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  • Writer's pictureSarah Butler

Psychology of Colour in Marketing: How to Set the Perfect Tone

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

The psychology of colour is one of the most influential aspects of marketing, especially when it comes to highly visual advertisements like billboards, flyers, posters and so on. and brand elements like your logo.

Effective use of colours can immediately catch the attention of consumers and inspire feelings. Colours can communicate different meanings and elicit a range of responses.

Discover why understanding colours is essential and how they can help you achieve your marketing and overall business goals.

What’s the role of colour in marketing?

The role of colour in marketing is to create a positive association with your brand and product and ultimately drive an action.

Studies show that 90% of an advertisement’s effectiveness is visual. Therefore, getting colours just right is critical for creating an effective marketing strategy.

But the role of colour in marketing goes beyond just getting attention. Consumers frequently associate different colours with certain brands and products. Building a good association can lead to increased sales, better brand recognition, and brand loyalty.

Colour can also be used to evoke certain moods or emotions. This is particularly important when you’re trying to sell a product or service that isn’t inherently exciting, such as accounting or insurance services. Using the right colours in your marketing can help you engage your customers and pique their interest.

How does colour influence consumers’ behaviour?

There is no doubt that colour has a significant impact on the behaviour of the people who are exposed to it. Certain colours are known to cause an emotional response in the viewer.

For example, red is a colour that is associated with urgency, danger, and excitement. That’s why it’s commonly used to promote sales and discounts. Yellow is a colour that is associated with happiness and joy. It can be used to promote optimism and confidence. Blue is a colour that is associated with trust and confidence. Therefore, it can be used to promote a sense of security.


How to use colour in advertising wisely?

When choosing a colour palette for your next advertising campaign or branding, there are a few things to keep in mind.

You should be sure that the colours you choose complement each other. You want the colours to look good when placed side by side, and not clash or look unprofessional.

Keep in mind the goals of your advertising campaign or brand. What do you want your customers to feel? What message are you trying to send? These are things that you should keep in mind while choosing a colour palette. You may also want to consult with a branding expert to ensure you’re making the right colour choices.

Psychology of colours


Whether it is to express fear, terror, or survival, or to express affection and love, red is a very strong and dynamic colour.

Red is also a very energising colour that can be either welcoming or aggressive, depending on its context. If you want to make an impression or catch someone's attention immediately, red is the colour for you. However, use it sparingly to avoid the strong negative reactions it may create.

Red has been associated with anger, love, passion, and aggression.


Generally blue is one of the most-preferred of the colours by people and the most preferred by men because it appears solid, dependable, responsible, and mentally soothing. Because it triggers a mental response rather than a physical one, blue can help to de-stress, relax, and be positive.

However, it can also appear distant, cold, or unfriendly if used in large amounts.

Overall, blue is a popular colour that can create a sense of calm and trust and is beneficial when trying to establish relationships..

Blue can make us feel calm, relaxed, and safe.


Yellow represents of joy, pleasure, cheerfulness, and optimism. Yellow is frequently used to express happiness because it elicits one of the strongest psychological responses in people - in fact it is the first colour that infants respond to. It is a straightforward, primary colour. To lift someone's spirits, boost their confidence, or provide motivation, yellow is the colour to use. Despite all of the positives about yellow it is not wildly popular and often used less than the other primary colours - red and blue.

Yellow can be energizing, helping someone feel happy or optimistic.


The psychological significance of orange is extremely interesting because it blends red's vigour and energy with yellow's friendliness and enjoyment. (It even stimulates our appetite, so be careful if you're hungry!) Psychological comfort is represented by orange. It is also a colour of motivation, which creates a positive mindset and a general spirit of enthusiasm. In tough times, orange is great for providing comfort and generating a sense of enjoyment or freedom in your visuals.

Orange can make your mood more enthusiastic, happy, or excited.


