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According to a very interesting article written by Gregory Ciotti of Help Scout, “the idea that colors such as yellow or purple are able to evoke some sort of hyper-specific emotion is about as accurate as your standard Tarot card reading. “

He backs that statement up with valid arguments, such as what about color preference, cultural differences, and other personal factors? According to the chart below, the color green is calming, relaxing and refreshing, but not if every time you see the color green it reminds you of the color of your childhood bedroom that your parents refused to re-paint for you. The symbolism of color can’t be so black and white, especially when personal factors like taste and experience come into play.

He does, however, agree that ‘colors play a fairly substantial role in purchases and branding.’ The article lists plenty of reports and links to various companies and business that voice their own thoughts and opinions about color and its use in marketing and branding. Here are some:

According to a white paper on Emerald Insight about the use of color in marketing, they reported that people make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products. About 62‐90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone and managers can use colors to increase or decrease appetite, enhance mood, calm down customers, and, reduce perception of waiting time, among others.

The study Exciting Red and Competent Blue says colors influence how consumers view the “personality” of the brand in question. Think about this for a minute. Would Mr. Clean send the same message if he was wearing a red turtleneck and black beret? Probably not.


Color Research & Application is convinced new brands should pick logo colors completely different from their biggest competitors in their product area to ensure they stand out. Take Apple’s 3 biggest competitors (as noted in the Cheat Sheet):

google microsoft  samsung

The colors are very different from Apple’s familiar and understated white/light grey logo design, so maybe they’re onto something.


Ciotti further states that most academic studies pertaining to color and branding pretty much say the same thing. When it comes to color and brand, it makes more sense to select a color that reinforces your brand’s personality and not one based on stereotypical color associations.

Still not sure how you feel about the power of color in advertising? After all, there are as many believers as non-believers in this often talked about and controversial issue. Try taking this online recognizable brands test. It may or may not change your mind, but make sure to let us know how you did.

Recognizable Brands Test

It’s a visual test that includes snapshots of twenty of the world’s most famous brands with their logo cropped to include a clear display of their brand colors, but only a small piece of their logo or symbol. Test yourself to see how many of the brands you recognize with color as the primary visual driver. Take it here.