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This is what colors have in marketing and advertising

Colors in marketing and advertising should always be chosen consciously, because they are of great importance. Your brain can use colors to identify properties of the products and brands that make them. A light green that is suitable for a PC can make a cupcake nauseous. In short, this is how color psychology works. Here's a complete guide on how to use color in marketing and advertising.

The associations our brains with certain colors are very important in bridging the gap between promotional materials and their target audience. If you look at colors that are commonly used for advertising in your industry, you will see that the same ones keep popping up. This is no coincidence and neither is it the favorite colors of your competitors! These are the colors that (studies have shown) people associate with their needs and expectations of brands in your industry.

Deciding which colors make up the ideal color palette for your marketing and advertising is part aesthetics, part testing, and part science - a bigger part than you probably realize. Today we're going to explore the science of marketing colors so you can get your messages across as effectively as possible.

Why colors are so important in marketing and advertising

Colors speak a language that words simply cannot imitate. They communicate with us on an emotional level and are therefore more convincing.

The color of a product can convince us that it tastes fresher than the same product in a different color. It can even make us feel like a drug (and placebos!) Is working better. Drug manufacturers use color associations and make sleeping pills blue and stimulants yellow and red because these are the colors that customers associate with their respective effects.

While all of this sounds almost like magic, there is data to support it. 85% of customers cite color as the main reason why they decided to buy a product. In addition, up to 90% of all impulse purchases are based solely on the color of the product. According to scientists studying color psychology, 42% of customers form their opinion about web pages based on the design of the pages, with color adding to their opinion more than any other factor. And 52% of the time, bad color and other bad design decisions will cause people to leave a website and never return.

How colors communicate with buyers

It's one thing to know that colors are important in marketing and advertising, but the real challenge is using color psychology to appeal to your buyers. You probably already know the basics of color theory - for example, red means passion and white means cleanliness, but that's just the beginning of all the complicated ways that color can affect how a buyer thinks and feels about a product.

For example, researchers have found links between certain colors and behaviors, including that red, royal blue, black, and orange easily appeal to impulse buyers. For bargain hunters, teal and navy are the colors of choice. Many of these less obvious color associations make perfect sense, such as pink, sky blue, and other soft colors that connect with more traditional clothing buyers. Similarly, brown is not a good choice for fruit and vegetable packaging because it makes us think of overripe, rotten fruits and vegetables.

Color psychology is not just about evoking certain emotions. It's about using color to meet customer expectations for products and brands. Think of colors that are bad for certain products or services, like a light, yellow, and orange logo for a bank or a brown or gray box for feminine hygiene products. These colors feel wrong because they don't meet our expectations.

In the end, our expectations are in large part ingrained in our biological programming. Red is a popular color for food brands because bright fruits are ripe and edible, as is fresh meat. Nature has taught us what certain colors mean, and in design it is best to use colors that follow nature's rules. People make buying decisions based on what they expect from the colors they see and whether they feel like the colors are doing what they are supposed to do.

It is not always obvious or logical how colors affect our perception. Our associations with a color can even be different, depending on our cultural background, our personal background and our individual tastes. But there are general assumptions we can make based on the science of color psychology. Combine this with audience research to get a deeper understanding of what your customers prefer.

What effect do colors have in marketing and advertising?

Colors can influence buyers, and each color has its own list of associations that you can use in your marketing and promotional materials. At this point, we're going to take a step-by-step look at each color to show you the best situations in which to use certain colors to meet your marketing and promotional goals.


Blue is generally thought of as a masculine color, but there is more to it than that. A few other associations with blue are:

  • Quiet
  • serenity
  • refreshment
  • stability
  • responsibility
  • peace
  • Relaxation
  • sadness

Blue is a popular color for banks because it conveys authority and stability - values ​​that customers expect from people who look after their money. A yoga studio could instead use blue on a flyer to highlight the serenity visitors can experience, and a protective clothing brand like helmets and goggles could use blue to tell customers they can trust the brand to protect them .


