The Psychology of Colours

Our brain processes pictorial information almost 60,000 times quicker than text and 90% of the information sent to the brain is visual in nature — who knew?

Colours are an important element of visual content which is why major brands use colour psychology in their marketing and branding strategies. There’s a rainbow of opportunities out there, so let’s delve deeper into what colours can be great for business.

Use of Colours in Marketing

According to research, 62%-90% of buying decisions are influenced by colour alone. Colours can evoke feelings and moods in a consumer prompting them to make specific purchases without perhaps ever knowing why they felt inclined to buy. This is, of course, an important takeaway for marketers who can incorporate elements of ‘colour psychology’ into their campaigns.

The Psychology of Red

Red is associated with excitement, passion, energy, action and love. It has an urgency about it that’s hard to ignore which is why it makes a great colour for ‘order’ buttons on websites. That said; red is generally used sparingly as it can evoke feelings of danger — which is not what you need when you’re trying to develop a reputable and trustworthy organisation — unless of course, it’s Valentine’s Day or you’re Manchester United.

Red is a powerful tool for the food industry! This is because it is said to raise a person’s blood pressure, heart rate and cause hunger to be more prevalent which is why many restaurants use red tablecloths and paint their takeaway waiting areas red. Coca-Cola also uses red effectively in their branding to increase appetite, as does McDonalds.

The Impact of Blue

Did you know that the Facebook logo is blue because Mark Zuckerberg has red-green colour blindness? Incidentally, blue is associated with trust, stability and security. No wonder then that blue is the preferred colour for banks and technology products. Think Intel! Think JP Morgan! Think Ripple! Other brands that have successfully used blue are Walmart, Skype and Twitter.

The Carefree Vibes of Yellow

Yellow is the brightest colour of the visible spectrum. It is the most noticeable of all colours by the human eye and is associated with hope, creativity, new beginnings, summer fun and optimism making it ideal for travel brands. Yellow can aid decision making with brighter hues also being associated with flashy, fun and fast brands such as Ferrari who use this colour to emphasise a carefree, luxurious lifestyle.

Green for Harmony and Peace

Green has long been associated with balance, harmony, peace and growth. It’s a symbol of healthy living, the natural world and new beginnings which is why it is so often used by the health and fitness industry as well as the food sector. Subway uses the colour green well to communicate the freshness of its ingredients, something which sets the company apart from other food retailers. Yellow is thrown into the branding as it can be seen from long distance.

Fifty Shades of Black and White

Colour combinations can have a direct impact on your business so it’s essential to think about the design of your logo and all marketing materials carefully. Black and white work excellently together. While black communicates power, authority and strength, white projects clarity and purity. It’s this contrast that’s so interesting and makes for strong branding. Pure white text on a black background, for instance, is a totally eye-popping combination. When it comes to logos, Adidas has one of the most instantly recognisable black and white logos in the world.

Cultural considerations

Where your target audience is located may also impact which colours you decide to use. As a rule, in Western culture, white symbolises an angelic-like innocence while black is associated with the underworld and death. This is completely different is some Asian cultures like Japan, where white symbolises death.

Where and how Colours are used to be Impactful

Colours are powerful, but where and how they are used needs to be thought about carefully in order for a marketing or brand awareness campaign to be successful. Colours can also be used to enhance user experience and retain loyal consumers.

· Environmental considerations

Colours are used effectively in situations where specific emotional responses are expected. Blue hues and shades, for instance, have been shown to reduce irritability in doctor’s waiting rooms where long waiting times can occur. Turquoise in spas gives the illusion of water and freshness and helps people to relax and get in the mood for a detoxifying experience.

· Logo designs and marketing materials

When it comes to corporate branding — logos play an important role. They must be clear and concise with many consumers preferring colour patterns with similar hues. Indeed, over 80% of Fortune 500 companies have two or fewer colors incorporated into their logo. Brands with a strong brand identity will choose colours that work well for their organisation based on colour psychology and use these for all marketing activity including web design and social media activity.

· Call-to-action button colours

Just as the colour of a product’s packaging has an impact on our buying impulse, the colour of a call-to-action button can also make us more likely to click it. An experiment was conducted by HubSpot to discovery the impact of the colour of a button on conversion rates. They found that a red button outperformed a green button by 21%. Everything else on the page was kept constant, with the only change being the CTA button colour. Remember, red symbolises urgency and therefore is highly persuasive.

If you want to optimise the use of colours for your marketing content and improve the overall effectiveness of your campaigns, get in touch with Contentworks for a free content audit.




Contentworks Agency provides compliance friendly content to banks, forex brokers, fintechs and many other sectors.

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Contentworks Agency

Contentworks Agency

Contentworks Agency provides compliance friendly content to banks, forex brokers, fintechs and many other sectors.

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