At the beginning, even before we apply to BlueChilli, most of us brainstorm a brand name for our startup, register a domain, setup a Launchrock page, Google Apps for email, and brief the 99Designs community on a logo.

As soon as we choose a logo we like, we’re all set, right?

Wrong. It fascinates me how many startup founders are actually colour-blind and how many are figuratively so. We so often choose the wrong colours for our startup brand design that I wonder if there’s a correlation with Asperger’s spectrum. So many startup people miss that the colour of your brand conveys both conscious and subconscious meaning to the viewer.

See, colour psychology is a thing.

I could illustrate this point by picking on the startup portfolio of almost any startup accelerator but if you’ve got a crowdsourced logo for your startup (or you designed it yourself) pull it up now in your browser and check to make sure the meaning of the colours in your logo stacks up against the emotions you’d like to elicit when someone glances at it.

Colour meanings vary according to nationality, culture, religion, gender and age so match the right colours to the demographic you’re hoping to attract, whether your primary audience is currently potential co-founders, investors, or actual paying customers.

Colour meanings vary over time. In the early 2000s I spent some time in Seoul working with a startup team based there and noticed 99% of the vehicles on the road were black, with 1% silver. In a three day visit I could count the number of silver, red, yellow, green, white or blue vehicles I’d seen on two hands. Pan around on Google StreetView today and you can see that while the percentage of silver cars is much higher, there are still very few other primary colours.

In Australia, you don’t just pick a red car in the showroom for no reason, you pick it because you know red cars go faster!

Early in your startup’s life, the product, service or business is little more than a pitch deck, a handful of founders, a Launchrock page and that brand design. It’s never more important than now to pick the right colour for it.

Filed under:   brand   colour   communications   design