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How Color Theory Affects Your Brand

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There are two things people immediately notice when discovering a new brand; the logo and the color. In most cases, these two go hand-in-hand. You can’t strip a brand of its color and expect people to still recognize the brand, at least not immediately. 

Let’s take a walk into the ‘what-if’ territory. What if Apple suddenly added bright red to their brand color palette? Or neon pink? It would certainly give everyone a whiplash, or an eerily inappropriate feeling, at the very least.  The same goes for other brands that have successfully integrated colors into their entire brand identity.

This is where color theory and branding meet. A brand color palette is applied to nearly all their business needs until the audiences make the association between the colors and the brand by themselves. Throughout this entire implementation, it is crucial to make sure the colors look visually pleasing to the eyes and align with the brand message.

After all, you can’t just slap on random or a myriad of your favorite colors for your brand. For all the business owners out there, this is a sign for you to consider—or reconsider—your color of choice for the brand. In this article, we’ll get to know about the color wheel and color psychology for branding, along with tips on how to tackle the dilemma between colors.


Color Wheel in Designing A Brand

For starters, color theory is a fundamental knowledge for creating visually appealing color compositions in branding. Just because a set of colors matches each other, doesn’t mean it will look good for the brand. For instance, the earth tone color palette is a favorite of many, yet it risks appearing too plain to properly grab the audience’s attention.

A fixed brand color palette normally consists of a base color, accent color, and neutral color. Here’s a simple breakdown of each color composition:


  • Base color: The most dominant color of the brand, usually reflecting the brand’s main personality. It’s used in larger areas and sets the overall tone of the design.
  • Accent color: The secondary color to complement the base color, functions as an added visual interest to emphasize specific elements. It creates a contrast against the base color to be the guide of the reader’s eyes for important details.
  • Neutral color: It’s used to balance out the overall color palette. It’s usually not categorized as warm or cool tones, often including shades of white, black, beige, and brown.


Keep in mind that choosing the main colors needs to build a cohesive color palette. Referring to the color wheel before establishing a fixed color palette for a brand is a great way to balance out a color scheme.

Many cite the more common color scheme to be able to maintain good color harmony, such as complementary, analogous, triadic, etc. Here’s a simple guide on how the color wheel works amazingly to keep an appealing color scheme:


Common Color Scheme Illustrated by Pittsburgh Magazine


Using Color Theory to Decide on the Color Palette

After delving into the usage of the color wheel, let’s talk about another part of color theory called color psychology. Granted that the significance of colors in brand identity is mainly attributed to the visual aspect, but is that all? How the audiences perceive a brand relates more to the emotional state and the connection they have with the brand itself.

Making the audience feel things will have more influence rather than what they actually think. As long as certain colors can evoke certain emotions in the majority of people, it’s easy to correlate the choice of brand colors to what they are trying to achieve.

Color psychology for branding is a vital way of cultivating emotional connection with the audiences. Have you ever questioned the reason behind the color choice? Did the founder of Coca-Cola simply like red, hence the brand colors? That might be possible, though, for many other brands, it is more than just about preferences.

Red strongly stands for passion, excitement, anger, and many other heightened emotions. For a brand that promises happiness and excitement from companionship, it is fitting for Coca-Cola to use the loud red to scream ‘hey, sharing is fun!!’.


Not only the primary colors, different hues also elicit different emotions for people. Many associate light blue with peace, trust, and even innocence, while dark blue stands for professionalism, authority, and maturity. This indicates that specific brand personality need a fitting color for their identity.

Now for the most confusing part, how to choose the color? Well, imagine your brand as a person. Are they cheerful? Smart? Quiet? Go with warm colors if you’re trying to convey happiness, and cool tones if you’re aiming for professionalism. Now you have fewer—and less confusing—options, you can start looking for each color tone and the fitting shades. Remember to keep your brand personality in mind when choosing a color!


In Short, Don’t Just Change the ‘Color’

That being said, if you’re having a problem with your brand color, try identifying the identity first before jumping to change the entire color palette. There is no fixed rule to choose colors, though, and this article more or less can be a rough guidelines for your business decision.

Another tip for business owners, consulting a professional is always a great solution for your big business dilemma, especially about branding. Luckily for you though, Avond Studio is your friendly business-slash-branding consultant, willing to talk about anything and everything to kickstart your business.

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