What Your Business Colors Say About Your Brand

[This guest post is by business branding consultant Scott Quinlan.]

Small companies sometimes struggle with their image. Big corporations pretty much have it nailed down. What’s the dividing line here? Usually, it’s color—as in, the company’s colors.

Studies have shown that 60 to 80 percent of a product’s color can influence a customer’s purchase. It’s incredible, but it makes sense. You’ve probably noticed this in your own buying habits. Some colors are naturally calming, while others make you feel invigorated. Some colors are almost inherently sophisticated, while others make you feel relaxed.

What Do Your Brand Colors Mean?

The psychology behind colors is powerful and can send customers and prospects a subliminal message about what a brand does and stands for before a customer even steps foot in their doors.

Here’s how to effectively color-code your small business for maximum impact.


Red evokes a passionate and somewhat visceral response in people. It’s a “power” color. It can increase your heart rate, make you breath more shallow and rapidly, and it activates the pituitary gland. In the wild, red is often the color of danger.

Any kind of small business oriented around the entertainment industry would benefit from this color. Think nightclubs, high-end catering services, and some small (niche) ethnic restaurants. You could also use it as an accent color to spice up your existing image a bit.


Blue is thought to be a very calming color. It’s the color of the sea and of the sky. It connotes dependability, security, and trustworthiness. These are all things that small businesses desperately need to convey.

Insurance agents, independent money managers, and other financial services professionals all benefit from the use of blue. It’s also commonly used in hospitality-related services. In fact, any service-based business would benefit from liberal use of this color.

Black and Gray

Black is used to demonstrate a classic sophistication. It works really well if you sell expensive products. Prestige, value, and timelessness are all signatures of a black color scheme.

This is probably unsuitable for finance-based companies (it could alienate your customers). However, it’s great for clothiers, tailors, and fashion-based companies. Basically, if you sell luxury items or services, black is an excellent color for you.


Yellow is an excellent choice to convey warmth, motivation, creativity, and light. It’s reminiscent of sunshine, offers hope and optimism while simultaneously catching the customer’s eye. In fact, yellow is often used in real estate to make older homes seem “brighter,” making it a great choice for brokers and anyone else working in any field related to the industry.

In small diners, yellow can be used to give a warm feeling to the establishment—almost a “homey” feel. If your company could use “brightening,” or you’re in an industry where you need to convey a sense of warmth, use yellow.

How Many Colors Should I Use?

Stick to one or two colors at most. Don’t overdo it. If your logo (or signage) is filled with three or four different colors, it will only confuse customers—even when the color scheme matches. You’re a small business, but you don’t have to come across as an amateur.

Ninety-five percent of the world’s top companies use only one or two colors. Take a hint from them.


About the author:

Scott Quinlan is a business branding consultant. He enjoys blogging about his insights and his posts mainly appear on website marketing blogs. Visit Impact Custom Signs to get more ideas for your business.

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