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Color Meaning & Symbolism
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Color Meaning & Symbolism

Color holds power. It can impact our moods, emotions, and behaviors. It can also be a source of information. While an individual’s response to color can stem from personal experience, the science of color along with color psychology supports the idea there’s far more to it. Countless studies have been conducted on the relationship between color, particularly in the areas of marketing and branding.


Here are some of the findings:


  • Color influences 85% of shoppers' purchase decisions.

  • About 62‐90% of the product assessment is based on colors alone.

  • Colors increase brand awareness by 80%.


At a basic level, colors influence how consumers view the ‘personality’ of the brand in question, so it’s important you get it right. In the following article, we’ll show you how to use the power of color in your branding by breaking down color meaning so you can choose the colors that are right for your product or business.

Brand Color & Logos

A brand’s logo and visual identity will comprise a number of visual cues, such as shapes, symbols, numbers, and words. But the number one visual component that people remember most is color.

When it comes to branding, the power of color is both emotional and practical. On an emotional level, color can affect how consumers feel when they look at a brand, while on a practical level it can help a brand stand out in the crowd.

Whether you're a designer or a business owner, it's helpful to know color meanings and symbolism so you can make informed decisions. If you choose a color meaning 'tranquility' for your extreme sports brand, you might be sending the wrong message.

Warm colors:

This includes red, yellow and orange, and variations like pink. These colors evoke warmth due to their brightness and link to the sun. In general, they convey optimism, enthusiasm, and passion.


Cool colors:

These include green, blue, purple, and their variations like violet. These colors are considered cool as they are colors commonly found in nature and are known for their calming effect. These colors are calming, relaxing, and subdued.


Neutral colors:

These include brown, black and white, as well as variations like gray. They’re often paired with warm or cool colors but are sophisticated on their own. They can be powerful and pure and are sometimes referred to as the earth tones.

Red

Red is considered to be a color of intense emotions, ranging from anger, sacrifice, danger, and heat, through to passion, and sexuality. Used in branding, it can deliver an impactful punch with the ability to increase desire. Not surprising when it’s the color of fire and blood, as well as being associated with love. It is a bold, energetic, and lively color that can symbolize strength, confidence, and power.

Pink

Pink is regarded widely in the western world as the color of femininity. Because of this, it is used to bring awareness to breast cancer and women’s products. However, like all colors, pink is quite diverse and the level of intensity can impact its meaning. Pale pink is often aimed at little girls, dusty pink is more sentimental or romantic, while hot pink indicates youthfulness.

Orange

Blending the warmth of red and the optimism of yellow, orange communicates activity and energy. And of course, it’s hard not to associate it with its namesake, immediately making it feel fresh and healthy.


Orange has different tones and shades, each with different meanings and effects. For example, light pastel peach tones are seen as sweet, conversational, and affable, whereas more intense, vibrant oranges are seen as representative of vitality, energy, and encouragement.

Yellow

Being the color of sunshine, yellow puts a smile on the dial. It is the most visible color from a distance (which is why it’s used for street signs) and communicates cheerfulness, friendliness, joy, and energy. It can also be associated with mental clarity and intellect. However, yellow is also a cautionary color used in life vests, police cordoning tape, and hazardous areas.

Green

Named after the Anglo-Saxon word grene meaning “grass” and “grow” but today it has two common associations that are paradoxical. One being nature and the environment, and the other being finance and wealth. When it comes to nature, green represents plant life and growth and is consequently used to convey being ‘green’ in the environmental, sustainable, organic, natural sense of the word. And of course, green is, as the saying goes, ‘the color of money’ (US money, that is) and therefore associated with wealth and stability.

Blue

Blue is a color that has long been associated with royalty, art, military, business, and nature, making it a color with a lot of applications. It is a favorite color for companies that wish to convey reliability, trustworthiness, and communication (think Facebook, Twitter, and Samsung) and for expressing the authority of organizations like the police. It is also appreciated for its calming and harmonious qualities being associated with the sea and sky. On the flip side, it's also used to express sadness or depression, or as we say, feeling ‘blue’.

Purple

Purple is considered a low arousal color. It is traditionally associated with royalty, majesty, or nobility as well as having a spiritual or mysterious quality. Darker shades often represent luxury or opulence while lighter lavender shades are quite feminine, sentimental, and even nostalgic.

Brown

Brown gets a lot of use in this era of organic and natural food, beauty, and products. Nature-inspired it represents a feeling of wholesomeness, orderliness, and being grounded. It is simple, strong, durable, and honest and may express that your brand has better things to care about than superfluous color when really, there are so many beautiful shades of brown to elevate any product.

White

White represents simplicity, purity, innocence, and perfection. And if you had to identify one brand that has used white to convey its brand message to perfection it would have to be Apple – white represents the simplicity of the products in both their form and function. White also comes with a starkness or sterility about it, which is often used by designers to convey a minimalist aesthetic and clean, modern quality.

Black

Black is to be taken seriously. It represents power, luxury, sophistication, and exclusivity on one hand; and death, evil, and mystery on the other. From formality to mourning to power, black is bold, classic, and not to be fooled with. While color is more likely to increase brand recognition there’s no reason black—when used appropriately—can’t be just as distinctive, memorable, and communicative of a brand’s attributes.