Today, I want to focus on design and brand identity as it applies to business. I spent 10 years teaching art and design at a college in Pennsylvania, and I see many marketers with websites that either never considered how color affects their image, or they grabbed a template because they thought it was “pretty.”
Now, I think I am guilty of the second scenario because my first blog banner was an image with my head in the clouds. I am still super excited about my business, but as I reconsider the image I want to portray, my clouds simply don’t cut it.
Colors have specific meanings, both symbolically and subliminally. I will cover many of them here, and as you read through the descriptive words, picture these colors used in different applications such as famous advertisements or the color of cars, and see if the meanings hold true.
- Red – Exciting, optimistic, energizing, dynamic, passion, sexy, love, intensity, desire, stimulating, speed, aggressive, danger, powerful, fire.
- Burgundy – Vigorous, elegance, richness, refinement, leadership, maturity, expensive.
- Blue – Truth, peace, healing, tranquility, cold, stability, harmony, wisdom, trust, calm, confidence, protection, security, loyalty, unity, conservatism, cleanliness, order, sky, water, technology, depression.
- Green – Nature, money, envy, healing, fertility, good luck, hope, stability, success, generosity, environment, health, renewal, youth, spring, jealousy, inexperience, misfortune, vigor.
- Brown – Earth, stability, hearth, home, outdoors, reliability, comfort, endurance, simplicity, masculinity, friendship.
- Yellow – Cheeriness, joy, action, optimism, happiness, idealism, summer, hope, imagination, sunshine, philosophy, youth, betrayal, gold, dishonesty, cowardice, deceit, illness, hazard, friendship.
- Orange – Ambition, fun, happy, energetic, balance, flamboyant, vibrant, expansive, organic, enthusiasm, warmth, friendship.
- Light-blue – Peace, tranquility, quiet, cool, clean, soft, pure, understanding.
- Purple – Spirituality, royalty, mystery, wisdom, transformation, independence, enlightenment, respect, wealth, nobility, cruelty, arrogance, mourning.
- Navy blue – Dignity, credibility, strength, authority, conservative, trustworthiness, traditional, quiet, confident, serene.
- Beige – Earthy, classic, neutral, warm, soft, bland, melancholy, unity, calm, simplicity.
- Lavender – Enchantment, nostalgia, delicacy, floral, sweet, femininity, grace, elegance.
- Gray – Neutral, corporate, classic, practical, cool, timeless, quiet, quality, security, reliability, intelligence, modesty, dignity, maturity, solid, conservative, sadness, boring.
- Silver – calm, techno, wealth.
- Gold – Wealth, royalty, richness.
- Black – Power, sexuality, sophistication, formality, elegance, wealth, mystery, fear, evil, unhappiness, depth, style, evil, sadness, remorse, anger, anonymity, underground, mourning, death.
- White – Reverence, clean, purity, simplicity, peace, humility, precision, innocence, youth, winter, good, marriage.
There are a few other colors that have specific meanings not covered here, but the ones mentioned are usual suspects in web design.
When choosing a color for your brand identity, think about your target audience. Will they be looking for a spiritually enlightening moment, then choose beige, light-blue, blue or purple. If you think they are looking for power and money, you want to consider reds, burgundy and black.
Another consideration… do you want to portray who you are – your personality, or do you want to balance your personality with color by making up for your perceived weaknesses. An example is if you are timid and shy, do you use orange to give the impression that you are friendly and approachable, or if you are flamboyant by nature, do you calm that down by using grays and navy blues?
And what about color combinations in branding?
Red and Black would be a very powerful combination that exudes energy, wealth and sophistication. Orange and gray would represent a friendly and intelligent image. You need to choose carefully because when branding, it takes time and exposure to become known by how you present yourself. You don’t want to keep changing your image.
If you decide to change your image and you already have a following, do a broadcast email to your list and announce the new look and ask them to “Like it on your Facebook fan page.” This will generate traffic and establish your new presence with your existing contacts.
If you don’t have a list yet, you could make a temporary header with a small screenshot of your old header in your new header and add a caption that says “formally seen as.” This will let your followers who are not on your list know that you’ve changed the look of your web site – the “new and improved.”
Finally, color choice is one important aspect in designing anything. Other ways to impact your audience include type font – they all carry specific connotations, how your page is balanced, and how you navigate through your site, to name a few.
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Post a comment below if you found value in using color to define your brand identity; then SHARE, TWEET and LIKE this post, because your thoughts, actions, beliefs and questions are what give others permission to experience life.