it comes to printing colors there’s some technical stuff to know to ensure you’re getting the best color in your prints. There are two basic mixing modes in graphic design, CMYK and RGB. So a great application of color theory in design. When it comes to design it’s essential to fully grasp the mechanics behind both of them to optimize your designs in the best way possible for their intended use. You should understand the basics of the two-color systems when it comes to designing and consult someone with the experience to guide you through the process.

RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue, and is the color system on almost every computer and mobile device so that the colors are consistent across all manner of devices. The CMYK color system is generally for print products and it stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (Black). So a great application of color theory in design. When printing, the ink mixes together at varying degrees to create the images. This includes all the branding things you may consider printing like flyers, business cards, stickers, billboards, and even physical merchandise. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to ensuring you are printing the correct colors.


There’s a lot to consider when it comes to your marketing, and picking colors and a logo is the best place to start. Our culture differences can even have various effects on feelings, something happy and bright in another country can easily be depressing in another based on its history. Even something as simple as tweaking a color’s hue or saturation can evoke an opposite feeling. So it’s not a decision that should be light. 

There are so many other subtle and incredible ways that color can affect our actions. That initial study showed it can be used to increase or decrease appetite, calm down customers, enhance mood or even reduce someone’s perception of waiting time. Those were only a few of the amazing findings, so it really goes to show how powerful the use of a brand’s colors truly is. There are several ways to consider how to use color in your branding or marketing.

If you’re at a loss at where to begin, look into a reputable company to help you. They can provide tailored advice and work with you to meet you where you’re at in terms of budget for your branding and design. If there’s one thing you’re going to invest in for your company it should be the look and feel of your brand. If you want to successfully connect with your customers and make them feel a certain type of way, you have to consider the colors behind your brand.