Color Me Sold: The Psychology of Color for Marketing
  • Contest Factory
  • September 16, 2019

Color plays such an important role in human nature and how we react to color. Colors are emotional and can either help your brand stand out from the crowd or negatively impact your message and reputation. Color is what draws your audience in to feel, see, and do what you expect them to do. Understanding the psychology of color is one of the most important attributes a company must understand in regard to marketing and how it relates to its audience. In particular, psychology of color drills down all types of color such as primary, secondary, and tertiary, and aspects of color such as shades, tints, and hues.

Before delving into the color psychology, what is the basic theory behind color? Marketers must take into consideration what color says about a product’s image and message, and how it relates to their customer

1. Primary Colors

Primary colors are the colors needed to produce every other color. They are blue, yellow and red, or in marketing terms, cyan, yellow and magenta (CYM).

2.  Secondary Colors

Secondary colors are those made by combining two primary colors: green, orange, and purple.

3.  Tertiary Colors

Tertiary colors are made using both the primary and secondary colors and are usually categorized as yellow-green, red-purple, etc…

4.  Pure Colors

Pure colors include all of the above and are classified using adjectives such as saturated, cheery, bright, intense, or motivating. Pure colors are untainted, meaning white or black have not been added to them. These colors are used to energize, engage and drive the audience towards an object and are often used in summer clothing, children’s toys and children’s décor such as a daycare.

5.  Neutral Colors

Neutral colors are colors that don’t appear on the color wheel and do not compete with other colors. Black and white are considered neutral colors.

Psychology of Using Colors in Marketing

All marketers look for that perfect color combination for their logo, collateral, merchandising, and digital marketing efforts to attract a certain customer. Color impacts how we react and think about a product or brand, and if there is an emotional tie to it.

Anyone familiar with New York City or other global metropolises recognizes the corporate logos which scream out in bright colors from neon lights in crowded downtown areas, overloading our senses and wanting all of our attention.

Color Guide:

The following color guide can give insight into how people see and react to certain colors and their meaning. Here we are using the 3 primary and 2 neutral colors that may be chosen to create your logo and any marketing content and graphics.

  • Red – Power, Energy, Excitement

The color red is an exceptionally powerful color that can impact a product or brand positively or negatively. The color red creates a strong physical reaction which can be positive, such as high energy, affection, or love, but it can also create feelings of aggression or a threat.

Coca-Cola has used the color red throughout their campaigns and in all aspects of their marketing. They have figured out the secret formula of using red not to instill fear or danger, but fun and energy.

  • Blue – Trust, Dependable, Calm

The color blue is one of the most popular and well-liked colors in the world. Blue stands for trustworthiness, dependability, security, and mental calmness, and unlike red, blue has a mental reaction. Unfortunately, in a consumer’s eye, blue is the last color to be seen and is often thought of as being cold or distant when used too much.

Oral B uses blue in their logo. In this instance, the blue helps their branding and is associated with quality, reliability, and being a safe product. Many healthcare companies use blue throughout their branding.

  • Yellow – Optimism, Happiness, Cheerfulness

Yellow has one of the most powerful meanings by being one of the easiest colors to see. Yellow is the first color that an infant responds to. This color invokes both a mental and physical reaction; it is usually positive and lifts one’s spirit, creating joy and confidence. However, if overused, yellow can cause issues with self-esteem, anxiety, or panic.

Brands such as Ferrari use the color yellow in their branding. This prestigious brand often shows people driving a Ferrari in the summer sunshine, feeling carefree and full of happiness.

  • Black – Elegance, Sophistication, Power

Black is an especially popular color and is often used in retail. Black’s meaning is more symbolic and represents elegance, sophistication, mystery, and power, but can also represent sadness or anger. Black is used in text for ease of readability. Many fashion retailers use black as a call to action against a white background.

Chanel uses black and white throughout their branding. It depicts the image of being chic, stylish, classy, and expensive.

  • White – Goodness, Cleanliness, Purity

White, in western culture, is known to depict purity, goodness, cleanliness, and innocence, while in some other cultures it can have the opposite meaning. White tends to be used as backgrounds on websites for a clean, sharp look where images pop. Fonts will usually be black as black is more readable on a white background. Many companies use white with other colors to showcase their brand.

In Conclusion:

Color psychology has been studied and analyzed throughout the years, but is still extremely subjective to the individual. People see colors differently and perceive them in a variety of ways based on experience, culture, personal taste, and gender.

When choosing colors for your company, use colors that reflect what your brand, image, and product represent and how you want your customers to feel about your brand.


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