The psychology of colour in branding


I HOSTED some friends one evening not so long ago and listened to two in particular having a lengthy discussion on why the one should not use red lipstick because it was loud, bold and not appropriate for her complexion.

This friend of ours is rather conservative with colours and obviously would give anything to impose this on the rest of his friends, but despite his innuendos, Miss Red Lips would not hear of it.

The conversation was totally hilarious as Miss Red Lips gave various reasons why she would continue wearing red lipstick.

She eventually won the discussion as she was then promised red lipstick for her birthday from our colour conservative friend. This promise has still to be fulfilled as the birthday has come and gone.

As I sat there listening and laughing I could not help but think that colour has the very same effect on brands. Some consumers may absolutely love the colour of the brand and some may absolutely hate it to an extent that it influences purchase decisions because of the emotions that the colour evokes in a consumer.

I shall attempt to explain what a few colours mean in marketing and branding and possibly give examples of brands that use each colour.


It is described by authorities in the field as bold (one tick to my conservative friend). It is also described as youthful. It creates a sense of urgency and is used often to announce clearance sales. Red reminds me of the following brands, Southern Eye, Telecel, Red Seal and Coke.


This colour represents optimism, clarity and warmth. Some authors argue that it is youthful. I personally cannot decide which colour I would rather call youthful of the two colours, but the brand that quickly comes to mind is Schweppes particularly Mazoe Orange.

It is a cheerful and confident colour. Fanta Orange is a good example of a brand that uses this colour.

Represents growth and health. What quickly comes to my mind is my favourite brand of shoes. There is nothing quite as versatile for carrying one’s frame adequately and realistically (women please note) and at the same time putting a great finish to the outlook as green cross. If you don’t believe this ask an orthopedic surgeon. It does not even have to be the one who is in my broader family lest you think the process has been rigged! Naturally the Forestry Commission comes to mind and ZB Bank whose logos are green.

It is a calm colour that can be described as neutral. The Mercedes-Benz is a good example of a silver brand and so is Apple famous for the IPhones, iPads and iPods. The calm and dignified nature of the brand is the one reason why I cannot understand loud music in a Mercedes-Benz or extremely dark windows.


Blue is described as liberal, cold and is associated with progress and freedom. Other authors say that it signifies strength and dependability. Blue is a colour used frequently in banks for the staff uniforms and in logos. United Refineries is an example of a blue brand and so is Oral B.

Pink is normally used to advertise products for girls and women. It is romantic and feminine. I attended a women’s conference this past weekend where all the women wore pink. Didn’t we all look so beautiful? I am tempted to put a picture, but lest I digress. Pink is the colour used for the pink ribbons that are used as a symbol to spread breast cancer awareness.

Well this is it for today.

I hope this article is useful to someone who may want to choose a colour for their brand. Keep reading this Red Brand and remain Brand Savvy!