Blue is one of the most well-regarded colors. Many people identify it as their “favorite” color. It seems like blue is an ideal color to add into your brand, right? Like, one of those colors that’s a no-fail win to attract the audience you want.
But hold on.
Just like all the other colors, blue can be incredible or it can feel off, as if it doesn’t go with the mood of the brand. It all depends on how you use it.
The blue Cookie Monster on Sesame Street (my fave character as a child) and the blue of a police uniform are different and convey different meanings. Cookie Monster’s primary blue revealed an energetic exuberance when his favorite snack came around. Kids loved it and resonated with his love for sweet treats.
If you want to create a feeling of energy, exuberance and joy, you may want to add in a bright, warm blue. But if the goal of your business is to bring a sense of strength and calm to your clients, the bright blue would not be the color to use.
In all of the seasons, the general underlying message of blues is smart, calm and collected. Their energy is focused. They work to settle down nervous energy, to bring a calm strength.
Blue speaks of intelligence and a sense of calm. It is the color that is most associated with intelligence and has the reputation of being linked with intelligent, calm and intuitive.
Who should use blue in their branding? Well, what do you want your patients to feel when they look at your book cover, landing page, brochure? Do you want them to feel…..
- Calm, they are in the hands of a professional
- Smart and intelligent
- In control
- Guided, in a solid space
I’ve included different pictures below to show how blue can be used in different ways to convey different feelings. Be aware of how the different pictures make you feel and the energy with each picture.
Do any of them make you excited or want to go outside?
Do any of the pictures trigger a memory, a taste, a fear?
Use Blue as a Dominant Color to Show Strength and Smartness
Dominant colors should ground the look and feel of a visual image, whether it’s a brochure, a landing page on a website or a color in an illustration. Deep blues, both warm and cool, are a solid, calming base for fonts, logos and dominant colors. Blue acts as a balancing support for brighter, more energetic colors, creating a palette that will not overwhelm the viewers.
A business would want to use a dominant blue to create that sense of intelligent and calm when black would be too severe and browns would be too sobering. Blue, especially primary blue and navy blue are seen as authoritative and smart while an autumn-linked teal or blue-green conveys a sense of a mystery, depth, deep thinking.
Dominant blues include navy blue, blueberry blue, charcoal blue (you would get this by mixing Payne’s gray and ultramarine blue in a watercolor palette), a dark teal and a primary blue with a high saturation in it.
Use Lighter Blues to Add Calmness, especially if the rest of the Business Style is Bright or Uber-Energetic
Blues as a supportive or accent color add zest without being over-dramatic. It brings a sense of calm.
Lighter blues include periwinkle, icy blue, a light gray blue and various shades of turquoise. Blues in a supportive, accent role should be the pop of color in the design, adding a bit of a bounce and energy to the piece.
Blue in Spring-Linked Branding
Blues in the spring-linked business palette are going to be warm and infused with light. They will be the most primary of all the blues. Think of that Crayola Crayon in the classic 8 crayon (or markers) box. Primary blue is a great color to use as a base to be a foundation for other brighter colors like pinks, lavenders, greens and oranges.
Blues found in the spring-linked business include primary blue, cobalt blue, sky blue
Blue In Summer-Linked Businesses
Blues in summer may often be the grounding color to the elegant pinks, lilacs, peaches and neutral colors that make up the summer-linked colors. Blues in the summer space will have cool undertone, like a police officer’s uniform.
Summer blues find their sources in nature and include periwinkle, the blues commonly found in the fields of wildflowers or the deeper blue-purple color of blueberries.
Blue in Autumn-Linked Businesses
There are a wide variety of blues to be explored and experimented with in the autumn-linked pallete. Most of the blues are going to be deeper in this palette. They must be warm-based or they will clash with the other colors of the palette. All ‘moody’ blues belong in the autumn-linked seasonal archetype. Notice the feeling of strength in this picture of the incoming storm? The colors of the sky and clouds are dominating the feel of this picture. How do you feel looking at this picture?
All the teals are in the autumn-linked palette. Depending on how much yellow or green is being added to the blue, there is a wide variety of shades that make for rich, earthy colors.
Blue in Winter-Linked Business
In winter, the blues, should be very, very cool. Think of a dark navy military uniform for a grounded, base blue. Choosing this kind of blue will give a solid, cerebral, grounded look to your business, helping others to take you seriously.
The other type of blue that will work well in winter-linked businesses is the icy blue. The icy blue is an accent or a main color. It’s much more eye-catching and bold and has not only a feeling of smartness about it, but an icy cold confidence.
Think about the blue glacier ice that has an almost neon tinge to it. With colors today, we can emphasize on the neon color. Think of other icy, winter pops of color such as a neon pink or a mint green.
Finally, there is the Tiffany blue, which has become an iconic color because of the brand. (You can read my case study on the Tiffany’s brand here).
I love what Angela Wright, renowned colorist and author of The Beginner’s Guide to Color Psychology says about blue: “Lighter tones (of blue) indicate a reflective mood and a wish for gentleness; the darker the blue the more efficient and authoritative.” Keep this in mind when choosing the types of blue to add in to your business style.
Here’s a tip for you: one of the simplest ways to change the feel of your business style is to hone in on the pictures you use everywhere: social media, blog posts, landing pages, book covers, background for head shots, live shots (classes, workshops, demos).
Are you getting ideas for how to use blue more effectively in your business style? If you want to your clients to feel calmer, smarter or stronger, blue might be the color to use. If you have questions about blue, leave a comment down below.