The Psychology of Color in Franchise Branding and Design  

The Psychology of Color in Franchise Branding and Design  

Color can speak louder than words when it comes to franchise branding and design. Some colors are so strongly associated with a particular brand – Tiffany blue or Barbie pink, anyone? – that it’s hard to not think of them when you see those particular shades. Great franchise branding is just as distinctive: Who doesn’t crave McDonalds fries when they see the right hues of yellow and red used together, or start dreaming of Dunkin’ coffee and donuts when they see orange and hot pink combined?

Research shows that up to 90% of an initial impression comes from color, and color increases brand awareness and recognition by 80%. That’s why the big M sign is always bright yellow.

In fact, an entire science – color theory or color psychology – is devoted to the study of how colors affect perception and behavior. Color psychology is defined as “hues as a determinant of human behavior.” 

Choosing Brand Colors

The theory of color is not new. In the Middle Ages, gold represented the divine, while blue was associated with the Virgin Mary. Even Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, wrote extensively about the therapeutic properties of colors. 

In the same vein, when franchises choose their brand colors, designers suggest colors based on the brand’s personality and what they want to communicate to consumers. Choosing the right brand colors is extremely important as they will be used on logos, websites, signage, collateral and even your company polo shirts. Generally, designers who work on branding help franchises select two main brand colors (for example, red and yellow or pink and orange) and also some accent colors.

Colors trigger specific feelings among those who see them. For example, blue inspires trust, which is why many banks use blue in their logos. Green, which evokes healing, nature and freshness, is common among health-conscious brands. Red is bold and conveys strength and excitement; it also stimulates the appetite. Yellow suggests creativity, happiness and cheer – and also promotes hunger.

McDonalds’ branding is no accident. Red + yellow = craving for McDonalds fries!

The Value of Color in Branding

Colors used in branding can also affect purchasing decisions and customer perceptions. Science shows that consumers unconsciously form an opinion on products in the first 90 seconds of seeing them, and that 60% to 90% of that initial assessment is based on the colors they see.

A survey of Xerox Corp. customers found that 90% felt color helped them attract new customers; 81% thought their brand colors gave them a competitive edge; and 83% believed their color choices made them appear more successful.

Choosing the right colors for your franchise’s branding is a key decision that could affect everything from whether consumers remember your brand and what you sell to whether they decide to check out a new franchise location. Color helps you communicate with your customers, and it can boost your bottom line.