Express Your Business Identity with Color

colorwheelWhether you’re designing your logo, redecorating your office, or picking out clothes for a presentation, you’re making an important business statement with the colors you choose. Color has a powerful impact on the emotions and psyche, and the right colors can really boost your mood, so you feel more confident, and also help you to get your marketing message across.

So before you let your graphics person or the decorator decide for you, or before you wear “just any old thing,” to an important business event, take a moment to ask yourself: How do you want to feel, and how do you want others to perceive you?

The Psychology & Meaning of Colors
I’ve always been fascinated with color psychology and have some hands-on experience from my years in the beauty industry, retail merchandising, website development, and in the study of spiritual energetics. In all of those fields, color is a language. Here’s my pocket- dictionary version of the emotional qualities & symbolism of the major shades on the color wheel:

Reds
Pastel: Rose & Light Pink= gentle, caring, supportive.
Bright: Fiery Red & Hot Pink= confident, enthusiastic, bold.
Deep: Ruby Red & Maroon= passionate, strong, successful.

Oranges
Pastel: Peach & Melon= sweet, romantic, tender.
Bright: Tangerine= energetic, unique, creative.
Deep: Rust= earthy, abundant, distinctive.

Browns
Pastel: Beige & Tan= subtle, relaxed, calm.
Bright: Warm Browns= natural, grounded, reliable.
Deep: Dark Chocolate= understated, sophisticated, rich.

Yellows
Pastel: Light Yellow= creative, thoughtful, optimistic.
Bright: Lemon & Dandelion= spirited, playful, active.
Deep: Saffron & Gold= social, regal, esteemed.

Greens
Pastel: Aqua & Sage= tranquil, quiet, serene.
Bright: Apple & Emerald= vital, healthy, restorative.
Deep: Teal & Forest= open-minded, centered, wise.

Blues
Pastel: Light Blue= easy-going, harmonious, expansive.
Bright: Sky Blue & Turquoise= clear, honest, trustworthy.
Deep: Cobalt & Navy= refined, elegant, traditional.

Purples
Pastel: Lavender & Periwinkle= unusual, ethereal, whimsical.
Bright: Royal Purple= courageous, individual, dramatic.
Deep: Dark Purple & Eggplant= artistic, soulful, mysterious.

Whites
Pastel: Cream= soft, luxurious, receptive.
Bright: Pure White= open, pure, radiant.

Blacks
Pastel: Grey= cultured, polished, classic.
Deep: Onyx= powerful, enigmatic, solid.

Metallics
Silver= modern, efficient, bright.
Gold= luxurious, warm, established.

How to Design an Effective Color Scheme
Choosing colors is really fun and the process will help you further clarify your business identity. I think the best place to start is within yourself, selecting the colors that best convey your business values & personality. Since you’re going to be looking at your business colors more than anyone else, you should absolutely love them!

Next, you’ll want to look at your color choices from an outsider’s point of view, to see if they’re congruent with your business image. You might ask people you trust for their opinions at this point. The idea is to find colors that represent the type of business you’re in and that also communicate the style and manner in which you operate. So for example, if you adore an unusual color, but it doesn’t match your profession, try a lighter of deeper version of it until it feels like, “you” but also looks right to others.

After you’ve chosen the colors you like, then it’s time to play with the proportions. A professional and harmonious color scheme usually consists of 2-4 colors. For collateral materials, don’t forget that the background of your website and/or the paper you use also counts as a color choice because it’s part of the design.

  • Using predominantly one or two colors creates a modern simplified look that can be very stylish.
  • Using two dominant colors with a third accent color will always look beautiful and sophisticated, as well as giving you some variety.
  • Using four colors works best if some or all of the colors are muted, as too many bright colors together can appear amateurish or “loud.”

Remember, good design doesn’t always follow the rules. Experiment, try new things, and give yourself permission to reinvent yourself once in a while.

Here’s an inspirational quote on color dynamics for you to ponder:

“Colour helps to express light, not the physical phenomenon, but the only light that really exists, that in the artist’s brain.”
Henri Matisse, 1945.

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About the Author

Jaya Savannah - Chief Inspiration Officer. Strategy Coach for Holistic Businesses. Trainer, speaker, and writer. Spiritually aware, yet street smart. Elephant lover.

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