How Does Color Psychology Affect Marketing?

The Psychology of color is one area of study that is greatly underdeveloped. We know that colors have an effect on us, but understanding why, and how to use them to our advantage as marketers can be difficult.

Having a better understanding of color psychology can give us marketers and edge. But it certainly doesn’t mean we’ll beat competition because they used a different color scheme. The reason someone chooses one product over another has a lot more to do with it than simply color psychology. Color is just one piece of the puzzle that is successfully marketing a product.

The problem with color psychology

The big problem with color psychology is that it’s inexact. For example, the color white in many western cultures is seen as pure and good, but in many asian cultures the color white is one of mourning.

The perceptions we have about colors is also greatly dependent on our own personal experiences and preferences. That’s what makes it so difficult to try and determine universally applicable color psychology. I would assert that because all of our perceptions are different, there will never be a universal list of what colors evoke what emotions.

“the truth of the matter is that color is too dependent on personal experiences to be universally translated to specific feelings.”

Gregory Ciotti, Psychology Today

Just because universally applicable color psychology doesn’t exist, that doesn’t mean we can’t use color to our advantage. There have been a lot of studies that have found rather convincing trends with colors and their effects. While inexact, we can still use these trends and benefit from them.

What we do know

We know that colors do affect us. So let’s talk about how different colors affect us and what moods they correspond to. These are the generally accepted emotions or feelings that are tied to each color:

Grey – neutral.

Brown – rugged.

Blue – stable.

Yellow – happy.

Purple – creative.

Red – energy.

Green – natural / prosperity

So those are the general feelings / meanings behind some major colors used in branding. I didn’t include orange, which is another common branding color because it’s simple a mix between red and yellow. It’s energetic and happy.

Wrapping it up

So now you’ve got a general idea of what each color means. Think about your brand and think about what your brand is trying to say. Then work to incorporate the colors that are associated with your desired persona and your brand will be that much better.