Colour Connotations in Branding Explained

colour connotations


The colour red has a range of different contextual connotations as it’s representative of fire, danger, love, desire and passion.

It’s a bold, energetic and lively colour which is symbolic of strength, confidence and power.

If other brands in your industry are avoiding red, the colour can be used to help your brand stand out from the crowd as it’s a colour which draws attention to itself and demands to be noticed. 


The colour of sunshine, yellow is used for friendly, smiley and joyful brands. However, it can also be a cautionary colour because of its visibility.

Some shades of yellow can give your brand a cheap look so if you want to use yellow to depict a friendly tone, make sure you analyse the different shades available. 


Blue is a favourite for companies wanting to portray their brand as reliable and trustworthy. However, blue is one of the most versatile colours and has calming qualities thanks to its association with the sea and sky. In contrast to this, it can also be associated with sadness and depression.

As blue is one of the most popular colours for brands with its array of meanings, make sure you pick your shade carefully so that it matches up with your brand essence.  


Value, luxury and prestige. It’s a colour which reflects wisdom, beauty and generosity.


Sophisticated, calming but uplifting. 


Cleanliness, safety and purity. White space helps spark creativity since it can be perceived as an unaltered, clean state. 


Strong, comforting and reliable. It relates well to businesses that promote down-to-earth, outdoor products and services. 


Practicality, age and solidarity. 
Too much grey can imply feelings of nothingness and depression. 

Understanding colour connotations and colour symbolism is key to being able to use colour to influence your consumer’s thoughts on your brand. This is an important skill to transform your brand’s image during a rebranding.

Different colours have different connotations for viewers and it’s important you understand these underlying meanings so that you can choose colours to achieve your desired branding effect on your customers. For example, McDonald’s choose the high energy colours red and yellow to make customers feel energetic and in a rush for faster customer turnover.

Although the effect that colours have on our emotions differs from person to person based on gender, cultural context, personal experience and neurological variances, there are some general rules of thumb created from colour psychology studies.

This insights post provides a colour guide to help you choose colours to express your brand appropriately and effectively.

It’s important to know what your brand colours suggest to your customers as colour increases brand recognition by up to 80% and 90% of consumers’ instant decisions are based on colours alone.


Orange is representative of adventure, it is optimistic, inspiring, sociable and implies affordability. 
This colour is best avoided for luxury, traditional or serious brands as this colour is associated with fun and vibrant brands. 


The colour of nature and the environment, green is representative of sustainability, organic produce and growth.

Brighter greens are indicative of growth, vitality and renewal whereas richer greens represent wealth, abundance and prestige.  


Royalty, wisdom and respect. This colour stimulates problem-solving and creativity.

Darker shades often represent luxury whereas lighter lavender shades are quite feminine, sentimental and even nostalgic. 


Stereotypically, the colour pink has been associated with females. However, the colour is still quite diverse. Pale pink represents sweetness whereas dusty pink is sentimental and light pink is romantic. For youthfulness, energy, fun and excitement, hot pink is your go to colour. 


Authority, power, stability and strength. 
This colour can be intimidating and unfriendly if used too frequently.