Could ORANGE be your brand colour?
Choosing your brand colour can be tricky.
Where do you start? How do you know which colours are right for your brand and business? You’ll read plenty of articles and infographics online about the importance of brand colour. Some of the facts include:
- It takes someone 90 seconds to form an opinion about your business.
- Research shows that over 60% of that opinion is based on colour alone.
- Colour increases brand recognition by 80%.
So your brand colour is an important part of your brand identity.
It also boosts brand visibility because:
- Colour differentiates your brand.
- It helps to create your visual brand consistency.
Here’s a step-by-step approach to identify if orange is suitable for your future brand colour…
Step 1: Understanding the Power of Colour
Let’s get this straight. There are no bad colours.
- Every colour has upsides and downsides. The trick is to match the upsides of your brand colour palette with your positioning, proposition, values, personality and essence.
- The human eye perceives thousands of colours. And every individual sees colours differently. This means you may see more tints or tones or shades of a hue than me. Or vice versa.
- In general, more men are colour blind (about 7% have red-green colour deficiency vs. about 2% of women). This explains why some men may struggle to match ties to their shirts…
What I love about working on brand colour is having the flexibility to follow the acknowledged guidelines or to disrupt the rules.
There are plenty of colour guidelines around, yet selecting your best brand colour also requires an artistic sensibility, combined with an intuitive understanding and experience of how branding works.
Sometimes nailing the precise shade, tint or tone of a hue is paramount – and sometimes there’s a little bit more leeway. This is where intuition and experience play their part.
Read more: 5 Ways to use Colour to Build your Brand
What matters most is how your customers respond to your brand colour palette.
Their response to your brand colours is based on a combination of:
- Personal associations
- Cultural symbolism
- Colour psychology
- Physical attributes
On an emotional level, your customer should feel the combination of your brand colour palette, logo and typography are authentic and true to your brand.
Now, let’s take a more detailed look at orange as a brand colour
- How might your clients have experienced orange in their lives?
- They might like or dislike the taste and texture of orange-coloured fruits and vegetables – from oranges, tangerines and mandarins to carrots, peppers and pumpkins. In general, these orange-coloured fruits and vegetables seem wholesome, tasty and full of goodness.
- In my experience, tangerines are associated with Christmas and pumpkins with Halloween – two celebrations that are fun and family oriented, particularly for the young.
- How might orange appear to your clients?
- When I went to the London Olympics by tube, I remember seeing a very tall man dressed in a bright orange suit. It was impossible not to smile at him. It was also clear he came to support the Netherlands. How did I know?
- His height – the Dutch are one of the tallest nations in Europe.
- The Dutch football team ‘Oranje’ wear orange (not red, white and blue – the colours of the national flag).
- Orange has been adopted by the Dutch as their national colour, probably because it’s the colour of the royal family – the House of Orange-Nassau.
- Now ‘orange fever’ unites the Dutch on football days and holidays. As the Holland website says ‘People with the orange fever are easily recognized by their outfits and behaviour: orange and outgoing… Luckily the orange fever is a very healthy fever. It lifts the spirit and is a fantastic way of getting to know people.’
How might the psychology of orange be relevant to your brand proposition and your clients?
- Orange is the sociable colour.
- It’s the colour made from combining red (action) with yellow (sunshine). This means orange:
- Is warm and happy.
- Conveys adventure, optimism, self-confidence and sociability.
- Is softer than red, yet still vibrates with creative energy.
How might orange match the benefits you bring your clients?
- Orange can be stimulating to social conversation. It can be inspiring and create enthusiasm.
In short, orange is sociable, upbeat, cheerful, confident, independent, fun, flamboyant, enthusiastic, high-spirited, adventurous, youthful and friendly.
On the other hand, if used inappropriately, the downsides of orange include inexpensive, ambitious, superficial and insincere.
Here are three brands – Sainsbury’s, B&Q and Easyjet. Each one takes one aspect of orange – ‘inexpensive’ – and converts it into an authentic strength. This is because each brand is positioned to offer great value. And none of them is the cheapest in their category.
- All three brands are cheerful, optimistic, enthusiastic and confident.
- They’re all people-oriented brands.
ORANGE = VALUE
Sainsbury’s emphasises how they help you ‘Live well for less’ and their vision is to be a great place for people to shop and work. (Read more about Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s brand value definition in this article).
B&Q helps you make a better home, bringing you the tools, know-how and encouragement – ‘Let’s do it’ together.
Easyjet includes a commitment to ‘one team’ as a core brand value. And EasyJet takes you on holiday adventures.
ORANGE = YOUTHFUL
Nickelodeon – the cartoon network – also uses the upside qualities of orange very well – being fun, flamboyant, high-spirited, youthful and friendly.
ORANGE = LUXURY
Here’s a brand that turns orange = inexpensive on its head. Hermès is a luxury brand using orange with immense success. Unlike many luxury French fashion brands, it didn’t start as a fashion house. Instead, the business began by making the finest leather accessories for the horses of European nobility.
This heritage in making exquisite equine leather products means that burnished orange and chestnut brown colours are authentic and true to the roots of the brand.
Hermès still makes the finest bridles, stirrups, blankets and accessories for horses today, although it is better known for sumptuous scarves, ties, handbags and leatherware.
The distinctive burnished orange boxes for Hermès leather handbags, silk ties and scarves provide a radiant point of difference in a luxury fashion world often dominated by black.
More to the point, the orange of Hermès also conveys innate self-confidence, optimism and the spirit of adventure.
Step 2: Know your customers
Hence your brand colours have a dual role.
- To express your authentic brand values and personality
- To be irresistible to your core target customers
Yet again, it all comes back to the importance of knowing your customers:
- What they like
- Why they like it and
- How they feel about it
This is why, when you evaluate options for your brand colour palette, your take into consideration your target customers as well as your brand purpose, values and personality.
For example, orange can be a great choice if your brand and your customers are sociable, adventurous, independent, confident and enthusiastic.
Step 3: Know your market sector
It’s a good idea to benchmark the brand colours used by competitors and to check the meaning of their brand colours. For example:
- Red is the colour code for ready salted crisps in the UK, which makes it quick and easy to find ready salted packets in store.
- Use well-known sector or product colour codes when it makes communication and understanding simpler and quicker for your customers.
In other cases, it might play to your advantage to be different. Not just for the heck of it, but because the brand colour has appropriate meaning and relevance for your brand and your customers.
Hermès is a great example of this. Orange differentiates the Hermès brand in luxury fashion – yet it is true to the brand origins.
Choosing your brand colours is a strategic decision.
This is why you could take into account:
- The power of colour
- The needs, wants and mindset of your target customers and
- Your own brand in depth.
There’s a lot more to brand colours than meets the eye, so please do get in touch here if you’d like to discover which colours could work best for your brand.
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