The Power of Color in Marketing: A Crash Course in Color Psychology

We’re visual creatures. We use our eyes to perceive everything around us—what we (and other people) are wearing, eating, doing, and buying. And color is critical. In a study on color in a peer-reviewed journal article, Satyendra Singh determined that it takes 90 seconds for a customer to form an opinion about a product. Approximately 62-90 percent of that interaction is determined by the color of the product alone.

In fact, 85% of customers say color is the primary reason why they buy a particular product. It’s necessary to use color methodically in marketing to induce certain thoughts or feelings in consumers. And while there are so many places to use it–websites, logos, branding, product design, social media posts, videos, email marketing–it’s important to first understand how people view color. This will help you craft and package your message.

The graph below shows how people associate colors and words (some of which could be considered as emotions). The color blue is linked to “security,” “trust,” and “reliability.” If you’re a bank, having blue in your color scheme is a no brainer. 



This table identifies which words and colors people most associate together.


Now take a deeper dive into the psychology and meaning behind some of our main colors. 

Red stimulates feelings of urgency, which is why red is often used for sales and clearance events. It’s also a bold and exciting color. The Netflix logo is red, as is other elements of their branding, which makes sense for a streaming site–you want to make consumers excited about your content. Target uses the color to drive people to shop with them.

Blue is an emotional color and brings forth feelings of trust and dependability. It’s popularly used in social media logos such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, because these platforms allow people to connect. Consider using this color if your brand focuses on human connections or relationships.

Green is often associated with nature and health. It’s simultaneously powerful and tranquil. Brands such as Whole Foods, Animal Planet, and John Deere use various shades of green as their primary color, because these companies either stand for wellness (think all the organic grocery items at Whole Foods) or the outdoors. The active term for being environmentally friendly is, “Go Green,” because of the psychology behind this color.

Orange and yellow go together because they both induce feelings of friendship, creativity, happiness, and energy. McDonald’s is famous for its golden yellow arches, and homegoods store Ikea has integrated the color into their branding. Be careful how you use this color though; text can be difficult to read on all yellow, so pair it with another color when needed. 

Orange is often used to signify bold and fun in a brand or business, as used by Nickelodeon and Dunkin’. It can also mean safety or alert. But unlike blue, which is universally liked and trusted, orange is rarely picked as a ‘favorite color’ and one study said it was the least favorite color for as many as one-third of women. So think carefully before choosing it. 

Black and white are often used together in brand marketing to represent authority and balance. Because black and white are the extreme opposites on the color wheel, together they represent balance and power. Popular sports brands Adidas and Puma both have black and white color schemes, which represents the equilibrium that athletes must maintain.

Black is also associated with elegance, luxury, and upscale fashion. A black logo has a timeless elegance, and can easily be used with other colors to market various product lines depending on the changing season or trend. 

When choosing a color palette for your brand, consider using complementary colors that will represent two associated messages that your brand wants to send. Contrasting colors grab the attention of consumers and help them to make a more positive judgment by focusing on the product or service displayed.

Thinking of rebranding and changing color schemes? Need a logo? We can help you decide which colors will best embody your brand as a whole. Contact us today at to get started creating a customized logo or color palette.