Tips for entrepreneurs: Your branding deserves careful colour consideration

When a woman wears red she attracts more attention from men than when she wears any other colour. So say a number of studies. On the other hand, wearing blue while giving a speech will build trust and rapport between you and your audience.

The psychology of colour and its effect on consumers was one of the most enjoyable and useful courses I took during my university days, and I regularly debate the power of one colour over another when I’m working with my clients.

They often want to work with a shade they prefer personally, rather than choosing the hue that will have the most effect. It is only after we have a chat about the psychology of colour that they change their minds.


Human minds are wired to respond to colour. A study published by colormatters.com revealed that the No 1 visual component people remember most about a brand is its logo colour. Colour increases brand recognition by up to 80 per cent. If I ask you to name a fast-food restaurant associated with the colour red, I am pretty sure that McDonald’s would be your top answer.

When it comes to branding, choosing the right hue will not only help to evoke the emotion you would like your customers to feel, it will also ensure you stand out from the crowd.

So how do you make the right choice when it comes to creating your own business or rebranding an existing entity? My suggestion is to first spend as much time as possible choosing the right colour palette and to work with someone who has a background in colour psychology. Here are what four of the most popular shades are associated with:

The colour red is a strong hue that conveys power, youth, excitement, danger, love, passion, and also creates a sense of urgency. The energy drink Red Bull uses it in its logo and it works perfectly, as it attracts those who are young and daring. When red is used in restaurants, it is a great appetite builder and it also encourages customers to finish their food fast. That is why numerous fast-food chains use it in their interior and as the brand’s main colour. Because of its strength, it is best to not have it dominant shade but perhaps as a secondary brand colour.

Blue is one of the most common colours selected for branding. Service and IT companies use it as a main or a dominant logo colour. It conveys trustworthiness, authority, and reliability. Examples of its use include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Barclays bank. However, when choosing blue, make sure to pick the right shade so that your brand does not appear to be targeting children rather than potential banking clients.

Black demands that customers take a business seriously. It represents power, luxury, mystery and history. Black is a bold colour that has a memorable effect on clients. The best way to use it is to contrast it against a lighter shade. For my consultancy’s logo I use both black and white. With the right paper and material, such as matt versus glossy, and the right texture, you could have a highly sophisticated brand on your hands.

Last but not least, green signifies good health, is environmentally friendly and can also represent wealth and growth. When perceiving green, people automatically relax and unwind. It is a commonly used in the interiors of cafes and health spas. Again a brand must select the right shade. While dark green indicates wealth, a brighter tone portrays rebirth and growth – perfect for healthy or organic food brands.

When creating your brand identity, focus on your brand’s colour more than the design. It is the element people will remember first about your business. Never underestimate a colour’s effect. Get it right and you will attract customers; get it wrong and you will drive them away.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @manar_alhinai.

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