Whether you're a small business owner, a side hustler just getting started with a project, or the CEO of a major corporation, understanding the ideas behind color theory can help your brand connect with even more customers.
Among its uses, color theory outlines the effects of specific color combinations on a viewer's mood.
"A lot of designers tell people to just have this nice color harmony for their branding," says graphic designer and brand strategist Nicte Cuevas, an ambassador with design app Adobe Spark. That's a good start, however, "it's more about the emotion that goes behind these colors. You can have a 'pretty' color palette, but if it's not driving any emotion for people, it's not really going to connect."
In other words, using the right colors on your business card, website, and other materials could influence how people perceive your company, creating a connection that boosts your business.
Here are four colors Cuevas recommends incorporating, depending on the effects you want to have on your audience:
One color Cuevas sees frequently is classic blue. "It's always been popular with major global brands," she says, because "it evokes serenity."
In nature, the color can be seen around the time of dusk, she says, when "our mind starts to calm down." Ultimately, "When we see the dusk and the sun is setting," she says, "it makes us feel this feeling of relaxation."
Brands that want to make viewers feel "calm" and "trust," she says, might consider using it. The color also represents the idea of an "ocean of possibilities."
For anyone trying to make customers feel a sense of being grounded and connected to their surroundings, consider using peach tones. This color makes "people feel a little rooted to the community, a little less in high anxiety mode," Cuevas says. "It's just bringing you down a little bit more."
Light brown, light pink, or neutral gray can also have this effect.
One color Cuevas wishes people would consider using more is orange. "Orange just infuses creativity," she says.
Other vibrant colors are trickier to use. For example, yellow is happy, but it's also "the color that you see on a lot of warning signs." Its various cultural associations can ultimately be confusing for a viewer.
Cuevas also encourages entrepreneurs to incorporate teal or aqua. "There's just so much power behind an aqua and how it connects with the water," she says. When "people want to get away mentally, they think of the ocean."
If what you want is to make your customers feel like they're getting away from day-to-day life, this might be worth considering for your color palette.
Whatever you land on with your branding and color schemes, even as you consider these examples, remember to think about your business objectives first and foremost. Who is your target audience? What do you want to tell them about why what your offering can make their lives better?
Once you know the answers to these questions, and what your customers want and need from your product or service, Cuevas says that you can better "understand what their emotions are and how you can drive that with color."
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