Beautiful woman of color with colorful background

What do your colors say about you?​

What do your colors say about you? Is your brand identity repelling or attracting your clients?

What do your colors say about you?

Choosing the right brand identity can either attract or repel potential clients

Let’s start with the foundation of color psychology, “the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior.” This study focuses on “perceptions that are not obvious, such as the taste of food.” Also, it focuses on “qualities that can cause certain emotions in people and can also enhance the effectiveness of placebos.”

To illustrate this, think of eating a brown apple. Some of you might think, Yuck! No, I’m not eating a rotting, mushy, apple! While some might think, oh, how I miss caramel apples! I can’t wait until the brisk Fall weather and the sound of children saying, “Trick or Treat!”

Basic Color Theory Wheel
Caramel apple dessert, Fall favorites
Basic Color Theory Wheel

Let’s start with the foundation of color psychology, “the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior.” This study focuses on “perceptions that are not obvious, such as the taste of food.” Also, it focuses on “qualities that can cause certain emotions in people and can also enhance the effectiveness of placebos.”

To illustrate this, think of eating a brown apple. Some of you might think, Yuck! No, I’m not eating a rotting, mushy, apple! While some might think, oh, how I miss caramel apples! I can’t wait until the brisk Fall weather and the sound of children saying, “Trick or Treat!”

Caramel apple dessert, Fall favorites
Baby/Toddler surrounded by Fall leaves/weather
80s yellow tinted phone

Most of us start seeing color at the age of five months. As we move into early childhood, we learn our colors. Over time, we create a connection, perception, and bias of those colors. All of which follow us into adulthood. For instance, how many of you grew up in the ’80s with yellow tint furniture, accessories, or appliances? I did, so I am not a fan of yellow. However, this does not mean that my client should suffer from my bias.

My point is that finding the right brand colors depends on understanding your ideal client’s psychological perception (not your own). I will go deeper into the perception of each color next month. But for now, let’s talk about the perfect recipe for your right color identity.

Interesting Fact:
Did you know color blindness/deficiency affects approximately 1 in 12 men (8%) and 1 in 200 women in the world according to Color Blindness Awareness. Know your audience!

Correct color identity = perfect cooking recipe 

The right combination of market research and understanding your ideal client (age, gender, race, what keeps them up at night, motivating factors, etc.) will help you figure out what brand colors to use to attract them. For the sake of this post, I’ll put a mouthwatering photo of Mexican tacos ;). If you have the wrong colors, it can attract the wrong clientele. Too much or even missing a spice/garnish can change the whole flavor profile.

To further illustrate, can you imagine the American Flag as anything other than red, white, and blue with white stripes and stars?

Mexican Tacos - mouth watering w/ lime, meat, and tortillas
Baby/Toddler surrounded by Fall leaves/weather

Most of us start seeing color at the age of five months. As we move into early childhood, we learn our colors. Over time, we create a connection, perception, and bias of those colors. All of which follow us into adulthood. For instance, how many of you grew up in the ’80s with yellow tint furniture, accessories, or appliances? I did, so I am not a fan of yellow. However, this does not mean that my client should suffer from my bias.

80s yellow tinted phone

My point is that finding the right brand colors depends on understanding your ideal client’s psychological perception (not your own). I will go deeper into the perception of each color next month. But for now, let’s talk about the perfect recipe for your right color identity.

Interesting Fact:
Did you know color blindness/deficiency affects approximately 1 in 12 men (8%) and 1 in 200 women in the world according to Color Blindness Awareness. Know your audience!

Correct color identity = perfect cooking recipe 

The right combination of market research and understanding your ideal client (age, gender, race, what keeps them up at night, motivating factors, etc.) will help you figure out what brand colors to use to attract them. For the sake of this post, I’ll put a mouthwatering photo of Mexican tacos ;). If you have the wrong colors, it can attract the wrong clientele. Too much or even missing a spice/garnish can change the whole flavor profile.

To further illustrate, can you imagine the American Flag as anything other than red, white, and blue with white stripes and stars?

Mexican Tacos - mouth watering w/ lime, meat, and tortillas

The American Flag

According to PBS “between 1777 and 1960. Congress passed several acts that changed the shape, design and arrangement of the flag and allowed stars and stripes to be added to reflect the admission of each new state. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well; red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.”
Rollover the colored boxes.

What do the colors mean now?

We already have a preconception of these colors and their meaning because of what we learned as children. For example, the color red makes us think of love, passion (Valentine’s Day), warning (a stop sign), blood or even the flag depending on the circumstances. In contrast, the color white has basically kept the same meaning of purity and innocence. In comparison, the color blue (dark) is perceived as trustworthy, reliable,  masculine, and is associated with the Navy.

Like life, color perceptions can change (hopefully positively with humans in the near future). For now, let me share a story of the importance of knowing your target audience for choosing the right brand colors.

