Home Psychology How to Use the Psychology of Color in Marketing and Design

How to Use the Psychology of Color in Marketing and Design

When you’re determining the correct color to use for design elements and branding, think about the psychological effect that certain colors have on your audiences’ conscious and unconscious emotions. Consider your target audience, their interests and cultures, and find a color that is a good depiction of your brand personality but is also fitting with what your audience needs from your brand. Different colors impact moods and attitude in different ways, and can convey an idea about your brand just through color choices. To make the best decision for your brand, it’s important to understand the emotional effect of various colors.


Red is typically considered the most emotionally intense color, symbolizing importance, excitement, and intensity. This color draws the most attention, and any design elements that use red are likely to draw the eye’s focus and make things more noticeable and important. Using a little bit of red here or there is an effective way to make only the most significant words stand out. Using too much red in your website design will cause it to lose effectiveness, and should be used without going overboard by only pointing out items that are truly important. For a long time the corporate color of choice was red. Companies such as Target, and Johnson & Johnson still all use red in their logo. If you think about the history of these companies and their corporate missions, as well as the emotional effect of red, it seems they made a fitting choice.


Black is the color of authority and power, and the top logo color choice in the fashion industry. Not only is black considered timeless and stylish, it signifies authority, power, and strength. Using the right amount of black can be effective in your website design-especially when it comes to font choice, as it is the easiest to read, but using too much black can make any element feel dark and depressing. In the US, black is strongly associated with grieving and mourning-so ensuring that you don’t overdo it with black visual assets is critical to its effectiveness.


Most people choose blue as their “favorite color” and most companies choose blue when it comes to logo design and branding elements. Blue is the most abundant color in nature and evokes a feeling of peace, tranquility, and calmness, and reduces tension and fear, all of which are fitting reasons why various companies incorporate this color into their logo. At our digital agency, Blue Fountain Media, we have a blue logo that represents loyalty, stability, and productivity-all of which our agency is strongly based upon.


White represents purity, brightness and honesty. The color white has become the symbol of creativity, stemming from a blank canvas and more recently, representative of a creative whiteboard. Companies using white web design and white branding elements are often looking to convey creativity without coming out and saying it. A white design evokes the feeling of a fresh-start, something many companies look to emphasize to their audience. To highlight this idea, think of any time you walk past an Apple store in a mall. The store is almost entirely bright and white, evoking a feeling of innovation and creativity when you walk by. Most creative agencies will use a white web design to convey their creativity. By having the background of a website set to be all white, with pops of color throughout, the overall look becomes clean and vibrant.


Green will always be symbolic of nature-acting as a calming and refreshing color that is easy on the eyes. If your business has a strong sustainability or organic focus, green is likely the color you should use for your branding. It’s the overarching reason that the generic recycling symbol is green. Plenty of companies have launched “go green” campaigns when they are implementing business plans that are focused on sustainability. Oil company, BP, uses a green logo to emphasize that while their trade is often associated as being bad for the environment, they are an environmentally-conscious organization.


The color yellow is an attention getter, and signifies warmth, optimism, and cheerfulness. For many people, it is the symbol of happiness and laughter. Most companies use yellow sparingly in their logo design, and it’s rarely used alone. If you use too much yellow it can be overpowering and feel too bright. As a result, it’s best to use yellow minimally to highlight certain things that you want to stand out or feel more cheery. It is most commonly used in the auto industry and food industry. For example, Chevrolet, Ferrari, and McDonalds, and Burger King all use yellow in their logo design.


The color orange represents fun, energy, and ambition. There is nothing even remotely calm about this color, so companies using it in their design tend to have an energetic focus. It’s a playful color, so subsequently you’ll find it used most frequently for brands that market to children. It additionally represents newness, so often, companies will use this after a re-branding or launch for new programs or products to signify a fresh beginning.


Considered the “color of royalty,” purple implies wealth, sophistication and education, which sheds some light on why so many colleges and universities use the color in their logo design. It is also feminine and romantic, and often associated with people seeking spiritual fulfillment and peace of mind. Purple is a combination of red and blue, so it holds the qualities of both colors, having the emotional effects of intensity and tranquility.


Often referred to as “the color of earth” because of its abundance in nature, the color brown is considered reliable, conventional, and strong. In general, when used in web design, it tends to give an “earthy” feel. Sure, it is sometimes considered simple-but if used appropriately it can be meaningful. Think about the UPS logo- it’s a simple brown logo that has become the essence of their entire branding, and has even shaped their tagline, “What can Brown do for you?”

So, what is the right choice for your company?

By focusing on your target audience and establishing what role you want your company to play when it comes to fulfilling their needs, you can begin to determine what color choice may be the best for your web design and branding elements. By thinking about that as well as the foundation of your company and the values it is based around, you can find the best color to convey messages about your brand-without saying a word!

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