Colors – Importance and Choosing

When starting a company, or doing major changes or a “facelift”, there are many choices that you need to deal with and one that can often be “back-burnered” or not focused on are color choices for the company. 

We’ve mentioned before the importance of your logo, images, etc, and a major part of that are the color choices you make.  If you are a massage therapist for example, you’re not going to want to stress someone out by having bright red be one of your colors.  It needs to be something you devote some serious thought to.

Here is a basic list of the major colors and their common meanings, feels, etc:

  • Red: action, confidence, courage, vitality, warning, health, and in some cultures luck
  • Orange: vitality with endurance, change
  • Yellow: wisdom, joy, happiness, intellectual energy, deceit, cowardess, hope
  • Green: life, nature, fertility, well being, growth, money, stability
  • Blue: calmness, responsibility, spirituality, truth, peace
  • Purple: Royalty, magic, mystery, creativity, imagination, romance
  • White: purity, cleanliness, virtue, goodness
  • Black: power, elegance, formality, death, evil, mystery, stability  
  • Gray: conservative, formal, sorrow, security, maturity, moody, depressing
  • Brown: earth, order, convention, dependability, reliability, steadfastness

As you may notice most colors have positive and negative associations, so you have to be careful as to how you use them.  Often the meaning of a color changes depending on how light, dark, rich, etc, the color is.  A great example of that is blue.  A light blue tends to be more light-hearted and playful where a darker blue is more corporate and professional – totally different feel just by adjusting the saturation of the color.

A major thing to keep in mind, particularly for companies doing business around the world, is to ensure that you research the meaning of the color in different countries.  A color like red may mean luck in one country but danger in another, and some colors can be offensive in some cultures as well. 

There are many great sites out there that list color meanings, just type “color meanings” into your search browser and you’ll find a wealth of information at your fingertips!  A couple great sites that I have found in my travels for helping decide your color palette are:

Adobe Kuler: This lets you say if you want complementary colors, compound, monochromatic, etc, and you can drag points around on a color wheel and then it tells you the hex number, RGB and CMYK values of the colors – WONDERFUL!  I have used this site so many times!

Color Scheme Designer: This site does similar to the Adobe Kuler site, but does not provide RGB or CMYK values, only hex value.  But what this site does that’s really cool is lets you select menu options that show you what the colors would look like for different color blind people. A very cool thing to know if you want to worry about that!

Color Palette Generator: This site will generate a color palette for you from a photograph.  So if you have a picture you really like the colors in you can upload it here (as long as it’s less than 300×300 pixels) and it will list 9 colors and their hex values for you.  There are a few sites that do this type of thing, this one seems to work well.

Overall just remember that color decisions are not something to be taken lightly as they, partnered with your logo, graphics, etc, will be the face of your company.  So make sure you’re not just using a color because it’s your favourite but ensure that you do the proper research or hire a professional, like us at ARK Squared, to help guide you through the process.

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This entry was posted by Anna Kouwenberg on Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 at 2:42 pm and is filed under Branding, Marketing, Web Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.