The 7 Primary Colors For Branding + What NOT To Ever UseFeb 21, 2022
THE 7 PRIMARY COLORS FOR BRANDING + WHAT NOT TO EVER USE
Today, we’re talking about one of my favorite subjects: color, of course! But we’re breaking it down really tangibly into the 7 primary colors you should be choosing from for your brand color, and I’ll also share what I think you should never use.
If you want to dive deeper into this concept, I highly recommend taking the Color Quiz. This will give you some great ideas for your new brand color. Or maybe you’ve already chosen it, and getting the results of the quiz will make you feel even stronger about your choice.
We will discuss:
- My journey with color psychology
- The seven primary colors for branding
- Physical and emotional reactions to color
- How color psychology supports your messaging
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MY JOURNEY WITH COLOR PSYCHOLOGY
As we dive into color, I want to explain the journey I’ve been through to get to this point. I think some people think they can talk to anyone about color psychology, and some people say they have studied color psychology when they have really only studied one part of it. There are so many ways to look at color, and remember, color psychology is looking at specific hues as a determinant of human behavior and emotions. For example, exposure to gray over a long period of time suppresses energy and can lead to feelings of sadness or depression.
In order to truly understand how to use color, we also need to know about design. Interior design, designing a building, or designing a website, all rely on different aspects of color. For example, you can find a correlation between arguments within couples or families depending on the predominant colors in the dining room or the bedroom.
For me, I also wanted to know the science behind how colors resonated with the body. We have to look at the science of the specific wavelengths and frequencies of the colors, as there are only six that fall on the visible light spectrum. It’s fascinating how we can use specific colors to create measurable phenomena in the body. You have probably heard of red light therapy for healing and regeneration, and that is based on color science.
I didn’t stop there, though. I also wanted to look at how color was used in film. People look at our brands and interact with us on social media, our website, and even on Zoom calls. They are looking at screens, just like when we sit down and watch Netflix. It’s important to understand how an audience reacts to color when they are seeing it through a screen.
Last but not least, I wanted to share a bit about my personal journey. I dealt with a lot of illness in my late teens and early twenties, so I also studied how light frequencies were absorbed into certain plants and then those plants could be used for healing specific parts of the body.
That is the background of how I have studied color over the past five or six years, and probably longer than that if you include my film career. Understanding all aspects of color helps me to educate you all in order to make holistic decisions about your brand.
Yesterday I received a message from someone asking about my thoughts on the color purple from a color psychology perspective. I could write a full page, if not multiple pages, about purple. It’s not as easy as boiling it down to one specific thing so you know that you chose correctly. We have to have a holistic understanding of our brand color to truly understand what we are communicating to others. We will feel empowered every time we give an interview wearing our color, every time someone comes to our website, every time we present an offer, and every time we post on social media. We will know with absolute certainty that we are not only attracting our ideal client but also that we are nurturing and supporting them through our education process.
THE 7 PRIMARY COLORS FOR BRANDING
Let’s start talking about what the seven primary colors should be in branding as well as what colors should never be used in branding. When you look at a color wheel, you’re going to see red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. You aren’t going to see pink, but I do include pink as the seventh option for branding. Pink or magenta is actually a color that the brain invents to transition between red and purple.
I also did my research, and it is undeniable that pink has a tangible effect on the body. I think I mentioned in a previous episode that they actually did an experiment where they painted the admission cell at a prison pink, and it calmed people down. Fifteen minutes in the cell had a noticeable calming effect, and then the people could be transitioned to wherever they were going. The calming effect lasted at least thirty minutes, and the researcher noted that it is impossible for someone to accelerate their heart rate in a pink environment. So even though the brain invents pink as a transitional color, we still react to it.
I wanted to include pink in our color wheel because of this noticeable effect, so let’s start there. Pink helps someone feel compassion, safety, warmth, and calm. Magenta has a bit of a different quality, invoking more of a revolution or a call to arms.
The other six primary colors for branding are red, purple, blue, yellow, orange, and green. They all resonate in the visible light spectrum, and if you watch the sky you will see every one of them except for green. Green, however, is all around us in our natural environment. And yes, the Northern Lights are green as well.
SO...THE SEVEN PRIMARY COLORS ARE...
PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL REACTIONS TO COLOR
Because they are within the visible light spectrum, the body has a physical reaction to seeing these primary colors. It is important to pull from them versus the colors that are not in the visible light spectrum because those do not affect the body. I’m not saying you can’t use colors like gray, brown, black, or white in your branding, but I wouldn’t make them the primary color. We want our primary color to touch the person looking at us or at our brand assets. We want them to have a physical, emotional, and mental reaction. We want them to feel hope, inspiration, courage, excitement, motivation, or whatever that primary emotion is. We want them to feel something.
If they are looking at brown, gray, black, or white, they might feel something but it won’t register strongly because those colors are not on the visible light spectrum. They also are not chakra colors - specific light corresponds to different organs, and your organs do not respond to brown, gray, black, and white. If you are attracted to those colors and want them in your brand, that’s absolutely fine. Just make sure they are supporting colors rather than the primary brand color.
The colors on the visible light spectrum are also each tied to a chakra or an organ, and you can study this in all kinds of natural healing, meditation, and yoga practices. Every culture has some sort of relationship to what they may or may not call the chakras. These colors can be helpful in different stages of healing, are recognized in film, and can be used to bring about a strong emotional response (such as fear, excitement, sadness, joy, stillness, or mysticism). Every one of the six primary colors (plus pink) are used in this way on film.
Now, you might be saying, “Michelle, just tell me what every color means.” That is reserved for the Color Course, because I go into so much detail.
When choosing your color, you have to take the physical response into consideration as well as the culture of where you are being seen, where you are advertising, and where most of your customers are coming from. There are also aspects of color that are specific to culture, so it’s really fascinating.
HOW COLOR PSYCHOLOGY SUPPORTS YOUR MESSAGING
If you give attention to this building block of your brand, it supports everything else you will do in the future. It will work in your messaging, in your marketing, in your sales process, in your conversion process, how you book press, how you are at events, and the list goes on and on. It all stems from color. Imagine all the work you put into messaging and marketing. If you add this color component into your business, what could change? I’ve seen it work time and time again.
We will also work on your brand palette and help you with your website and your entire visual presence. This goes hand in hand with everything you have already done to build your business, and it gives you the visual fuel and push so that people can see all the hard work you have put into your brand. Subconsciously, they will understand instantly who you are and what you do that supports the messaging you are putting out into the world. They will feel like you are the right person for them, and they will make their purchasing decision based on color psychology.
This is why all the big businesses use color psychology, and it’s why they make so much money (especially from their commercials). If you don’t believe me, check out some commercials and start watching which brands use which colors.
I hope you enjoyed this little tasting of the seven primary colors you should be using in your brand and the ones you should not be using. We would love to hear your feedback! Come on over to any social channel @visibilityvixen and shout me out or you can send me an email. I’d love to hear from you! And feel free to join our Facebook group, The Visible Entrepreneur. We do classes every week over there.
Go out there and choose your primary brand colors with confidence!
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