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When it comes to personal branding, the right colors have the power to attract clients and opportunities, while the wrong colors can do the exact opposite. So, what’s the secret to choosing brand colors that lead you to the C-suite and closing bigger deals?
The first step in figuring this out is understanding the psychology of color. Color has the power to influence human behavior. It can be utilized to induce a desired mood or emotion in someone and elicit a desired response (Masterclass Staff, 2022).
Colors are broken into several categories, the most common being primary and secondary colors. The primary colors are defined as colors from which all other colors can be created by mixing. The primary colors are:
Secondary colors are created by mixing two primary colors, with the most common being:
The psychology of color
Each color can vary in intensity, also known as chroma (think, electric blue vs. navy blue) and its value (lightness or darkness). Here is a quick reference guide:
Blue is calming and trustworthy. This is why many financial and healthcare services use blue in their branding.
Yellow is cheerful and optimistic — perfect for brands that want to communicate happiness and positivity.
Green is refreshing and natural, making it an excellent choice for eco-friendly and health-focused brands.
Orange is energetic and playful, often used by brands targeting younger audiences.
Purple is associated with royalty, luxury and mystery. If you want to convey a sense of sophistication and elegance in your branding, purple is the way to go.
Black, white and brown are considered neutral colors, but they also evoke emotions:
Black is powerful and mysterious.
White is pure, sophisticated and simple.
Brown is a mixture of all the primary colors and is natural, earthy and strong.
When it comes to personal branding, you want your brand colors to represent who you are, and authenticity is everything. Choosing your brand’s color isn’t a game of “hope for the best.” It’s a scientific approach that starts with clarifying what you want to achieve and how you want to be perceived by your ideal audience.
For example, let’s say that you are a take-charge nurse who wants to leverage a personal brand’s power to move into an administrative role. In this case, you may lean towards choosing colors that convey compassion, excellence and leadership.
Let’s use Kaiser Permanente, a non-profit healthcare organization, as an example. The brand’s logo uses a calming blue to represent “loyalty and trust,” while the white brings balance and peace to the logo. When you look at the Kaiser logo, how do you feel? Do you see how this large organization used color to make the brand feel “human”?
Get clear on how you want to be perceived by others
Now that you have an overview of color psychology, it’s time to understand how you want others to see and experience you. What are three words you want people to use when they describe you? What colors come to mind when you hear the words fiery, bold and ambitious?
Ask yourself how your industry and/or niche are viewed. Would you expect to see a doctor in private practice using pink and purple in their branding? Another point to consider when thinking about industry standards is: Do you want to disrupt the industry or offer a slightly different approach?
Your primary brand color is the color you’ll use most often. It should demand attention. Visually, it is the star of your show and is used in your logo, website, social media and marketing materials. Your secondary brand colors are the colors you’ll use less often in your branding. They can accentuate some aspects of your website or add visual interest.
Consistency is key
Now that you know the psychology behind choosing the right colors for your brand, it’s essential to use your colors consistently. You’ll use your brand colors on your website and marketing materials.
Another area where your brand colors should be consistent is in your attire. So many leaders and entrepreneurs miss the mark by displaying brand presence in the way they dress. If you’re planning on doing any public speaking, attending events or networking, wear your brand colors! By showing up “on brand,” you will stand out in a crowd and make yourself unforgettable.
If advancing in your career is your goal, consider using your brand colors in your email signature, across social media and any other place you show up. To remain consistent, you also need to know the hex codes of your brand’s color.
What is a hex code?
A hex code is a six-digit combination of numbers and letters to specify a color. Hex codes start with a pound sign (#) and are followed by six characters, three numbers and three letters. For example, the hex code for electric blue is #00FFFF.
Hex codes are essential for personal branding, because they ensure that your brand colors are consistent across all platforms. When you use hex codes, you can be confident that the blue in your logo will match the blue on your website, and the green in your social media posts will match the green in your email signature.
A best practice is to create a guide that outlines your brand standards, including your color palette, words that describe your brand, etc. This document is known as a brand guide, and it can also include logos, fonts and even the filters you use on social media. As your brand grows, everyone on your team will know the standards, and they can easily maintain the same level of consistency.
Color is an essential tool that should not be overlooked for personal branding. By understanding the psychology of color and choosing colors that align with your goals and values, you can create a strong and recognizable personal brand.