Colour Psychology in Marketing
Colour psychology, or the belief that colour can influence human beings, has been studied for thousands of years – even dating as far back as the ancient Egyptians.
Colours can add life, evoke emotion and set the ‘vibe’ in any situation. Studies in the field of colour psychology have revealed that colours do in fact influence emotions, thoughts, and behaviours. Aside from personal, subjective favourites, there are certain universal human responses which correspond with specific colours – and this theory can be used to your advantage when realising branding, web design or even marketing materials for your brand.
Colours can elicit emotions, convey messages, influence mood, influence attitudes towards different products, and differentiate you from your competitors. Our bodies are programmed to respond to colour (we stop at red lights, and we go when the lights switch to green). Between 62-90% of people who are making a snap decision, base it on the colours you’re using. This is why as a brand, it’s important to make informed decisions about colour, so that you attract customers, and they go through to buy something from your site.
When choosing a colour for a business, knowing your brand values and ethos is the first step, followed closely by knowing your target audience. By choosing a colour that reflects your brand, you can influence the way consumers portray your product or business before even fully interacting with them.
This is especially helpful in a very competitive market. Communicating your brand’s personality as quickly as possible can also help you to stand out and help differentiate your product or business from others. Let’s take a look at a few different colours and their meanings:
Red is widely perceived as the most ‘emotional’ colour on the spectrum, symbolising love, life, excitement, and boldness. It’s also a highly visible colour which allows to focus attention quickly and make quick decisions, which is one of the reasons why stop signs and stop lights use the colour to alert drivers of the upcoming dangers of intersections.
It can also indicate urgency or trigger action – which is why red is commonly used on sales material, or to advertise a promotion. It is said that red is more effective for impulse purchases, so it’s a common choice for ‘buy’ buttons on ecommerce websites.
This bright colour gives a sense of confidence, ambition, and enthusiasm, and works very well when used in calls to action. Orange is a fun and playful colour that can evoke the carefree feelings of childhood, and it is often used to signal affordability and getting a good deal.
Stimulation is the primary purpose of shades of yellow, both in terms of mental processes and also the human nervous system – it signifies optimism, clarity, and warmth. Bright shades of yellow are often used to attract attention and gain visibility, while the darker ones suggest wisdom, intelligence and curiosity. Yellow is actively used in the energy sector, food and household products, but you will rarely find it in finance, vehicle or technology enterprises. Yellow is also often associated with food, and is thought to induce feelings of hunger.
This tranquil colour is commonly used by banks and the finance sector as blue is a symbol of trust, security, reliability, and productivity. It’s also a popular color whenever you want to make people think of security and serenity – so expect to see this colour used to market more expensive items. Blue can boost sales indirectly, by dealing with anxiety before it arises. With red, we’re trying to trigger nervous system arousal – we want people to sit up, take notice, and realize that now is the time to buy. With blue, it’s the opposite – instead of exciting purchase intent, we’re quelling anxiety. Lighter blues give a sense of freedom and security, while darker blues are associated with tradition, seriousness and intelligence.
Use blue where your sales depend on projecting an image of reliability and seriousness. It makes good conversion elements against a white background, and blue and yellow text together are regarded as the most readable. So despite being calming colors, they may be the most visible – and the majority of colorblind people are red-green colorblind and can see blue and yellow.
Natural and woodsy, green makes us feel connected to the great outdoors and can ground people when they are feeling anxious. It is a balanced and calm colour that can reassure us. Green is a soothing and relaxing colour reminiscent of nature, growth, and harmony.
As green is commonly associated with the environment, it gets used by businesses that want to appeal to similar audiences or that align with similar interests, even if there’s no direct connection. White space and contrasting colours, or in places where it can dominate the visual hierarchy and command attention
Purple is a regal colour, symbolizing authority, elegance, wealth and power. It is often used in the beauty industry and with anti-ageing products. Purple is a bright colour, and it’s complimentary with yellow-green and analogous with pinks and blues. So it frequently gets used on sites with lots of white and black as a stand-out splash for branding. Bear in mind that the shade or tint will strongly affect how your purple elements come across. If you don’t want them to read feminine, go for high saturation and deep shades, and pair them with blues.
This colour is often used for luxury products and brands as black is classically elegant, sophisticated and associated with wealth. Black is a colour which portrays refinement, seriousness, gravity, control and independence, yet it can also be employed to show mystery, depression or even death. It is advised to use black in moderation and mainly in text rather than visually.
In conclusion, by understanding the subconscious psychological effects of colours you use in your branding and advertising campaigns, you can better target your niche audiences and effectively market your company’s image in a visually stimulating way. And, when utilized properly, you can use the psychological impact of colour to your advantage in branding, design, marketing, and promotion materials to get the best possible results from every strategy.