As a cold color, green is best for calm, adult, professional brands. It is known to lower blood pressure and heart rate in viewers. Some of the associations we have with green are:

  • Finances
  • Environment / nature
  • health
  • luck
  • growth
  • prosperity
  • harmony
  • balance
  • relief
  • renovation

Green reminds many people of the recycling logo, which makes it perfect for any brand that markets itself as environmentally friendly or organic. It's also a great choice for a spa because it highlights the rejuvenating, refreshing experience clients have in a day at the spa.


Purple is mysterious, mysterious and sensual - not a color that we often see in nature. Common associations with purple are:

  • Noble
  • luxury
  • intrigue
  • Magic
  • mysticism
  • Military honors
  • prosperity
  • fantasy
  • spirituality

Often times, depending on your business, these feelings can go hand in hand.

Think of a wealth management firm that will work specifically with veterans and their families to take care of their finances. A purple brochure alludes to wealth and luxury while also reminding readers of the Purple Heart.


Red is an attention-grabbing, vivid, hot color that is commonly associated with:

  • Passion
  • energy
  • love
  • warmth
  • Fire
  • war
  • Anger
  • danger
  • Self-confidence

A dating service that specializes in blind dates can use red on their landing page to highlight that their service is sexy, exciting, and only for the brave. Red is also known for boosting the metabolism and blood pressure of viewers, making it ideal for restaurant signs designed to whet the appetite of diners who come in for a bite - especially a spicy bite.


Orange is a friendly and happy color that has a few things in common with red, such as warmth and energy. Other associations are:

  • youth
  • Affordability
  • vitality
  • friendliness
  • humor
  • Seasonal changes (especially from summer to autumn)

Orange is a great color if you have an indoor trampoline park that wants to attract kids and teenagers to have a fun and great time. It works just as well for a beauty brand that's more for the typical girl next door than glamor girls.


Customers associate yellow with optimism and affordability. It has the advantage of being both light and strong at the same time. Some of the basic associations include:

  • energy
  • happiness
  • danger
  • youth
  • playfulness
  • Serenity
  • warmth

Note that none of these associations are like the other.

The association of danger with yellow, like the association of fire and war with red, can have a negative effect at the beginning. But sometimes it is precisely these associations that brands need, like a tool brand that uses yellow to indicate that they should be used with caution.


There is no getting around pink: Pink is suitablemuch more for girlsthan blue for boys. This goes so far that pink can be repulsive to men in certain cases. There's a lot of psychology behind the color pink and its gendered associations, but for now we're just going to talk about what pink does in the marketing and advertising world. Associations with pink are:

  • fun
  • Girlish
  • optimism
  • Sweet
  • Tender
  • Romantic
  • Peaceful

Pink is a popular color for bakeries because it's just as cute as the baked goods they sell. It's also the color for brands that are feminine and proud of it, like a self defense teacher for women, who use pink graphics in their ads to show she's teaching women how to be brave and protect themselves.


Gray stands for professionalism and objectivity. You'd think gray would be boring, and in many cases it is. But gray doesn't have to be boring. With the right marketing strategy, it can also have the following associations:

  • Neutral
  • Professional
  • Efficient
  • Formally
  • Corporate

These are all things that a contract service provider would highlight on their bills. Gray can also show that your brand is deviating from the norm, like the website of a modern kids' clothing brand looking to break the ocean of pinks and blues.


Black might technically be the absence of color, but it's still powerful and eye-catching. These are some of the associations we have with black:

  • luxury
  • mysticism
  • force
  • formality
  • elegance
  • Darkness
  • secret
  • sexuality
  • control
  • The supernatural

Black is mostly cool and modern, but it can also be scary if that's what you want. And for some brands, like suppliers of incense bundles and candles and other occult items, it works so perfectly. Black also means power, making it a great choice for a gym that challenges its members to be the strongest version of themselves.


White is a blank slate. It is fresh, new, unused and has the following associations:

  • cleanliness
  • purity
  • Empty
  • simplicity
  • youth
  • honor
  • peace
  • Colorlessness
  • cold

White is another color whose “negative” associations can be converted into positive ones. As the coldest color that reminds us of snow and the Arctic Circle, white is a great choice for an ice cream truck that wants to emphasize how much it helps on a hot day.


