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Social Media Marketing for Business

Darnelle O’Brien


May 6, 2015

The Role of Color in Brand

If you’re wondering what color to use with your brand or which color to paint the office, think carefully because the colors you choose can affect your ability to achieve your goals.

There’s been a lot written about color psychology, some proven hypotheses and some mere hunches. What we do know is; color can greatly effect human emotion and behavior.


The power of color

From a marketing perspective, if color can affect human behavior, that’s powerful stuff. But here’s the tricky part: just like language, the meaning of color can vary across cultures and perceptions. Before tweaking your brand or painting your premises, research the meaning (and therefore the effect) your chosen color may have on your business.

Generalizing color psychology


Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Robert Plutchik created The Wheel of Emotions. The Wheel is used to illustrate different emotions. Plutchik first proposed his cone-shaped model (3D) or the wheel model (2D) in 1980 to describe how emotions were related.

He suggested 8 primary bipolar emotions: joy versus sadness; anger versus fear; trust versus disgust; and surprise versus anticipation. Additionally his model makes connections between the idea of an emotion circle and a color wheel. Like colors, primary emotions can be expressed at different intensities and can mix with one another to form different emotions.

The Wheel of Emotions should is open to interpretation. It was created in the 1980s (around 35 years ago), and it’s safe to say perceptions have changed.

The changing perception of color

We asked clients and colleagues, read numerous articles and teachings as well as used our own perceptions and knowledge to update the generalized color psychology from a K.I.S.S perspective.

Red is often associated with the color of energy, passion, action, ambition and determination. It can also be associated with anger, rage and annoyance. Online, red is often associated with call to action and conversions.

Orange is associated with social communication, technology and optimism.

Yellow is the color of the mind. It’s optimistic and cheerful.

Green is the color of balance, growth and innovation.

Blue is associated with trust and peace. It can suggest loyalty and integrity as well as conservatism, which is why you see blue in a lot of corporate organizations. 

Purple is the color of the imagination. It can be creative and individual.

Brown is friendly, down-to-earth and is associated with security, protection, comfort and material wealth.

Grey is compromise. Nor black nor white, it’s the transition between two non-colors. It’s unemotional.

Silver has a feminine energy; it is related to the moon and the ebb and flow of the tides – it is fluid, emotional, sensitive and mysterious.

Gold is the color of success, achievement and triumph. Associated with abundance and prosperity, luxury and quality, prestige and sophistication and elegance, the color psychology of gold implies affluence, material wealth and extravagance.

White is color at its most complete and pure, the color of perfection. The color meaning of white is purity, innocence, and completion. White is said to be the one color NOT to paint your office as staff can get bored and distracted as their thoughts wander.

Black is similar to gold in that it conjures an association with abundance, prosperity and luxury. It can also be seen as secretive, or in some cases evil.

Color in brand

Because color is left to perception, the color generalizations discussed above should be considered but there are can be exceptions to the rule.

Before changing your brand to red to get more online conversions, think about how to complement your existing palette. For example, if red increase online conversions – can you use an element of red to perhaps change your call-to-action buttons? Or if orange is the color of communication and your brand is green and blue, can you use an image style with an orange wash?

Darnelle O’Brien


Darnelle is the Founder of The K.I.S.S Marketing Agency. Darnelle recognises that business owners eager to market their businesses, can be overwhelmed by so many strategy options.

She realised pretty quickly there was a genuine need to “Keep it Simple”. So in 2013, The K.I.S.S Marketing Agency was born. Together with her team Darnelle strives to deliver simple, yet effective marketing solutions for businesses.

Darnelle has over a decade of marketing experience in generating demand and creating buzz through all platforms. Her warm personality and “can do” attitude combined with her strength and passion for strategy, brand and digital, Darnelle ensures that all client briefs are realised in a timely and effective manner.

This time, do things a little different.