ccountants – and other businesses within the financial services sector for that matter – are often known for their conservative, risk-averse nature. Their tendency to always err on the side of caution can extend into their approach towards developing their brand concept, especially when it comes to the colours they use to shape their corporate identity. Here, we discuss the common palettes that are often associated with accountancy firms, and how they are often used to achieve different outcomes.
Our research into Essex Accountants websites shows a staggering 59% of accountants use blue in their branding. The colour that accountancy practices choose to represent themselves and their brands with will create an impression with the website visitor. There are of course the well-known tropes on colour theory, blue for trust, red for danger, green for nature, for example, but when companies use branding as a tool for deliberate differentiation we discovered just how far accountants were using colour to stand out from their competition.
Why is blue often the colour of choice for accountants?
Take a look around the web at what’s on offer from accountancy firms up and down the country, and you’ll stumble across every shade of blue imaginable. Indeed, research has suggested that well over half of industry-leading companies in this sector have chosen blue hues as the basis for their brand image.
Blue is typically associated with peace and calm, so using this colour within your brand goes some way to establishing your firm as competent and in control. It’s a shade that’s been associated with feelings of trust, loyalty and honesty, too – three characteristics that any potential client wants to find in their accountant of choice.
However, there are some negative meanings behind blue that must be considered if you’re thinking of choosing this colour as the basis of your brand. In some people it can evoke feelings of weakness, spitefulness and rigidity; in others, blue represents self-righteousness and emotional instability.
According to Joe Hallock, who conducted an often-cited survey on colour assignment, blue is also equally respected by both men and women – perhaps another reason why image-conscious accountancy firms are reluctant to stray too far from the norm here.
Using colours practically within your brand designs
Each colour – or combination of colours – encourages a different emotional response from your audience. So it makes sense, then, that accountants should choose their brand palettes wisely.
· Blues, greys, and some pinks and purples are typically used in a more ‘serious’ sense. These shades will add weight to any message, because they won’t distract the reader from what you’re trying to say.And as we’ve already mentioned, blue itself is often automatically associated with all kinds of financial services thanks to its extensive use in this sector.
· Reds, oranges and yellows can signal happiness and vitality or passion and anger, depending on the chosen tones and the ways in which they are applied. Though they are best used sparingly, these colours can inject a little energy into your visuals; they make great backdrops for call to actions (CTAs), and will draw the eye towards promotional text.
· Browns and blacks are associated with formality, reliability and maturity. Too much use of these colours within a brand design can make the visuals look heavy and intimidating, but they can certainly be used as a welcome contrast to the lead shade if you want to add a touch of sophistication to your designs.
· Purples and pinks are typically described as friendly and feminine, and they’re also associated with royalty, spirituality and a tendency to nurture. They’re not popularly used amongst accountants, but that’s not to say you can’t add them to your palette if your brand embodies some of these qualities.
· Green conjures up visions of growth, self-reliance and reliability. Again, it’s not usually the first choice for designers that are creating a new branding concept for an accountancy firm, but it could be better suited to independent financial advisors whose role is to grow their clients’ portfolios.
Can you –and should you – defy convention when it comes to your brand colours?
Our clients recognise (as our research shows) that many accountants simply opt for 'safe' colour schemes in their branding, and in turn their websites design and brand message often fail to convey their point of difference. However this needn't be that case, as we illustrate with our brand development for Zyla Accountants.
For example, PwC – previously PricewaterhouseCoopers, until the firm underwent a rebranding exercise of their own back in 2010 – have gone completely against the grain by using oranges, yellows and pinks within their moniker. Though traditionally psychology dictates that these colours do not convey the firm’s fundamental values, they are associated with friendliness, openness and a desire to please, so they do tie in nicely with the company’s commitment to establishing great relationships with their clients.
Before you make any decisions, speak with a design agency with extensive experience in developing effective brands for accountancy companies. In other words, get in touch with Prosper!
Written by Ben Stanbury