Corporate Color Schemes
Color is a non-verbal communication tool that can symbolize abstract concepts. Colors influence our thinking and decision-making. They can make us feel included or excluded, at ease or uncomfortable, and can even produce physical responses in the body. That’s why your brand’s use of color should be strategic. But we’re not just talking about your logo. We’re talking about the color schemes that make up your entire brand identity. And we’re here to help you narrow down your options.
Color generates two types of responses in the human body—psychological and physiological.
The perception of color is subjective. The brain subconsciously ties color to preconceived ideas based on cultural experiences. That means the same color can warrant varied emotional responses when shown to different populations.
In Western cultures, white is typically associated with purity and peace. In many Eastern cultures, it signifies misfortune, mourning, and death. But color psychology can also significantly differ between countries in the same part of the world.
For example, green can relate to infidelity and exorcism in China. However, it has a strong association with Islam, making it a religious color in countries with large Muslim populations. It’s also associated with Buddha, representing healing and balance in Tibet.
In Japan, green symbolizes life and prosperity, and married Korean women commonly wear it in ceremonial dress. But on the southern beaches of Indonesia, green clothing is forbidden because of a popular myth about death and a sea queen.
Generally, a person’s color preference will not trigger a significant physical response. However, the body involuntarily reacts, producing measurable effects. According to psychosocial author Kendra Cherry, “Certain colors have been associated with increased blood pressure, increased metabolism, and eyestrain.”
These physiological responses are not related to culture. Instead, they are universal and based on the stimulation of different regions of the brain. “Some evidence suggests that the light of different colors enters the eye and indirectly affects the hypothalamus, which in turn affects the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland controls the hormone levels and perhaps thus our moods.” Studies show these heightened physical responses are also linked to more efficient information processing and better memory.
The Symbolism of Color
Creates a sense of urgency, heightens alertness, raises heart rate, and stimulates appetite
Uplifts, energizes, stimulates, and grabs attention
Boosts enthusiasm and optimism, causes a release of serotonin, stimulates appetite, and can potentially cause eye strain
Relaxes and can lower blood pressure
Stabilizes emotion and reduces respiration
Increases productivity, has a relaxing effect, lowers heart rate, and suppresses appetite
Sparks creativity and fantasy, stimulates problem-solving, but can give the impression of falsehood and introversion
Evokes playfulness and femininity, soothes, and saturated versions can make a bold statement
Brings a sense of nature and utility
Promotes self-reflection, adds no extra visual weight
Soothes but avoids attention
Adds edginess and visual weight
Some industries gravitate toward colors because of their psychological associations. For example, we are more likely to see white used in the healthcare industry than brown. White indicates sterility, while brown is often associated with earth and nature.
Niche brands, however, often have more room to play with unexpected color combinations. While brown is an uncommon color for major healthcare networks, it may be appropriate for health brands that use naturally derived ingredients in their products.
Creating a Color Scheme Using Basic Color Theory
Colors that make all other colors—red, yellow, and blue
Colors created by combining primary colors – orange, green, and purple
Colors are created by combining a primary color with a secondary color. They often have compound names like red-orange or are named after minerals or chemical compounds, like vermillion.
Combining various shades and tints of a single color
Combining warm and cool colors that are directly opposite on the color wheel
Combining colors that are directly next to each other on the color wheel
Selecting your corporate color scheme is more complex than picking your favorite colors. It’s about communicating with your ideal customer in a culturally relevant way that suits their preferences. But there are millions of options for your color scheme between shades and tints. Let’s find colors that will correctly communicate your brand’s message.