Could BROWN be your brand colour?
How do you feel about brown? Could brown support the positioning and personality of your brand?
When you choose your brand colours you’ll create one of the brand building blocks that helps your brand stand out, get recognised – and remembered.
Because the eye sees colour first – before shapes or words – your choice of brand colours is vital to making a visual impact. I’ve quoted this study before, yet it’s worth a repeat – a University of Loyola study indicated that colour increases brand recognition by up to 80%. This is why Pantone say that ‘colour is the silent ambassador of your brand.’
When colour is such a vital contributor to your brand distinctiveness and appeal, it makes sense to ensure you’re choosing your brand colours with intention.
This is why I stress the importance of working out your brand thinking (the brand strategy piece) first.
Your Brand Strategy Foundation
Simply put, this work includes:
- Who your brand serves – and what they need and want
- Why your brand provides the best solutions for them to buy
- Who your brand is, and what it stands for – which creates emotional affinity with your target audience
Once we have these strategic foundations in place, it makes the job of choosing your brand colours with intention and meaning so much easier.
You’ll have brand colours with meaning that express your brand positioning and personality, instead of simply choosing the colours you like…
In turn, this means that your customers will feel the combination of your brand colour palette, logo and typography is authentic and true to your brand.
What meaning does the colour brown convey?
You don’t see brown in the 7 colours of the rainbow or at first glance in the colour wheel, so where does it fit?
Essentially, brown is a warm colour. You’ll find it in the deepest hues of orange, yellow and red, which is why we talk about reddish-brown, orange-brown and yellow-brown tones.
Look around and you’ll see that brown is an abundant colour in flora and fauna – from trees to seeds and from birds to mammals.
We use the names of trees to describe sumptuous browns like mahogany, teak, chestnut and walnut – and browns with a lighter touch like hazel.
It’s the colour of earth and the colour of poo – in tribute to the amazing Deborah James, who campaigned to alert people to the symptoms of bowel cancer – remember to ‘check your poo’ 💩
Back when I marketed paint colours, the lighter hues of brown – beiges – were massively popular. Because they’re easy on the eye, easy to live with and coordinate well with other hues.
Yet browns and beiges are sometimes perceived as boring or bland, which takes us to the downside of brown. Too much brown could be suppressive – it’s like the safe haven taken to excess.
Your view of the colour brown may be based on a combination of colour psychology, cultural symbolism and personal associations. Let’s take a look at how these could influence brand colour perceptions.
And remember – there are no bad colours – although every colour has upsides and downsides.
Aspects of Brown
I’ve read that in Feng Shui dark and rich brown represents wood and light brown represents earth. It is seen to have an energetic, nurturing quality – and combines well with blue because of the earth-water harmony.
Like chocolate labradors, brown is said to be friendly and approachable. It is also seen as loyal, trustworthy and dependable – in a practical and realistic way.
Like the mama bear protecting her cubs, brown can signify security, safety and protection. It can create a haven of escape from the outside world. Lighter shades of brown – beiges – are popular paint colours in living rooms.
For some people brown is a colour of the ’70s. Yet I feel this perception is changing with the increase in popularity of chocolate and coffee. From mocha and cappuccino to carob – we love the rich, dark and comforting nature of brown.
Examples of the brand colour brown
It’s not glamourous or sexy like black, yet Louis Vuitton’s signature pattern shows how deep brown combined with gold conveys seriously lasting quality and craftsmanship.
UPS also uses deep brown and gold to reinforce its hardworking and reliable brand personality. It’s a brand that portrays practical and down-to-earth attributes.
Our client Farehouse Trading Co sells wholesome, natural and organic food products in their store in Dorset and online. It’s a grounded brand which is genuine, sincere and grounded. Check out their website here.
M&M’s is a brand that likes to have fun yet is reliably inclusive, described in the brand mission as “championing the power of fun to create a world where everyone feels they belong”
Brown in summary
When used as your brand colour, brown conveys stability, dependability and quality. It’s an honest, down-to-earth, friendly colour. It’s connected with nature, strong, rich and warm.
On the other hand, if not used well, brown could be seen as boring, plain or suppressive. Or you may feel ‘browned off’.
Colours that work with brown
Consider these options to include in your brand colour brown palette:
- Blues, teals and greens – these colours reflect the colours you’ll find in nature. Imagine the serenity when powerful trees meet clear sky or calm water
- Violets bring warmth and inject chic and style into serious brown
- Oranges add sociability to the friendly strength
- Gold, cream and ivory add extra sophistication and luxury to the inherent quality of brown
Choosing your brand colours
Remember that selecting your brand colour palette is a strategic decision. This is why I suggest you take into account:
⭐ The power of individual colours and colour combinations
⭐ Your target customers’ needs, wants and mindset
⭐ The personality, values and purpose of your brand and what makes it different from competitors
Read more: 5 Ways to use Colour to Build your Brand
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