Color Psychology: How Colors Influence Your Marketing & Brand
Have you ever gone into a store to look for something but ended up spending more time with other products? Do you remember being attracted by the colors of the packaging?
Or have you ever been fond of a company because of the colors in their logo design?
How about the color scheme of a website?
Whether you realize it or not, a lot of what you judge a company by are the colors it uses in its branding and marketing. Your subconscious is very picky about visual information.
But you have to remember that your target audience is programmed the same way when they’re exposed to your company for the first time.
And that might be on your company’s LinkedIn profile.
It might be when they land on your homepage.
It could even be an advertisement.
That’s where color psychology will help you stand out.
In this resource, I’ll talk about:
- What color psychology is and how it relates to branding and marketing
- The meaning behind some of the major colors —- including emotional appeal
- Numerous examples of companies that use color psychology effectively
First, let’s define what color psychology is ...
What Is Color Psychology?
Color psychology studies how human behavior is affected by colors.
You see, not every color makes you feel the same way.
For example, in Joe Hallock’s survey, it was found that 42% of respondents associated the color black with high quality and just 3% did for the color red.
But on the other hand, 75% of respondents associated red with speed, while only 4% did so with the color black.
And a lot of the top companies around the world understand the different meanings of each color.
In business, you can use color psychology to make consumers associate your brand with specific emotions. Or to make them take action.
So it’s important that your brand uses color schemes that align with how you want to be recognized.
Because if you don’t, you’ll turn away potential customers.
Color is the first thing that stands out when looking at a logo. Or looking at product packaging. And when you land on a website.
According to the University of Winnipeg, color accounts for up to 90% of someone’s initial assessment.
Your branding colors will influence how a consumer’s subconscious perceives your company.
And some colors just work better in certain industries.
For example, yellow is relatively rare in virtually every industry except for fast food — where it’s one of the most popular choices used by companies.
In order to master color psychology and apply it to your branding and marketing, you first need to know what each color represents.
With that, let’s start off with the color red ...
1. Color Psychology in Marketing: Red
In color psychology, the color red is associated with passion, excitement and high energy.
And there’s even a belief that the color red can build up people’s appetite — that’s why you see so many fast food chains use the color red in their logos.
The color red is also popular in retail branding.
According to Canva, 60% of retail brand logos.
For marketing, you can use the color red to stimulate your audience and add a sense of urgency or get them to take action. That’s why red call-to-action buttons are so popular.
In one case study, a UX design firm increased its CTA conversion rate by 34% by switching the button from green to red.
2. Color Psychology in Marketing: Orange
Orange is associated with youthfulness, creativity, boldness and friendliness.
For example, video game publisher Rockstar Games uses the color orange in its logo because it represents the company’s creative side.
Moreover, Rockstar is the gold standard in the video game industry — so the company’s sense of boldness is also captured through its use of orange.
Furthermore, your marketing content can use orange to create an inviting atmosphere for consumers.
TV network Nickelodeon uses the color orange in its branding to present itself as youthful and friendly — two things that would grab the attention of children scrolling through the TV channels.
As reported by the University of Mumbai, children between the ages of 3 and 6 like the color orange more than any other age group.
And the color orange stands out. Almost like it’s calling for your attention (kind of like traffic cones).
According to QuerySprout, one of the reasons Home Depot chose orange for its branding was because it would be easier for customers to track down salespeople in the store.
Just like red, an orange CTA button is what a website visitor’s eyes will get glued to.
Look at the example from Fidelity Investment’s homepage.
In an interesting study by Joe Hallock, he found that orange is associated with “cheap/inexpensive” by 26% of survey respondents — leading all colors in that regard.
With that in mind, orange packaging could be a good idea for bargain products.
3. Color Psychology in Marketing: Yellow
Like the sun, yellow is associated with happiness and optimism in color psychology.
There’s several reasons why a brand might use the color yellow in its branding and marketing:
- To promote fast dining
- To represent a brighter future
- To connect with the youth
- To grab the attention of consumers quickly
- To encourage bargain shopping
Although it invokes positivity, an overdose of yellow can lead to agitation.
According to Forbes, just 2% of people vote yellow as their favorite color.
For best practices, it’s advised to use it as a supporting color.
And if you do use yellow as the primary color in any of your marketing materials, avoid an overly bright shade.
4. Color Psychology in Marketing: Green
Green is associated with nature, growth, harmony and balance.
And green is known to have a calming effect on people.
As an example of the color green being used to capture the essence of growth, look no further than the AutoGrow website. The shade of green AutoGrow uses aligns perfectly with our brand mission — to nurture creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit.
A lot of brands also use the color green to reflect their environmentally friendly image.
Some companies, like National Rail, temporarily redesign their logo to green to align with its environmental awareness initiative.
According to Statista, 77% of global consumers think sustainability and eco-friendliness is at least moderately important for a brand to practice.
But the use of green can also indicate that a brand is fresh or show that they’re in touch with nature. For this, think of brands like John Deere, Starbucks and Whole Foods.
And darker shades of green represent wealth and stability, which is why financial institutions often include dark green in their branding.
5. Color Psychology in Marketing: Blue
Blue is associated with trust, security and stability in color psychology.
If you’re marketing a product or service that needs to project those qualities, then blue can be a great choice.
And it’s no surprise why blue is the most popular color used by companies. According to Marketo, 33% of the world’s top 100 brands use blue in their logos.
Likewise, 75% of credit card companies use blue in their logos, according to research from the University of Rhode Island and University of Massachusetts Amherst.
