Looking for the right colors for your brand? Colors can have a profound effect on consumers. In this article, we'll share the psychology of colors and how they influence what we buy.
A lot of people don’t notice it, but colors have a major impact on their purchasing decisions.
Humans are visual beings who process imagery much faster than plain text or audio content. Marketers are well aware of this fact, so they use all sorts of psychological tricks to maximize the attractiveness of their brands.
If you don’t believe us, take a look at these stats that prove the power of colors in marketing:
This is only a small selection of the most impressive statistical findings, but it should be enough to convince you to pay attention to colors while shopping
Color psychology is a fairly complex field of research–an art and a science–so we want to explain the concept of color psychology and present you the fundamental findings in our post.
Are you ready to learn how to use color psychology in your marketing?
Great! Let’s take a closer look at how colors influence our decisions...
Before we delve deeper into the meanings and connotations, we need to understand the theoretical background of color psychology.
So what is color psychology anyway?
Color Psychology Definition
Color psychology is the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior.
According to this theoretical concept, colors have a deeper impact on human behavior than most people believe, influencing even the smallest details such as our daily moods or food preferences.
This is exactly why marketers exploit the psychology of colors – they want to raise brand awareness and inspire consumers to take the desired action.
A color wheel is the first lesson marketers have to learn when analyzing visual elements. It’s a basic model that combines different colors and helps designers to find perfect combinations.
Why is this important? Well, before we can even begin to influence people with color psychology, we need to first understand how to combine colors in a way that is pleasing to the eye. After all, if your colors are ugly or jarring next to each other, or if they make your message illegible, you'll certainly fail to persuade anyone to do business with you.
So how do you create an aesthetically pleasing color combination?
Well, traditionally, colors on the opposite sides of the color wheel are considered to be a good match, thus creating color harmony. In this case, ideal color pairs are red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple, etc.
The standard RYB (red, yellow, blue) model divides colors into three distinctive groups:
Another way to distinguish between colors is by thinking in terms of warm and cold colors.
Each one of these groups influences people’s perception and energy levels, but we will cover this segment more comprehensively in the next section of this guide.
Besides that, you must keep an eye on color harmonies. There are all sorts of combinations out there, but most designers, marketers, and brands use one of the following schemes:
A beginner-level marketer might think it’s funny to say that colors have meanings, but it’s actually a well-known truth. Each color brings unique connotations and ambiance, which gives a very special effect when combined with the overall brand appearance.
While there are no hard and fast rules here, it is inescapable that societies and cultures have specific associations with colors. For example, in the U.S., the color commonly associated with baby boys is pastel blue, and the color associated with baby girls is pastel pink.
For the purpose of this article, we will describe the common psychology that hides behind each one of the frequently used colors. Here they are:
Now you know the basic color meanings, but do you know how they affect consumers based on their gender and age? It turns out that these two factors play a major role in color psychology, so we want to highlight this phenomenon and inspect it a little closer.
According to the famous study, blue is the most popular among people of all ages and genders. However, the situation slightly changes when we analyze each gender group separately.
In the case of female participants, the study showed the following results:
Ladies obviously don’t like white and grey, while yellow and brown are rated only a couple of percentage points higher than these two colors.
On the other hand, male participants answered like this:
Men apparently love blue, but there are certain differences in terms of other favorite hues. What they have in common with ladies is the fact that men also don’t like white, yellow, grey, and brown.
However, the results get more interesting when we compare color preferences and age groups. In this case, it is important to highlight a few notable findings:
What is interesting to notice is that almost every age group and gender considers brown and orange to be the least eye-pleasing colors.
The research obviously shows the highest level of consistency on the opposite ends of the color preference spectrum. While blue and green are dominant in terms of popularity, the negative attitudes are reserved for brown and orange.
With everything we’ve seen so far, it is reasonable to conclude that the psychology of colors reveals a lot of rules and regularities. There are many laws on how to combine different hues, while colors, in general, have their own special meanings. We also pointed out the usual color preferences.
However, the situation is not so unanimous after all. There are tons of variations in terms of color connotations and differences between various cultures.
First of all, we should say that color perceptions are individual and subjective, but there is much more than that. Color meanings differ from culture to culture depending on the history and the overall social background.
For instance, Eskimos spend their entire lives surrounded by snow, so they have 17 ways to describe white hues.
White represents innocence and purity in the Western World, but in Japan, it symbolizes death and mourning.
The same goes for red – this color has traditionally been a symbol of passion and energy, but many African cultures believe it’s a color of death and grief.
Green is the most loved color in the Islamic world, while in China it often suggests marital issues.
There are all sorts of variations to consider in this field, which is why marketers invest a lot of time into market research and try to identify color variables that make the biggest impact on the target audience.
Calls to action (CTAs) are a critical marketing tool because they invite website users to take action. However, a CTA has to be highly visible in order to grab the reader’s attention.
Needless to say, colors play a major role in making a high-converting call to action. The goal is to use colors and whitespace around CTAs to maximize the contrast between this element and website background.
Which Call to Action Color Performs Best?
Hubspot conducted research to identify which color performs better – green or red. They learned that red outperforms green by more than 20% in the case where all other on-page components remain the same.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that red always generates better results than green (or any other color for that matter). This depends on the other colors on the page, as well as the target audience.
However, this proves that color psychology influences CTA buttons as well, so you absolutely cannot take your colors for granted if you want to increase your conversion rates.
There is nothing random about colors in marketing. Colors make a strong impression on consumers and often influence purchasing decisions, so they need to be analyzed and carefully selected to match the needs and preferences of the target audience.
In this article, we showed you the basic elements of color psychology:
We hope these tips help you analyze brands and products from a brand new perspective, so you can pay attention to their color psychology and take inspiration from it when designing your own brand identity.
Lauren Adley is a writer and editor at UK BestEssays. She is dedicated to her family, work and friends. She is keen on reading, playing the guitar and traveling. She is interested in educational, marketing and blogging issues. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter and Google+.
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