May 6, 2015 By integrate

The Science Behind Colors

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One of my favorite parts of working on a new design is deciding what color scheme I want to go with. This has become second nature to me, but there was a time when I used to scroll through hundreds of color schemes online and aimlessly plug them into my design in the hopes that they would work. Of course, I now know better than to just use any random color, because every color has its own purpose and its own meaning.

Colors aren’t selected for a company’s branding at random; believe it or not, there is science behind choosing the color scheme for a brand. To the non-designer eye, a set of colors may remind you of a holiday or memory, but to an artist, those colors mean so much more. For instance, red and green are generally associated with Christmas, black and orange with Halloween, and pink and white with Valentine’s day. However, to a designer, they could mean enthusiasm, energy or anger. When these colors stand on their own, they can trigger an entirely different set of associations without even noticing.

Here is a list of what the most common branding colors slyly represent:

Red: According to Design Shack, red can evoke hunger, excitement, anger, heat, danger, romance and urgency. Red is most commonly used for two types of brands; food and clothing. Food brands relish in the fact that the color can stir up hunger. Clothing brands utilize the color to give the public a sense of excitement and passion about their brand.

Blue: Blue can represent credibility, cleanliness, calmness, health, power and professionalism. Unsurprisingly, hospitals and insurance companies use a great deal of blue in their branding.

Orange: Orange can mean creativity, youthfulness, expressiveness, enthusiasm, or innocence. Entertainment, education and sports companies tend to lean towards orange in a majority of their branding, simply because it evokes the excitement they want to be felt in their stadiums and creativity.

Yellow: Yellow can emanate a sense of energy, drive, invention, youth and positivity. Food and drink brands like to incorporate yellow EVERYWHERE. From Sonic to McDonalds and Subway, many fast food chains use yellow somewhere in their branding because of the positive vibes it gives off. Tech companies also use a lot of yellow, playing off the “invention” feel of the color.

The branding of a company is hardly ever random, and neither are the colors used to brand that company. Everything has a meaning and a purpose in design; you just have to know what to look for!


Written By: Caitlyn Kaczmarek