By using blue, you can make your audience feel safe and secure around your brand and content.
Therefore, blue is especially prominent in not just the financial industry but also in the tech, airline and healthcare industries.
6. Color Psychology in Marketing: Purple
Purple is one of the rarest colors in nature.
Because of that, it’s associated with luxury and royalty.
For example, Cadbury uses purple in its logo and website branding.
And NBA franchise Sacramento Kings fittingly utilizes purple to symbolize royalty.
But it also strongly correlates with femininity.
In a survey from sociologist Philip Cohen, he found that 27% of women state that purple is their favorite color — second only to the color blue.
Because of its popularity among women, you see it used for things like International Women’s Day and with cosmetic brands.
7. Color Psychology in Marketing: Black and Grayscale
As reported by Foundr, 28% of the world’s top brands use black or grayscale.
In branding, black is associated with confidence and power.
Accordingly, it’s a popular choice among brands to send messages that they’re high end, sophisticated or professional.
So we see luxury brands make use of the color black, especially in the fashion industry.
But you also see companies like Nike, Puma and Adidas use black in their logos to convey strength.
Using a black font color is a popular choice for marketing materials such as web design, lead magnets, email, mobile apps, and even newspapers.
And for good reason too.
According to a Cutting Edge PR, black text on white background yields a 70% good comprehension level — more than any other combination of colors.
Then you have grayscale.
Grayscale is used when brands want to remain neutral. In other words, they want a clean aesthetic that won’t turn anyone away.
For example, Apple is probably the most iconic brand that uses grayscale in its branding.
8. Color Psychology in Marketing: White
White is associated with purity, cleanliness and simplicity.
And white provides the best contrast with other colors.
Therefore, many brands use white in the background of their logo designs.
In marketing, it’s very easy to incorporate white into your workflow.
For example, with whitespace.
Web designers, including the ones at AutoGrow, make whitespace their best friend.
If you don’t know what whitespace is, it’s the areas of a page that don’t include copy or pictures.
With whitespace, your web pages have room to breathe. And the reader’s eyes are drawn to your main elements because there aren’t any distractions.
Remember though, that despite its name, whitespace doesn’t have to be white.
But it’s a popular choice because it delivers such great contrast with any color.
9. Color Psychology in Marketing: Pink
Pink is closely associated with love, kindness and romance.
But it also represents femininity, which is why you see pink used in a lot of women’s products.
On average, women and girls pay more for products branded in pink colors.
You see, there’s something called the pink tax which is when products aimed at women are priced higher than similar products for men.
You see, a study from New York City Consumer Affairs revealed that a two-sided, pink painting easel costs $7 more than the same easel marketed toward boys which is a 12.7% increase.
Think about it. It’s the exact same thing, only it’s pink. Yet it costs more.
Same thing with a kid’s bike. The only difference was the pink coloring.
And companies use this pink tax often when selling to adult women too with things like perfume, deodorant, apparel, shampoo, razor cartridges, and even earbuds.
10. Color Psychology in Marketing: Brown
In color psychology, brown is associated with reliability, quality, durability and security.
When you use brown in your branding, consumers will find it easier to trust you.
As an example, UPS uses brown branding to reflect that its parcel services are dependable. And they’ve even trademarked their brand color.
Think about it. Would you feel the same about UPS if the branding was sky blue? Or purple?
But brown is also associated with the Earth.
So if you’re marketing a product or service that relates to the outdoors or if you’re trying to show environmental friendliness, then using brown in your designs can be an effective strategy.
To illustrate, Cracker Barrel’s use of brown in its branding makes it easy for consumers to feel those Southern country vibes that the company strives for.
11. Color Psychology in Marketing: Silver
You can think of silver as a more playful and animated version of its color cousin, gray.
Because of its connection with precious metals, silver is seen as a symbol of prestige and high quality. Hence, silver is a common paint job seen in car commercials.
On a related note, silver logos appear most commonly in the automobile industry.
Companies like Mazda, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz all have silver logos.
Although silver branding is by far most common in the automobile industry, you can still sprinkle it into your branding if you’re looking to attract consumers with high ambitions.
For example, Swiss watch seller Omega uses a little touch of silver in its web design —- giving the website an affluent feel to it
Besides logos and websites, the color silver is also used for product packaging and design.
Silver packaging just feels more luxurious.
And a silver phone or laptop just looks more slick.
For example, I’m using an Acer laptop to write this article because I think the silver color of it looks high-end and durable.
I’m not going to lie, I wouldn't buy a laptop that is bright blue.
Those colors just don’t align well with a laptop in my opinion.
Color is the first thing that pops out to consumers.
That might be with your logo, website, product design, product packaging, advertisements, and other places consumers first see your company.
Understanding the emotional appeal that colors evoke in consumers is an important part of branding and marketing.
With this article, I gave you a brief overview on color psychology, which will make it easier for you to create products or services with strong emotional appeal.
But choosing the right color schemes for your brand is the easy part.
Now you’ll have to come up with professional-grade designs that’ll capture the attention of consumers.
And that’s where AutoGrow can take some pressure off for you.
Our design team has experience branding companies with powerful emotions attached. We provide our clients with logo and website designs that make consumers’ eyes go .
Whether you’re a small business that only needs one project done at a time or you’re an established enterprise that needs more active projects with a 1-day turnaround, you can try us out with a $7 for 7 day trial.
Now let me ask you,
Are you thinking about a color redesign at your company?
Or are you looking for ideas for a new one?
Let me know in the comments below.
Keep AutoGrowin’, stay focused.