Written and published in partnership with Social Change Consulting
Color is the place where our brain and the universe meet. – Paul Klee
Are you drawn to certain colors? Does a particular color calm you? Or excite you? Colors can spark certain emotions. Every color has a different feel or emotion and various associations, such as…
blue is associated with: trust, dependability, strength
green: peace, growth, health
red: excitement, youth, boldness
yellow: optimism, clarity, warmth
orange: friendliness, cheer, confidence
For more: Color Emotion Guide
While sparking our emotions, color can play a role in how we perceive the world — and brands — around us. As a nonprofit, you have a brand to develop and maintain. An intentional and strategic use of color is a key element of building your strong brand.
When choosing a color for use in a new campaign or a refreshed logo, there’s more to it than choosing colors that you like. Your color choices will evoke certain emotions and feelings, so select a color that will represent your identity effectively. While not everyone in your audience will make these associations, or it may strictly be subconscious, it’s beneficial to consider the connections.
The colors you choose for your organization — and its design and marketing materials – can have a substantial impact on the first impression you make with your viewers, as well as long-term benefits. Color choices can drive the feeling communicated to your audience, can positively affect the perception of the organization, and possibly drive donations.
When choosing colors, ask yourself:
Do your color choices match your mission? You want the color choices to be appropriate, and match what you do and communicate. For some nonprofits, this can be difficult. It seems fairly straightforward that a water resource protection non-profit would use the color blue, the color of water, to brand itself. But what does a provider of literacy programs use? What color relates to animal adoption services?
Do your color choices match your brand’s personality? Use color to represent and reinforce your brand’s personality. If you’re big and bold, your visual message should be in line with that. If you’re a serious organization, blue or grey may be good choices. Keep in mind the colors extend beyond the logo to your organization’s website, letterhead, email campaigns, brochures, advertisements, and more.
What colors are used by your competition? Consider the colors used within your sector. We suggest striking a balance between being unique and on the same playing field. You want to stand out from the children’s non-profit next door, while still being relatable to the overarching marketplace.
A couple of our favorites, from tried and true nonprofit brands:
Greenpeace – Its use of green is an obvious and spot-on choice considering the organization’s mission of keeping the world “green” and at peace. Green leads our minds to health and growth, as well as nature and the environment.
Boys and Girls Club – The use of blue, indicative of trust and strength, in the logo drives home the club’s mission of enabling all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.
With a little research and consideration, great color options are out there. If you want to brainstorm your use of color, please give us a shout and we’ll be happy to help you identify that perfect palette.
True Colors: What Your Brand Colors Say About Your Business
The Science Behind Color