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Colour within advertising

The colours you choose for your logo and the general brand image actually have a huge effect on the way people perceive your company. Here at Little, we decided to make a list of the colours and what they are associated with, this should help you decide what colours you want for your brand.


Red is a colour that creates a sense of urgency as it is associated with energy, danger, strength power, love, passion, and desire. Emotionally, red would be described as intense, it enhances metabolism, increases respiration rate and raises blood pressure. Many brands use red as it brings text and images to the foreground and is eye catching. You can use the colour red as an accent colour to encourage a quick buy due to its high energy nature.

Looking at examples of companies who use red in their brand image it is commonly associated with games, cars, fast-food, energy drinks and sports items. However, it is important to remember that there are numerous shades of each colour you can explore and each can have changing connotations attached. For example, dark red suggests rage, willpower, and anger, Whereas light red, suggests joy, sexuality, and passion.


Orange combines qualities from both the colours red and yellow. It is associated with joy, optimism, and fruit. It can encourage, success, enthusiasm, and creativity. However, orange can still trigger a sense of caution, this has been argued to lead consumers into a sense of anxiety which brings about impulsive buying. Orange can also increase oxygen supply to the brain, which stimulates mental activity.

Orange would draw people in due to it’s high visibility and will catch people’s attention to the important bits of your design. Orange has been known to prove useful when promoting toys and food products.


Yellow is a positive colour making people think of energy, sunshine, and happiness. Yellow makes people feel cheerful and stimulates muscle energy. However, yellow may also prove ineffective if overused. Yellow is an eye-catching colour so we recommend you use it as part of the important elements of your design – or with black, as they make one another standout. It is a colour that can prove highly effective to some businesses, however, consider your audience. For example, if you’re wanting your company to be targeted toward a men’s luxury brand yellow probably isn’t your colour.

Light yellow is often used to promote children’s items or leisure products due to its positive nature. Whereas a dull yellow may suggest caution or sickness.


Green represents nature, so we instantly think of freshness, growth and harmony and brands often use it to make people feel safe – whereas dark green could be associated with money. It has been suggested that green is the most restful colour for human eyes to look at. When associated with businesses many feel that green shows stability, endurance, growth, and hope.

You could use green to promote a safety warning or for an eco-friendly brand. A darker green would be best used on corporate companies associated with the financial world.


Blue is an extremely calming colour as it is the colour of the sky and sea. It makes consumers believe companies have stability as it symbolises trust, loyalty, intelligence, and confidence. It has been considered that blue is beneficial to the mind and body as it slows the metabolism; bringing tranquility. This would mean, however, that using blue to promote food would not be a good idea. Blue is considered to be a masculine colour and is widely accepted by males.

Blue would be perfect to promote products and services such as airlines, cleaning items, and technical companies.


Whilst purple combines the qualities of blue and red, it also symbolizes power, luxury, and ambition and is often said to be associated with royalty. It implies wisdom, dignity, independence and creativity. It has been argued that we see purple as a regal colour as it is not seen much in nature and has a feel or rarity.

Purple is often used in beauty products and is great for a feminine design, it is also a good colour of choice for children’s products.


The colour white is often associated with goodness, purity, and light, it is often seen as a colour of perfection.

White is a great colour to use when promoting healthy products, high-tech devices, and medical products.


Black has been associated with power, formality, and mystery. Black can have negative connotations if overused for example if paired with too much red or orange it can make a design become aggressive. When used correctly it has a sense of authority and formality, making people believe brands are prestigious.

The colour black can be great for car brands, high-tech brands, and corporate industries.

Choosing the colour combination

Complementary colours:

Complimentary colours are colours which are opposite to one another on the colour wheel. For example, blue is opposite to orange while red is opposite to green. This means that they cause visual tension as they are so opposed.

Using this method makes things stand out, you will often see sports teams using these colour combinations. It’s best not to balance the colours too much if you use this method, so if you were to use red and green do 70% green 30% red.

Split complementary:

If your wanting to use an extra colour within you design using split complementary is a great method. For this method, choose one colour on your colour wheel and then choose two more colour adjacent to the opposite.

Although this won’t have the same impact as using a complementary scheme, it does add variety and a dynamic colour scheme

Analogous colours:

These are colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel. For example, blue through to purple. This creates a more calming effect to that of complementary and split complementary; they don’t stand out from one another.

Triangle/ Triadic, rectangle and square colours:

Another method which can be used is that of a triangle, rectangle, and a square. The triangle is a colour combo made of three colours that are equally spread on the wheel.

The rectangle is a combination of four colours that are made from two complementary pairs. Square is a similar technique to that of the rectangle palette, however, the two sets of the complementary pair are evenly spaced around the circle.

It’s best to use this technique by choosing one dominant colour and using the rest to highlight certain areas.

Although colours have been studied for years within psychology, it is important to remember that they are subjective as everyone reacts differently to colours.

Do you need help deciding your brand’s colour identity? Contact us today!

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