Forget your logo. When it comes to building brand recognition there’s one style asset which beats everything else and that’s color. Your brand colors not only help you to create a cohesive style for your brand, but they’re also a powerful tool to make your brand stand out and be recognizable.
The power of colors goes far beyond the simple aspect of personal preferences and which colors you like. Color psychology has become a go-to tool for designers and brands. We use colors to influence people’s perception and their buying decisions as well.
If this is conscious or rather unconscious our decisions are directed by colors. You know the colors of your preferred brands. The ones you buy regularly. You’re attracted by certain products because you like the packaging. We also make use of colors to tell people something about us in the way we dress. Colors can even guide us. They signal it’s okay to cross the street when the lights are on green.
So it’s not surprising that brands will use colors to communicate with us and help us to identify them and the products they sell.
What’s brand recognition
Building brand recognition is all about getting onto people’s radar. It’s about showing up in a way that makes people remember your brand. If you want to be memorable you have to give people identifiers which help them to recognize you amongst other brands. And because we are very much triggered by visuals the best way to stick in people’s head is through visual assets such as color. Other assets which serve as identifiers could be your logo, fonts, icons or illustrations.
In order to build recognition, you have to be consistent with your visuals as well as with your messaging. This helps people to start identifying your brand through your visuals. They’ll make a connection between the colors and other assets and your brand or product.
Brand recognition is the first step towards creating brand awareness and turning your customers into loyal fans. The exact group of people who will buy your product again and again. Those who recommend you to a friend and spread the word.
Why color is important in branding
I’ve already mentioned it above, color is your most important brand style asset. And before you begin to shake your head because everybody told you that your logo is the most important element of your brand; let’s take a look at the numbers.
A study by Satyendra Singh from 2006 “Impact of color on marketing” has shown that we make product decisions which are based up to 90% on colors.
Another study gives us proof that color increases brand recognition by 80%.
What’s also interesting is that people only remember 20% of what they read but 80% of what they see.
The influence of color goes beyond what you expected, I guess. Many brands don’t use color to the extent they should. There are several aspects you need to focus on in terms of branding through color. When we look at the importance of color in branding we’ll see one common theme. It’s all about what you want to communicate through your colors and how people perceive them.
That’s exactly why color psychology plays such an important role in branding.
How to use color to build brand recognition
The right usage of your colors depends on two things. Having a well-defined color palette in place and being consistent in the way you apply colors in your brand styling.
Creating a color palette
The first step is always to define your brand colors. It’s part of the branding process to create a cohesive brand style which aligns with your brand personality and message. During this process, most brands dig deep into their core to find the colors which can best represent them. It’s important to pick your colors with your design in mind. A great color palette needs to align with your brand and at the same time be flexible to apply to all your brand designs.
Related post: How to create a color palette for your brand
Creating a brand style guide
Once your colors are defined, you’re ready to create a system for applying those colors. Building recognition isn’t only a matter of rigorously using the same colors over and over again. But also about placing them for the right effect.
Slapping on your burgundy red everywhere you see an opportunity is definitely not the way to go. A brand style guide states exactly how you use your colors and where. Every medium needs a different approach. While you might use your primary brand color as a background for social media graphics, it could be used only to set accents in photos. Your guide can even go so far as to state color proportions. This means how much each color is used in relation to the others. The more precise you create this guide the better. Especially if you work in a team or want to outsource your design.
Of course, your guide is only good if you really start to apply it. Creating templates is the best way to ensure you stick to your color palette. It means you only have to go through the design process once. When you set up your template you make sure to use the right colors in the right places. Once a template is ready it’s only a matter of changing text and photos.
Templates aren’t only a great timesaver, they also force you to be consistent with your brand colors. You can create templates for almost every design. It makes definitely sense to set them up for designs you use on a regular basis like social media graphics.
Related post: How to create a template in Adobe Illustrator
After going through these three steps you’ll be more consistent with your colors and start to build recognition.
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