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Everyone has their favourite colours, but do they inherently impact one’s purchasing decisions? You’ve likely come across an infographic or two that try to classify how consumers respond to certain colours, but are these really valid?

We asked April Rashad, graphic designer at Cision for her thoughts and advice on making the most of your brand’s colour palette.


How important is colour to branding and marketing?

Colour is extremely important to branding and marketing. It’s a visual language that brings your brand’s message and core values to life. It allows you to share your unique voice and evokes a specific emotion to your audience. There are psychological effects that colour can have on our brains, which can trigger certain emotions and can easily create associations in a person’s mind.

Colour and design consultant Karen Haller provides a great example of this, “looking at the positive psychological qualities of red and yellow in relation to the fast food industry, red triggers stimulation, appetite and hunger. It attracts attention. Yellow triggers feelings of happiness and friendliness. When you combine red and yellow, you promote speed. Together, those colours tell audiences to stop by, eat quickly and leave.”

Therefore, it is very important to choose your brand colours wisely and to consult with a designer or colour expert to understand how you can reap the benefits of choosing the perfect colour for your brand. Using the wrong colours can cause confusion and brand rejection/dissociation.


How many colours do you recommend including in your style guide?

There is no limit, as long as the colours are used purposefully, cohesively and align with your brand’s messaging. Many brand guides will incorporate a primary and secondary palette. While the primary colours ultimately define your brand, a secondary palette can add more range to the brand experience.


What important colour rules do you find most brands tend to break?

Some brands don’t understand who they are and what message they are trying to convey to their audience. Therefore, they may pick colours that a person in their company likes individually or something that’s trendy, while ignoring the importance of the meaning of colours. I’ve also noticed that some brands don’t have a style guide with specific colours. Instead, they use random colours that don’t mean anything to anyone. It’s most important to be purposeful and consistent with your colours.


Should you model your brand in CMYK or RGB, or both?

You should definitely be using both CMYK and RGB. CMYK stands for cyan-magenta-yellow-black. It is a colour process that is used mainly for printing purposes. RGB stands for red-green-blue and is used digitally on screens like your desktop, cell phone, television, etc. These colours render differently and use different colour coding systems, so it’s important to create your logo and other assets in both colour processes.


What is the most important thing to remember when choosing a main colour for your brand?

Although colour might seem like a trivial thing, it can mislead future customers and cause them to choose a more established brand. Do the groundwork for your brand’s core values and messaging before you chose a main colour. Then, you’ll have a clear idea of how your brand wants to visually express itself.


What colour(s) do you wish brands used more often?

It’s hard to say because each brand is different. Colour shouldn’t be used broadly, but instead should be specific to each individual brand because of the psychological implications it can have. I hope brands recognize the importance of colour and choose wisely.

About Melissa Meyer

Melissa Meyer is Cision’s Manager of Community and oversees Cision’s online customer community, Cision City. She has over 5 years’ experience in PR, writing, community and social media management. You can find her chatting about all thing PR, pop culture and basketball @_MelissaMeyer

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