Brown is a color that you can trust. Braun gives you your backing, Braun has stood by you for years and will continue to do so in the future. For UPS, Braun brings you parcels home safely and on time and promises that all your shipments will arrive at their destination intact. In marketing and advertising, brown usually means:

  • reliability
  • Traditional
  • Earthy
  • Masculine
  • Naturally
  • reliability
  • Warm

Brown can also feel rough and earthy, making it a less than good choice for hotels. But for a gardening goods store or a manufacturer of mulch? In any case. But connoisseurs also get their money's worth with Braun. I just say: coffee, chocolate, fine furniture, etc.

How the meanings of colors differ from culture to culture

Every time you choose a color scheme, you need to think about the cultural background of your target audience. Many colors have certain associations in some cultures that are different from others. Sometimes there can be regional associations even in one country.

Just take one color - yellow for example. In Japan, yellow is associated with courage, whereas in parts of the American South, yellow is the color of mourning and death. In China, yellow can have vulgar connotations. In Germany one turns yellow and not green with envy. In the Middle East, yellow is majestic and sacred (not purple, which is associated with nobility in European cultures) and is often worn by members of the ruling class or royalty.

Whenever you are designing marketing and promotional materials for your brand, it is extremely important to research your target audience's cultural associations. Using a color scheme that doesn't meet your audience's expectations of your brand can doom them even before they're in the market.

The best colors for your call-to-action

Red is the best color for a call to action because it's all about action and doing something NOW, right? Not necessarily. Although red can be a very good color for your call-to-action (CTA)canand certainly used successfully by many companiesbecomes, it's not the only choice for your CTA button - nor is it always the best.

Context is important for purchasing decisions and sometimes the optimal button color depends on the overall design and the specific brand and product. The right color for your brand's CTA matches the state of mind a customer needs to be in to buy something.

Sometimes this is a calm, lucid state of mind that a shopper can only achieve after taking a full look at your product and determining that it is the best choice to meet their needs. In this case, green is a better choice for your call-to-action button, especially if your call-to-action is more like “Book your consultation” or “Let's talk more about it” instead of “Buy now”.

Other rules of thumb for your call-to-action are:

  1. Your call-to-action button needs to be easy to spot, but not an eyesore; it should complement the overall design of the website and yet be contrasted enough that you don't have to look for it.
  2. Call-to-action buttons in general, and checkout buttons in particular, should be large, clean, simple, and set against plain backgrounds that are not distracting.

If your CTA button is more like “buy now”, warm colors are your best choice. According to color psychology and market research, red, green, and an orange shade of yellow are best for CTA buttons. Red because it creates urgency in the buyer, green because it is calming and gently encourages the buyer to make a decision, and a fiery yellow-orange because it creates a feeling of warmth and satisfaction. And finally, you offer the buyer satisfaction, be it by simply enjoying your product or by solving their problem.

How to test your marketing color strategy

Color psychology is helpful in making informed design decisions for your advertising and marketing, but only testing will tell you if you can make therightMake decisions.

This involves repeating A / B tests several times to find out which color palette is most effective. Once you have your final colors (the colors with no negative associations in the markets you operate in and which contrast with each other while at the same time communicating your brand identity), it is time for them to be in a "tournament tree" face.

A tournament tree is ultimately another word for A / B testing, where you test one color against another to see which will produce a stronger positive response from your target audience. Then you let the individual winners compete against each other to find out which of them will be most effective with your buyers until you have the optimal color. To avoid skewing your results, you need to make sure that the rest of your marketing strategy is consistent throughout the tournament.

Once you've tested everything, you can implement your colors in all of your design elements, from CTAs to backgrounds to text.

Colors reinforce your marketing message

I hope you now have a better feel for how color psychology works in marketing and advertising. The more you pay attention to the colors you work with, the easier it will be to convey your unique brand message to your target audience.

Using color strategically is much more than just choosing what you think looks good. After all, there are people out there who think olive green and magenta are made for each other - and for some companies and their goals, they might be!

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