Red - Present

Love/passion (Valentine's Day), blood, alert (Stop sign)

Red - Past

hardiness and valor

White - Past

Purity and innocence, hope/faith, and clean

White - Present

Purity and innocence

Blue - Past

Trustworthy, reliable/stable, Navy branch, masculine

Blue - Present

Vigilance, perseverance and justice

The American Flag

According to PBS “between 1777 and 1960. Congress passed several acts that changed the shape, design and arrangement of the flag and allowed stars and stripes to be added to reflect the admission of each new state. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well; red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.”
Rollover the colored boxes.

Red - Present

Love/passion (Valentine's Day), blood, alert (Stop sign)

Red - Past

hardiness and valor

White - Past

Purity and innocence, hope/faith, and clean

White - Present

Purity and innocence

Blue - Past

Trustworthy, reliable/stable, Navy branch, masculine

Blue - Present

Vigilance, perseverance and justice

What do the colors mean now?

We already have a preconception of these colors and their meaning because of what we learned as children. For example, the color red makes us think of love, passion (Valentine’s Day), warning (a stop sign), blood or even the flag depending on the circumstances. In contrast, the color white has basically kept the same meaning of purity and innocence. In comparison, the color blue (dark) is perceived as trustworthy, reliable,  masculine, and is associated with the Navy.

Like life, color perceptions can change (hopefully positively with humans in the near future). For now, let me share a story of the importance of knowing your target audience for choosing the right brand colors.

Stay in Touch

Connect. Attract. Impact. Grow.

Case Study 1: Knowing your client's target audience

WhatUpHomee Branding Identity Board

Mishawnda Mintz of WhatupHomee, an experienced homeschool mom and educator (and real estate investor) who offers resources for Black/African-Americans and people of color (POC) struggled with who she wanted as her target audience. 

Initially, her imagery and color choices represented the African American or Black population. Mishawnda and I spoke at length about her target audience. She decided that she wanted to change some of the imagery and branding colors to represent people of color and not solely the African American/Black community.

Once this amazing client, defined her target audience, we were able to come up with a branding package that would attract her audience. Below is her end result.

Now, let’s talk about why it’s not a good idea to base your branding colors on the colors you like the most.

Mishawnda Mintz of WhatupHomee, an experienced homeschool mom and educator (and real estate investor) who offers resources for Black/African-Americans and people of color (POC) struggled with who she wanted as her target audience. 

Initially, her imagery and color choices represented the African American or Black population. Mishawnda and I spoke at length about her target audience. She decided that she wanted to change some of the imagery and branding colors to represent people of color and not solely the African American/Black community.

Once this amazing client, defined her target audience, we were able to come up with a branding package that would attract her audience. Below is her end result.

WhatUpHomee Branding Identity Board

Now, let’s talk about why it’s not a good idea to base your branding colors on the colors you like the most.

Case Study 2: Thinking your clients will like your colors because you do

I met a wonderful person, “Max” (He/Him), when I started to venture out of my bubble to network. Max and I had a lot in common with our medical backgrounds, target audience (health/wellness niche, I have since changed since then), and much more.

Max was kind to have told me about all the local groups and networking places that I should check out plus some writing tips. During our conversation, we began talking about his branding for his local writing business. He said he already had a logo but he wasn’t sure about his brand identity. I looked at his brand colors on his website and noticed they were masculine. I inquired about the gender of Max’s target audience, and he said it was women in the health/wellness industry. Also, he said these colors were chosen by him because he liked these colors.

Original Brand Identity Colors - Masculine
Original Brand Identity

Color Identity Recommendations

As a result, I recommended Max change those colors based on color psychology information and market research that I had previously done to create my branding (our target audience was the same niche at the time). His colors lacked femininity (no softer tones) and the darker colors didn’t scream health/wellness (usually perceived as light/white/clean colors).

Note: A person doesn’t have to have all light colors in their brand identity but you want to have good representation of light and dark especially when applying it to do different media sources (social media posts, etc). In addition, you have to consider what color fonts will show up better with the chosen backgrounds without having to use a white-colored font throughout the layout causing it to look repetitive and lose that “pop” of color. You would be surprised how many would need a white font. Below is his new and improved branding board.

Brand Identity - Revised Colors
Revised Brand Identity

In addition to softer feminine colors, you will see that Max now uses a different font for the body copy of his website. We changed it from a serif font to a sans-serif font for ease of readability. In conclusion, understanding your target audience and doing market research are so important and will save you time in the end.

If you are struggling with your branding colors like Mishawnda or Max, feel free to book a consultation with me. Together we can create the right branding colors to attract your ideal client. 

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I help heart-centered, inspirational women create strategic brand identities + websites by designing intuitive and functional visual assets as a visual brand design strategist + web designer + visual storyteller.

Please let me know if you have any branding, WordPress website design or marketing questions. I’d love to help! Or if you have designs suggestions of what you want to read in your email, please let me know.
Blessings + Enviando abrazos

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