The Power of Color in Graphic Design

Color in graphic design and branding are meaningful. What makes you slow down at an intersection? How do you identify that fall is around the corner? What alerts you when there is danger? Color. The power of color is undeniable. It can change your mood, make you hungry, or drive you towards buying a new couch! Color guides your emotions without you even recognizing it most of the time. Being able to alter your emotions, it then leads you towards making decisions regarding everything from what take out you want, to what pasta sauce to purchase.

So you are starting a new business and you want your logo pink. Let’s break that down. What is the purpose behind that color? How does that promote what you are selling? Does that set you apart from your competitors? How do your potential clients react to that color? Your brand should be a reflection of who you are, along with what you like. However, you must also take into consideration the psychology behind your colors and what role they play in your brand and the importance of color in graphic design.

Warm and Cool

To begin diving into the power of color’s influence, we will start by dividing them into two groups. Warm and cool colors. The balance of these two groups allow for a balance of emotions when interpreting colors. Below, I have a picture with a calm girl holding a beach chair without obvious emotions showing whether she is simply happy or sad. In the original image you are not able to tell immediately what she is feeling and is more open to interpretation of the view since there is a balance of warm and cool. By editing the color of the photo, we can show the immense impact that these colors have on your perception of reality.

Warm Colors

These include red, orange, and yellow and the combinations within those colors. These colors have the ability to not only spread more happiness and revitalization but also spur your appetite! As you can see below, it can evoke a sense of happiness, optimism, and positivity towards the future.

Cool Colors

Cool colors involve the other half of the color wheel with blue, purple, and green as well as those color combinations. This palette invokes a sense of calmness and relaxation. The impact of these colors are soothing, but can also evoke a sense of somber and sadness as shown.

Colors in Detail

Colors have such a powerful impact that you wouldn’t recognize without taking the time to see the correlations and psychology behind it. The LogoCompany creates an excellent chart to help put into perspective the power of color specifically within brands. Let’s dive into each color and the theory behind them to gain a better understanding of colors in graphic design.

This image is brought to you by The Logo Company.


What do you start drawing when you end up with the yellow crayon? The sun, sunflowers, a smiley face. No wonder anything including this color evokes optimism, happiness, and warmth. As you can see, the brands that adhere to this color promote this idea of bringing happiness and warmth to your overall well-being.

Yellow colors in graphic design


This color brings a sense of energy, warmth, and friendliness. Brands such as Nickelodeon and Fanta bring life and vitality to their logo using this color. Orange is the color of fall for the harvest and new life as well as the vibrance of the sunset. It has also been known to stimulate your appetite!

Orange colors in graphic design


Kelogg’s, Nintendo, and Target are all examples of brands that promote a sense of youthful energy and excitement and use the primary color – red. It also tends to create a sense of urgency and has the power to grab your attention. Just think about the instant reaction when you see a stop sign, danger alert, or sale sign. Using red in these signs alert the viewer to react immediately, whatever that reaction may be. When using it in a brand you have to be careful to avoid negativity as it is such a powerful color teetering between strength and warmth.

Red colors in graphic design


In its origin, purple tones provide a sense of royalty and spirituality, but when it translates over to brands it creates a feeling of luxury, wise knowledge, and loyalty. It is an intriguing color as it allows for new opportunities and ideas, but is used more sparingly within brands.

purple colors in graphic design


Blue is one of the most commonly used colors for a wide range of brands as it evokes security, serenity, and most importantly, trust. It is the color that is used the most world-wide as the psychology behind it translates the most consistently. Think of the sky or the ocean, they provide you that calmness that lies behind the psychology of blue. This reaction is a mental reaction rather than a physical one such as orange. For this reason, it is often used for hospitals, spas, and companies you can rely on and feel safe with.

blue colors in graphic design


This is also well-known and has a more obvious theory behind the color as we see green around us in nature every day. It promotes both growth and peace but it also provides a sense of balance and harmony in life. Animal Planet, Whole Foods, and Holiday Inn are excellent examples of the use of green’s psychology in their branding and graphic design aspects.

green colors in graphic design


Black, white, and everything in between are considered to give balance through a combination of black’s sophistication and control as well as white’s clarity and peacefulness. It provides a feeling of high quality and a bold statement to your brand.

neutral colors in graphic design

These meanings are subject to change over time because color theory is rooted in your cultural references and they will vary slightly from country to religion to upbringing.

With that in mind, the colors you use can alter the meaning behind your brand’s mission and overall approach. We can help you determine what best aligns with not only who you are, but who you want your brand to be. Never again request your logo to just be pink, allow us to help you ensure the reasoning behind your logo color palette aligns with your brand and all graphic design aspects.

Curious what your colors are doing for your brand? Let us help discover your company’s goal to drive results and find a color palette that achieves it from every aspect. Get a free branding and graphic design consultation today.

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