How Brands Use The Psychology Of colour To Manipulate You


Some brands are instantly recognisable by a single colour. For example, the Tiffany blue box is universal (test your knowledge of trademarked colours by taking this pop quiz).

The colour a company uses to brand itself conveys how trustworthy they are to consumers, the quality of their products, and much more.

We’ve put together a fun colour guide based on findings by Karen Haller, a UK-based business colour and branding expert who has consulted with a number of well-known brands including Dulux, Orange Mobile, and Logitech.

Brands use red when they want to be seen as powerful, passionate companies.

What it means: Red is the colour of power and passion. Haller says it can also be linked to excitement, energy, and physical courage.

Which brands use it: The Virgin Group is one of the biggest, most powerful brands in the world. Even when they were just starting out, Richard Branson was smart to use red to convey confidence and energy. Coca-Cola is another big brand that uses red in its lettering. Recently, French shoemaker Christian Louboutin SA won the right to trademark the brand's distinctive red soles after suing Yves Saint Laurent.

Source: Karen Haller Colour And Design Consultancy

Brands use green to show their youthfulness and love of Mother Earth.

What it means: Green is the colour of money and envy, but it also signifies the environment, Mother Earth, and universal love, Haller says. Green is attractive to youth and to those who enjoy life.

Which brands use it: The green mermaid on the centre of every Starbucks cup is intended to brand the coffee company as one that is young and Earth-friendly. Starbucks is proud of its responsibility to the environment and its fair trade coffee products. Garnier Fructis is another green-coloured brand, whose shampoos and other hair and body products jump off the shelves.

Source: Karen Haller Colour And Design Consultancy

Brands use blue to seem calm and logical.

Brands use purple to seem luxurious and whimsical.

Brands use black to signify exclusivity and glamor.

Brands use yellow to show that they're fun and friendly.

Brands use orange to signify playfulness and physical comfort.

Brands use pink to show that they're sweet or sexy, depending on the pink.

Brands use brown to show warmth and dependability.

What it means: Chocolate is something that first comes to mind when you think of brown, but the deeper meaning behind the colour is warmth, safety, reliability, and dependability, says Haller.

Which brands use it: UPS is a brand consumers want to trust to get their mail and packages from point A to point B on time. Brown is a great colour choice for them. On the chocolate side of things, original M&Ms come in the easily identifiable brown packaging, and all the warm feelings of the sweet chocolate are there in the brand.

Source: Karen Haller Colour And Design Consultancy

Now learn about the companies behind the colours

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.