The colour green is associated with balance and harmony. It helps us to recognise right from wrong by balancing both our logical and emotional thoughts. Because green reflects nature's life, serenity, and peace, it is one of the most-seen colours. If you're trying to portray health, relaxation, and stress relief, green is your colour.

While green has a few negative implications like greed and materialism, it has a significantly positive effect more than most other colours.

In addition to positively affecting thinking, relationships, and physical health, green is thought to reduce stress and aid healing. Medical facilities typically include green in their decor.


With the energy of red and the dependability of blue, purple is a perfect blend of physical and spiritual energy and power. It symbolizes luxury, loyalty, courage, mystery, and magic, among other things.

It's a fascinating hue because it soothes as it offers space for imagination and innovation. Because of this, creativity is often associated with purple.

When using purple, don't overuse it because it may cause excessive introspection or distraction.

Purple can make you feel more creative, confident, and brave.


Compassion and love can be stimulated through a softer, less intense red colour, such as pink. It calms rather than stimulates, making it a perfect colour for caring, understanding, and nurturing those in need. It symbolises hope, as well as being highly romantic.

Overuse of pink can be highly draining, express a lack of power, and even be immature.

It can be a good alternative to red when used properly.

Pink can make you calmer, more loving, and less aggressive.


Brown may not be the most visually appealing colour, but it signifies stability, security, and defence. You may also employ brown in situations where black would be too intense.

Because it's the safest colour, brown can seem reserved, monotonous, and boring. Use it when required, but don't rely on it excessively.

Brown can make you feel safer or more secure, but it may also bring to mind feelings of isolation.


Across the globe, gold has a variety of meanings, but it typically symbolises charm, confidence, luxury, and wealth. Gold can also signify friendship, abundance, and prosperity, which is naturally appealing. A lot of gold, on the other hand, can make you seem egotistical, proud, and self-righteous. Like colours such as brown and black, gold should be used sparingly to emphasise rather than be the primary focus.

Gold can make you feel successful and motivated.


Black is a serious, sophisticated and independent colour, as well as a sign of evil, mystery, death, and depression. Black is a colour that is so reserved that it lacks all colours aside from black. It prefers to keep away from the limelight, maintain control, and stay separate from others. Therefore, black is a good choice for high contrast and legible text. Even though black is a powerful colour, you should use it sparingly, particularly as text colour rather than in your visuals.

The colour black can make you feel powerful, mysterious, and grounded.


White is a colour that embodies minimalism, simplicity, purity, innocence, cleanliness, and peace. It can also symbolize new beginnings, symbolising a clean slate and can inspire new ideas. White is a perfect colour for cleanliness, simplicity, and idea creation, but avoid using too much white as it may cause loneliness, isolation, and emptiness.

White can make your mood more optimistic and refreshed.

Reference: Co-Schedule


In a survey, people were asked to choose the colour they associated with particular words.

  • Trust: Most chose the colour blue (34%), followed by white (21%) and green (11%)

  • Security: Blue came out on top (28%), followed by black (16%) and green (12%)

  • Speed: Red was overwhelmingly the favourite (76%)

  • Cheapness: Orange came first (26%), followed by yellow (22%) and brown (13%)

  • High Quality: Black was the clear winner (43%), then blue (20%)

  • High Tech: This was almost evenly split, with black the top choice (26%) and blue and grey second (both 23%)

  • Reliability: Blue was the top choice (43%), followed by black (24%)

  • Courage: Most chose purple (29%), then red (28%), and finally blue (22%)

  • Fear/Terror: Red came in first (41%) followed by black (38%)

  • Fun: Orange was the top choice (28%), followed closely by yellow (26%) and then purple (17%)


Bottom line

Colour is one of the most important aspects of marketing. The right colours can be used to draw attention, elicit the right emotional response, and leave a memorable impression on customers. Using the wrong colours can actually have the opposite effect.

With colour being so ivital, it’s important to understand that you can’t just choose any colours you want. You have to make sure that they’re appropriate for your brand, your audience, and your objectives.


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