Colour Of The Month: Blue
Think about this:
Seeing a Samsung ad on TV. Looking up into the sky on a sunny summers day. The online payment service Paypal. Signing your name under your new contract with a fountain pen. Browsing through Facebook. Buying a new pair of Jeans, or looking at the flood of office workers, rushing home after a long day of work. What do all of those things have in common?
Even if it might not be obvious at first, the answer to this is fairly simple: all of those things involve the colour blue!
Samsung’s, Facebook’s and PayPal’s logos are primarily blue, and so are ink, cloudless skies, blue-jeans (I know, a real surprise with that name!) and a lot of official looking suits and ties. Now that we established that blue is all around you, have you ever stopped and wondered, what this colour and all of its different hues actually represent? Well, today’s your lucky day, because we compiled a short guide on the colour psychology behind different kinds of blue, and how you can best use them to the advantage of your business!
Even though blue is a pretty gendered colour often associated with men, it is widely represented in gender neutral and woman branding! Scientific research showed that looking at blue objects slows the pulse rate, reduces appetite (amongst others because there are so few blue foods!), and has an overall calming effect on most people. In fact, Pantone (leading expert in all things colour!) and the tea brand Twinings released a colour called “natural optimism”. A light, summer sky blue, which they claim makes people feel more optimistic just by looking at it! No wonder we chose blue as this month’s colour! Don’t we all need a little more optimism in our life? (Also blue being the opposite colour to last months orange is just a sweet little cherry on top!)
But what does blue mean for the branding of your company?
Use of blue in branding
Blue relates to trust and dependability, so using it in your logo or as one of your brand colours can be helpful with portraying a brand customers want to be loyal to. Another feature of blue is that it is often said to be associated with innovation and productivity, which is why many business empires like Facebook, Ford, Twitter or Paypal use it as one of the main colours in their branding.
Different tones of blue are linked to slightly different associations: lighter blues suggest creativity and calm. They seem open, in control and modern, while darker shades of blue (like navy) are more often connected with loyalty, success, confidence and control. Careful though, especially darker blues can easily be seen as very authoritative, conservative, frigid or even manipulative and an overuse of blue tends to create a sense of coldness and detachment most of the time.
Here’s how we used blue in some logos, icons and social media templates for our clients My Soul Space and Zafra Medical.
Use of blue in websites
Do you have a high level of trust with your clients? Do you want them to feel safe looking at your online presence? Is your company trying to appeal to the user’s intellect? Then incorporating blue into your website might be a good idea!
Using lighter blues as a complimenting colour in your website design, for example, generates a calm, creative, intellectual and reliable vibe. It helps soothe the interface and avoid distractions without being overpoweringly pushy. Darker blues are great for providing a general structure, while not being as overpowering as black and are a common colour used in footers of websites.
With blue being the favourite colour of 57% of men and 35% of women the chances of someone being averse to seeing that colour on your website are next to none, and judging by the success of blue-dominated companies like Facebook and Twitter, this colour should definitely be considered when planning your brand colours and your website.
If you don’t feel comfortable to use it as a background colour, maybe using navy as a header or button colour works for you?
Use of blue in photos
There are multiple ways you can incorporate the relaxing and benefiting aspects of blue into your photos, the most obvious being taking the pictures in front of blue-infused backgrounds like outside with pieces of the sky or the ocean in the shot (or maybe a glacier, if you happen to stumble upon one of those?).
Our eyes have little to no effort staying focused on the colour blue, which means that it is fine having big blocks of it in the pictures because it is not overwhelming for the person looking at it. Blue can of course also be used as an accent or colour splash in more muted surroundings. Place a blue coffee mug on your wooden table, use flowers in your favourite shade of blue to represent that free feeling of spring, dress in something blue or even use it as an unconventional lipstick or nail-polish colour! There are many creative ways to integrate blues in your photoshoot and offer the viewer all the relaxing and trustworthy components of it!
So what’s the takeaway
Even if at first it might seem like a male colour, and many of the associations of blue are stereotypically male (serious, purposeful, controlled) blue is ambiguous and can be the right choice for all kinds of different businesses. While lighter shades are considered to be calming, selfless, inspiring and creative, darker tones show ambition, responsibility, purpose and can encourage trust.
I’d say: don’t wait for success to hit you and your business out of the blue (yes, pun intended!) – take the first step to becoming a more brilliant brand yourself and start defining the brand colours that are right for you!
Feel like you need to breathe some fresh air into your brand?
Or maybe you just realised that you need to update your palette and bring some orange tones into it?
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