Carrying on with our WOI 101 series, and with the most recent news that “Hong Kong Tram Green” has been added to the Pantone series, let’s dive into the basics behind colour psychology. We will look at the basic principles and how this niche affects brand and marketing.

What is colour psychology?

Colour psychology explores the relationship between these thoughts and emotions and how it connects with colour. All brands have a colour scheme and this should reflect the brand’s identity and what it wants to express about itself.

The visual brand identity of any product or service is linked with the colours that are chosen. Whilst it may sound obvious – the colours you choose say a lot about your brand. It’s not as simple as black, white, pink, blue, but a highly nuanced element of branding that taps into human emotion.

Colours, like all sensory stimuli, can evoke certain reactions and neurological connections. If the emotion, memory, or connotation is a positive one, this can then reinforce the core brand messaging and deepen the bond between the brand and its customers.

Let’s take Hong Kong Tramways as an example. This beloved institution is an iconic part of the city’s travel system. With such prolific visibility across the city’s major business and consumer shopping hubs, it also remains a highly relevant player in the advertising industry. The Hong Kong tram is well-known, much loved, and easily identifiable – the elements of a strong brand. In 2021, Hong Kong partnered with the Pantone Color Institute to reveal the new shade of ‘HK Tram Green’. While you may have never asked yourself the question before, can you imagine the tram in another colour? A lighter shade? A yellowish green? Or a turquoise green? It’s like trying to imagine a London black taxi being New York city yellow; it’s just not right. The colour represents Hong Kong at a cultural and social level. It tells a story and conjures up an emotion.

Visual Identity and Colour Choices in Colour Psychology

Visual identity is the handheld microphone that voices the ‘why’ in your brand. If marketing is the activity brand is the reason why anyone should say “yes”. So marketing is asking someone out on a date and the brand is the reason they would agree.

Brand identity and colour choices clearly go hand in hand and one complements and amplifies the another. Colours can be associated with both positive and negative emotions – a highly subjective experience. With that in mind, choosing the right colours and setting the right tone increases your chance to secure attention from your target audience. The choice of colour is so crucial to branding that many companies will employ colour psychologists to work with them but also to help educate their stakeholders and target audience.

Having grasped that colour psychology is crucial to establish and convey the vision of your brand, here is a quick checklist of points to keep in mind:

Does this colour appeal to your customers?

The Coca-Cola Red is a great example to use here. The vibrant red evokes the feeling of a rush of happiness, energy, and adrenaline. In addition, the guys at Coke must have known that an eye-catching colour has been proven to encourage impulse purchases. Great for a “grab and go” product!

Get to know your customers!

People’s perceptions of colour can vastly differ and so getting to know your target audience will make choosing the right colour. The “Tiffany Blue” is a great example here where the audience is after timeless, elegance and something that is iconic and is about celebratory moments. All of which is what the company Tiffany hopes to offer. The colour evokes timeless elegance, luxury, and a one-of-a-kind experience. Consumers dream of that little blue box.

So, colour plays a big part in the branding of a company and the message it wishes to convey to its target audience about the product or service they offer.

WOI opts for a simple, gender-neutral colour scheme. In our case, our customers and clients range from government-to-airports, business aviation brands, tech companies, international and boarding schools, wellness brands, luxury, and start-ups. Like the iconic Hong Kong tram, we don’t have a narrow customer group and our colour scheme reflects that.

If you would like help getting started with brand, marketing, PR (public relations), influencer (KOL) marketing, email marketing, web design, content marketing or events – WOI is here to help.

Thank you for reading this WOI 101, you may also be interested in reading

White Orchid Insights is a full-service boutique agency. If you want to help with your branding or marketing, please do not hesitate to reach out.

About WOI

White Orchid Insights is a creative PR and marketing agency offering consultancy and services across digital and traditional marketing, public relations and media engagement, communications, and events. We offer services for the travel, transport, luxury, international education, wellness, F&B, start-up, consumer products, and non-profit sectors.


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