The Psychology of Color in Branding and Trade Show Booth Graphics

For many companies, the color scheme they use has as much branding strength as their logo or the brand name itself. Just looking at a yellow and orange circle can make you think of Tide, while Apple has made a fortune reinventing the appeal of shiny, all-white electronics.

The key with all brands and their recognizable color schemes is to remember that each applies to a specific context. Apple did not choose white as a default necessarily because it was a “neutral” or “calm” color, but rather because pure white electronics look simple, clean and pure. Tide did not necessarily choose its orange and yellow color scheme because orange is a “cheerful” or “value-oriented” color, but rather because the scheme helped it stand out on the shelf compared to others.

So, while colors like brown or pink are not pigeon-holed to mean a certain thing for your brand, you will have to experiment and test to see what “works.” Here is some advice for finding the perfect branded color scheme and ensuring it can make the intended impact.

Learn Your Color Wheel

Color choice is an incredibly complex aspect of art, one that even the world’s best sketch or graphic design artists may have trouble grasping.

The trick to remember is that a single color can only do so much on its own. When combined, truly amazing things happen. A swatch of pure red can look interesting, for instance, but it becomes even more intriguing when that red color is painted on a wall with white trim accents. The BP logo since 2010 does not use a particularly beautiful shade of green or yellow, but the visual effect of its diamond pattern creates a vibrant contrast.

Put simply, colors and their effects change based on what other colors they are next to. While this effect can form the basis of simple optical illusions, it is better put to use by experimenting with complementary or contrasting colors. First, take a long look at a color wheel to see how these relationships work. Then, experiment with a few color combinations to find something that sticks out without hurting the eyes.

Understanding how colors interact with one another is the first step towards exercising greater control on the outcome of color choices.

Think In Palettes, Not Generic Colors

Your next step is to realize that colors are most dramatic when used in a palette that recreates the familiar. A fruit basket company, for example, can use saturated indigo, yellow, orange and splashes of red to recall their produce, while a natural foods company may want to use earthier colors with more brown introduced as a way to communicate their connection to nature.

Your best method for getting accustomed to deliberate palette choices lies in studying sample website color schemes, which can open your eyes to various color scheme possibilities, and how they affect the emotions you get from the site as a whole.

You can also study the work of artists like Juanjo Guarnido, who often use a more limited palette than meets the eye. Guarnido can work almost exclusively in grayish brown tones, for instance while still implying colors like blue through selective contrast.

Experiment boldly with jeweled tones, pastels, earthy shades and other “moods” of color in order to choose not just the hues that suit your brand but also the palette that gives justice to its associated values. Feel free to follow instincts like “yellow is a fun color!” but use it as a launching point to try combinations that can also imply fun or create a yellow-like hue through their contrasting relationships.

Get Help From Experts in Trade Show Booth Graphics

Whether you want advice on a color scheme for just one show or input that helps guide your branded colors throughout, we are available to help make you stand out at your next trade show with a gorgeous palette that truly works for your goals. You can order custom trade show graphics and designs or build custom trade show booths from the ground up to suit your needs.

So, whether you need help with color graphics or the whole thing, we are here to make your trade show exhibit incredible! Contact us today to get started.