The psychology of colour

A lifetime of experiences and learned associations can skew perceptions and further subjectify a most subjective of sciences. 

This said, the theory exists; and it holds weight. 

Colour plays a vital role in the design of a new brand or the refreshing of an existing one. Colours get noticed first, with consumer perception of your brand being heavily influenced in the first few seconds. Thus, it is crucial that your palette choices convey the message of your business in the best possible way.

Your brand has a personality of itself and the colours should reflect that in abundance. A starting point would be to ask yourself a few questions about your brand:

Direct or Humorous?

Affordable or exclusive?

Masculine or feminine?

Contemporary or traditional?

Youthful or mature?

Boisterous or serious?


Use this colour if you want to grab the attention of your audience. Red exudes the sense of desire, love and passion; It’s a colour that communicates with your audience on a visceral level, encouraging impulsivity and action. Take a look around the Internet and take note of the amount of call’s to action are coloured with red, either in the text or background box.


A colour which should be used in delicate and effective balance with others; yellow is the most vibrant of colours. It is after all, the colour of the sun and thus is associated with positive emotion and light. Overuse yellow at your peril however (too much of a good thing, huh?) as it can serve as a distraction from other content which could negatively effect the way in which your brand is viewed. If excess yellow is preventing effective communication with your audience, are they really going to stick around to make sense of it? Probably not.


Inspiring sincerity, loyalty, confidence and intelligence, blue is most often used in corporate branding. The term blue-chip is associated with investment companies that represent safety, stability and profitability. Who wouldn’t aspire to be those things when branding their business? It’s a versatile colour that can provoke a range of emotions, from bright blues creating a sense of vibrancy while duller blues can evoke a sense of melancholy and hopelessness in the audience.


The colour of nature, green stands as a symbol of life, fresh starts, safety, reproductivity and environmental awareness. It’s not all nature and goodness however; it is often used as a shallow status symbol for money, wealth and envy. With the colour being so widespread in nature – and thus, our everyday life – it is the perfect colour to serve as a background/complimentary for various brand designs.

green logos


Purple, a combination of red and blue, is seen as delicate, rare and precious due to the absence of the colour in nature. You see a purple plant or animal and it captures the eye like few others don’t you think? Use this colour in your brand to achieve a luxurious impression that exudes sophistication to your audience


Used by high-end brands across the world, black is a corporate colour that signifies authority, sophistication and elegance. Used in tandem with another colour or white to create negative space, the balance of black is vital. Too much and your audience will be overwhelmed with negative emotions of darkness and even death; both things that evoke fear.


Connected to the earth more than any other colour, brown creates a sense of enduring stability and reliability.can come across as dull if not used as part of a more expansive colour palette and can be divisive; very much in the same way that some people like the appearance of Autumn (heavily associated with brown) and others dislike it as it signifies a movement towards the darkness of Winter.

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