Psychology of Color in Design & Marketing

The world is not black and white nor is it filled with different shades of gray.

Our world is filled with color.

Take a look around you will see shade of red, yellow and blue all around you.

Color is extremely powerful. It can evoke a wide range of emotions in people.  

People make up their minds within 90 seconds of their interaction with a product and 62 to 90 percent of their assessment is based on color alone.

It is important that your business understands the psychology of color in design and marketing so that you can harness the power of color and use it to your advantage.

Color Preferences Depend on Experiences

I’m sure that most of you have seen images like the one below:  

Psychology of Color

Photo source

The problem with the images like the one above is that it is too broad in generalizations.

There are general trends in color preferences across cultures, but when it is examined at an individual level those preferences change.

Our color preferences depend upon the experiences.

If you had a blue bicycle growing up and you had fun riding that bike, then you are more likely to associate blue with joy and fun.  

However, there are overarching characteristics about color across cultures.

For example, a blue sky indicates calm and usually enjoyable weather, which is why blue tends to be a color that is favored across all cultures.

The same can be said for dark yellow, which looks like many undesirable things that I can leave to your imagination. This is why dark yellow is such an underable color to so many people.

Our individual color preferences will usually supersede any overarching color trends.

If you are a die hard Anaheim Angels fan, then you will prefer the colors red and white, while having strong distaste for the colors green and yellow, those of the Oakland A’s.

Psychology of Color in Design

We might have no control over the way certain people feel toward a particular color at a given time in their life.

We can use science, gender and overarching cultural themes to determine why one color scheme might be preferred over another.

Gender and culture plays a contributing factor in color preference.

Pink and blue were colors for babies in the mid-19th century, but at the time they were not perceived as gender signifiers.

It wasn’t until just before World War I did they begin to distinguish the two genders.

This ended up having a significant impact on color preferences of men and women in America.

According to Joe Hallock’s Color Assignments his data clearly shows that a significant 57 percent of men’s favorite color is blue, while only 32 percent of women listed blue as their favorite color.

Color of Design

Men also tend prefer brighter colors of shades while women prefer soft colors of tints.

It is crucial to take gender and cultural preferences into account when designing a color scheme for a brand or website.

If you are building a site that is going to sell socks for men, then you may want to consider using a bright shade of green rather than a soft tint of yellow.

If your company sells women’s apparel, then you may want to consider using a soft tint of purple rather than a dark shade of gray.

Psychology of Color in Marketing

Color coordination plays a key role in online conversions.

Have you ever noticed how Amazon’s add to cart contrasts with the rest of the page?

Next to the product the add to cart button is the brightest on the page and stands out compared to everything else.

This is the isolation effect, and it basically states that the more something stands out the more likely it is to be remembered.

People are able to far better recall something when it obviously sticks out and is different from its surroundings.

As a marketer, when you are deciding what color to make a certain  button, you should be considering what color provides a stark visual contrast to the page.

The isolation effect should be kept in mind when testing different color pallets. Your “call to action” area of your landing pages and website should create contrast with the areas around it.   

Wrap-Up

The psychology of color in marketing and design should be considered when making any decision of color use.

While it will be extremely hard for brands to address a person, individual color preferences using gender and cultural themes as an overarching guideline is a good place to start.

Remember to use contrasting colors in the “call to action” area of your website in order to get a user to stop and take notice.

Are you considering hiring a graphic design team? If so, read our design agency hiring guide to learn how to hire the right team for your next design project.

If not, read another one of our interesting blogs.