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When you think of the colour red, what do you think? It’s likely you’re thinking of love or passion – but for some, you’re thinking Coca Cola.

But why? It’s because they’ve made that colour part of their brand identity.

Much like having a colour associated with your brand, it’s important to have the right colours associated with your product or service. For example, if you’re trying to sell a sustainable product, you’d want to go with a green theme rather than purple, as green reads “natural” and “eco-friendly”, whereas purple reads “luxurious” and “royal”.

It’s not a trick, but actually a really cool psychology practice used by businesses to ensure that a lot about their brand is displayed through a single look.

Let’s take a dive into what colour theory is and how you can master it to your advantage!


What is colour theory?

In its most rudimentary form, colour theory is the collection of rules and guidelines which designers use to communicate with users through appealing colour schemes in visual interfaces.

It’s important to note that while colour theory applies to the emotional reaction someone will have from your brand, it’s not the be all and end all. You could have a brand that displays the full characteristics of what you want to be, but you still need to ensure your customer service and product quality match it.

So, how does this fit into STEAM? Well, colour theory fits into every industry. If you need to sell a product, service or even yourself as a brand, you’ll need to make sure you’re using colours that represent what you want to do. Let’s look at some examples:


Examples of brands and colour theory


  • PayPal: PayPal’s logo is predominantly in the dark blue category. Through the use of that colour, they are eliciting the emotions of trustworthiness, importance and dependability.
  • Apple: Their logo has taken on many forms over the years (who could forget the rainbow!), but right now Apple are rocking the monochrome black. This is important as black means power and elegance, which is typically what most luxury brands go for in their logo.
  • Amazon: Their logo combines two drastically different colours – black and orange. While black means power, orange has a much more friendly tone of happiness. We would argue they’ve hit the nail on the head with their colour choices.
  • STEAMhouse: We couldn’t help ourselves! Our logo is focused on five colours, all with their own meaning. Light blue signifies helpfulness, orange is friendliness, green is eco-friendly and sustainable, yellow is happiness and pink means successful – everything you’ll get at STEAMhouse!


Why do companies use colour theory?

Companies can use colour theory for a multitude of reasons. It can mainly come down to eliciting a specific emotion from a customer when associated with their brand. For example, when you see the Amazon logo colours, you feel happy knowing your delivery is here, and safe because it’s a brand you can trust. If their logo was just black or just orange, you would have very different feelings towards it.

Another reason why brands focus so much on the colour of their brand is because of sales. A brand’s identity often extends to their website and physical shops, so having an aesthetic inside that matches the brands colours and themes are important. Consumers will make a judgement about a retailer within 90 seconds of entering a store, with 62%-90% of the impressions being made on colour.

So when you’re going through a rebrand, or even creating your brand for the first time, make sure you know what are the right and wrong colours for your industry.