Ever wonder why so many banks and social media sites tend to have blue logos, and luxury brands stick to basic black? Curious about why women’s clinics nearly always use a soothing shade of purple in their logos?

They do so because they thought through the emotional implications of the colors they’ve chosen on their target audiences.

Brands and organizations choose specific colors for their branding more strategically than you might think, and organizations who make color a prominent driver in their branding efforts can benefit from positive perceptions associated with that color (think of how pink equates with breast cancer research, and yellow reminds us of the LIVESTRONG foundation).

Each color triggers a specific way of thinking and emotion, and it’s in your nonprofit’s best interest to align the colors you use with the feelings you want associated with your brand. For example, The Logo Company found that the color blue brings qualities of credibility, trust, strength, and dependability. Purple, on the other hand, is used to soothe and brings feelings of wisdom and creativity and is favored by women.

Consider the people and causes your nonprofit serves when choosing your color palette. If your nonprofit works with children, the color orange could be great as it is associated with being friendly, cheerful, and confident. An organization involved with the outdoors could benefit from having a green color palette to bring feelings of peace, growth, and health.  Another benefit of green: It’s the easiest color on the eyes.

Some colors to stay away from: Too many neutral, dark colors can be depressing and people will want to leave your website. Holiday themed colors (such as black and orange) are already ingrained in our minds as being associated that holiday, so it would be in your best interest to choose another color palette that doesn’t feel as if it’s competing. The same rule applies to traditional red, white, and blue in standard shades.

What’s the ideal color palette for your nonprofit organization?