When we view something, be it a website, advertisement, or product itself, there is one aspect we detect and interpret about it before anything else: Color.
Everyone experiences emotional reactions to different colors, and while it can vary from culture to culture, color psychology’s mission is to understand the nuances and establish common themes in how color makes us feel and think.
In the world of marketing, the colors you choose for your branding speak just as much about your company, product, and services as any other visual cues or ad copy you employ.
However, some colors may present a challenge when it comes to nailing down your branding. Some colors, like orange, don't see as much use as primary colors in marketing, and it can be more challenging to measure how consumers respond to it. Likewise, what people associate with orange changes widely from culture to culture, making it a bit of a wildcard.
Does this mean you should avoid using orange and its many hues in your branding? Absolutely not! If anything, the use of orange could help draw attention to your brand and make it feel more unique. After reading this breakdown of the psychology of the color orange, we'll think you'll agree.
Looking at the western interpretation of the color, orange conveys two things more than anything else: happiness and energy. The two colors that make up orange — red and yellow — carry those strong associations individually. However, in being combined into orange, the resulting color negates most of the negative connotations those colors have, such as violence or warning.
When we see orange in nature, it can be rather calming. Consider a setting sun or leaves turning in autumn. These feelings are serene and warm, creating an overall sense of safety.
Orange is also one of the few colors that immediately grabs our attention without causing alarm or panic. Think about traffic cones and safety signs: on their own, they may put you on alert but don't make you feel unsafe.
When you think of some of the world's biggest brands, their logos often rely on the three primary colors more than anything else. Orange, while not absent, is comparatively underrepresented. Still, we can look at a few different industries to get some ideas of how the public views orange in branding.
When looking at beverages, for example, orange is seen as refreshing and rejuvenating. Therefore, juices and sodas that rely on orange logos and packaging are immediately associated with the fruit of the same name, suggesting specific flavor traits. We can see this in some candies, too.
Have you ever noticed the presence of orange in sports team logos? While far from the most dominant color, it's secured its place on jerseys to not only draw a fan's eye against darker colors but because its association with red conveys speed as well. There's a sense of familiarity and nostalgia in the color, strengthening how close fans feel with a team (or customers with a brand).
The comforting warmth of orange has been used at times by media conglomerates to convey a sense of comfort to views. For example, the FOX network, TNT, and the children's entertainment group Nickelodeon have utilized predominantly orange station logos at different points in their history. As a result, they come across as welcoming, despite how bright they are.
These industry examples are only a tiny glimpse of how brands use orange in the Western world. Regardless, they can be applied to your branding to achieve the same effects. Be aware, however, that the other colors you use in addition to orange can alter how it gets read.
Unlike the concrete meaning of words, colors can have accidental connotations defined by a myriad of factors. Some of these, like personal experiences, can't be accounted for by a brand. Others, like cultural associations, should be researched if you're vying for business in countries where a color's meaning can mean something else.
In many Middle Eastern countries, orange is the color of mourning. Such an association seemingly goes against what many of us feel when we see the color, but it's a deeply rooted association that can be hard to overcome. As a result, some global companies will change their branding in this region to avoid making unintended associations.
Meanwhile, many East Asian cultures consider the color orange sacred — a sentiment echoed by the tradition of monks wearing orange robes. It is both humble and held in high esteem. Similarly, in the Netherlands, orange is traditionally the color of royalty.
When marketing your brand in different cultures, it may take extensive research to decide color choices that don't offend local sensibilities or otherwise miscommunicate your intended message.
At Carbon Digital, we specialize in developing effective branding. As part of our work, we've analyzed the ways people respond to colors in branding. With this knowledge, we help businesses like yours to utilize these responses to influence consumers and build a brand that converts.
Incorporating the psychology of color in your branding and website design is essential. Carbon Digital specializes in partnering with organizations to meet their branding and design needs. Our goal is to increase customer loyalty and conversions for your business, and brand and color play a significant role in this strategic plan.
Book a call with us today and let’s get started!