While algorithmic data sets can offer great insight into the quantitative data behind consumer spending habits, there are some qualitative things that Google metrics can’t tell you. These are the more intangible, sensory elements that make up your branding and your corporate image that affect the way people perceive, recognize, and relate to your business. Just as various fonts and typefaces cry out “bank,” “wedding,” or “rock n’ roll,” so do colours have a profound influence over whom you attract and how you appeal to consumers.

the meaning of colours in marketing

Just How Valuable Is Colour, Anyway?

Consumers place an astonishing weight on appearance when considering a new product, retail shop, or website. Appearance comprises 9/10ths of the reason people give for gravitating towards a given service. Colour increases brand recognition by 80%.  When it comes to specific colours, culture plays a role in determining which colours are signifiers of what associations.


Blue Is for Bank

In North America, blue is perceived to be the colour of banks, well-established firms, and trusted institutions—think Ford, Barclay’s Bank, and IBM. Online, because Facebook is so thoroughly associated with blue, many technology companies are choosing the aqua tones to associate themselves with the social media site. Blue is also a favourite colour for more men than women, and, culturally at least, has been used to connote authority.



Neutrals: Timeless and Classic

Black is the new black. Luxurious, sleek, beyond reproach, it is an excellent choice for up-market producers and for tech companies wanting to remain forever modern. It is also the logo colour of choice for newspapers the world over, including the New York Times. Close runners up in logo colours that aren’t really colours at all are Apple’s silver logo, Mercedes’s iconic hood symbol, and Wikipedia’s grey puzzle planet.


It’s a Rainbow Out There

Yellow is considered optimistic, youthful, and attention-getting. Anyone who has ever scanned a downtown strip looking for the golden arches knows that the colour stands out in a crowd. Red is energetic, urgent, and immediate—think “Clearance,” and “Stop” signs. It is a hard colour, signifying power. There’s a reason Republican-led states are called Red States. Less aggressive, but still maintaining the energy of red, pink is your more feminine version of red which, when fully saturated as in La Senza’s logo, also implies sexuality. Orange, on the other hand, is considered cheap, friendly, and confident, which is why it may be so popular for fast food joints like A&W and Wendy’s.

Green may be a cliché for all things environmental, but the colour range is also, surprisingly, associated with wealth (think greenbacks) and calm. It is the easiest colour for eyes to process, meaning it works well in government and medical settings where people with disabilities and those from a range of cultural backgrounds will be seeking a common ground.

The story that Facebook is blue because Mark Zuckerberg is red/green colour blind puts the lie to the scientific approach to logo colour choices. But, in the end, perhaps Facebook’s success, and its position as the most trusted and trafficked site on the web, also owes something to the association consumers have with “true blue.” Perhaps, too, a measure of Google’s universalist appeal is the rainbow-coloured logo they adopted early on, now so recognizable that the search engine can whimsically alter it on a daily basis without losing their brand status.


Does your Toronto Business need a colourful logo that embodies your brand?