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Psychology of color in advertising: how color affects consumers' emotions

[ BLOG ]

Table of contents of the article

What does a brand style and logo mean to you? It's an integral part of your company, even if it's very small. How can you stand out among the rest? A good understanding of color psychology can help determine which color suits you best and what significance it carries. Color is one of the most powerful tools in marketing and advertising. The right choice of color can evoke specific emotions and associations in consumers, which can lead to improved sales and brand recognition.

Psychological Effects of Color

The psychology of color in advertising holds immense significance as it is this element that influences the consumer, guiding them towards specific actions. Moreover, different shades can have varying impacts on the perception of advertising components. For instance, red can give an object closeness and warmth, while blue can do the opposite, distancing the object and lowering its perceived temperature.
The correctly chosen color palette can significantly boost product sales, whereas a mistake in this area can drastically reduce consumer interest. In this article, we will explore how color psychology works and the importance of individual shades.
Each color has its psychological effect on a person. For example, the color red may evoke feelings of passion and arousal, while blue induces feelings of calm and trust. When choosing a color for advertising, it's essential to consider the psychological effects of each color and their combinations.

Examples of Color Usage in Advertising

The color red is frequently used in food product advertisements because it can induce feelings of hunger and boost appetite.
Orange is associated with energy and joy, which is why it is often utilized in advertisements for sports goods.
Green is linked with nature and ecology, making it suitable for advertising eco-friendly products.
Mechanism of Color Psychology in Advertising
Every color evokes either conscious or subconscious associations in a person. Since ancient times, globally, blue has been associated with water and the sky, while green is linked with plants.
Over time, perceptions of colors have evolved. Associations can differ among cultures, and they can emerge or fade. A person's perception of color also depends on their gender, age, experiences, personal preferences, and the context in which they encounter a particular shade. Despite these variables, most people perceive colors similarly and, therefore, experience the same emotions when viewing them.
To understand how color psychology affects advertising, numerous studies have been conducted to discern which associations arise and how people's perceptions change. In one experiment, scientists found that yellow drinks were perceived as sour. In green drinks, some participants detected a mint taste and aroma, even though none was present. In contrast, red and orange drinks seemed sweeter. Color psychology also impacts how individuals perceive the passage of time when viewing images of different shades. For instance, websites designed in cool tones appear to load slower.
example of a call to action

Psychological Perception of Colors in Advertising


The color red is utilized in advertising to draw consumers' attention, such as highlighting time-limited discounts and promotions. It appears in the campaigns for products like cars, alcohol, and lingerie and is used for pointers and call-to-action buttons.
The psychology behind using red in advertising is influenced by its following properties:
  • Stimulating appetite, making it actively used by fast-food enterprises
  • Indicating urgency for users to undertake specific actions
  • Associations with sales
  • Acceleration of heart rate and pulse
Red serves as the primary color for brands like YouTube, PUMA, KFC.
example of a call to action


Black adds an air of mystery and sophistication to advertisements and is thus prominently used by premium brands. It's an accent color, highlighting buttons and text against a white background. When choosing black as the primary color, it's essential to make other elements contrasting. This shade is suitable for commercials and brochures promoting cars, watches, alcoholic beverages, and gadgets.
The psychology of black is as follows:
  • It's associated with luxury and influence
  • Encourages the customer to purchase the advertised product
  • Suits as a background color
Black is the primary color for brands like BOSS, NIKE, and Chanel.
example of a call to action


Universal white complements any shade and is associated with safety, cleanliness, freshness, and modernity. Thanks to psychology, this color helps draw attention to details and is used in creating landing pages. It is not associated with importance and urgency, making it unsuitable for action-oriented buttons. It is often used to promote pharmaceuticals, eco-friendly products, health-related items, and clothing.
Key features of white color psychology in advertising and marketing:
  • Used dominantly.
  • Often used as a background in landing pages and multi-page websites.
  • Can be used as a primary color without fear of overuse.
  • Suitable for highlighting essential information.
Brands using white as a background color include Adidas, Sony, and CHANNEL.

example of a call to action


Utilizing color psychology in advertising, companies that prioritize trust but have products that can't be physically touched turn to blue. Online services, payment systems, banks, water manufacturers, cosmetics, health products, and tour operators often use blue.
  • Calms
  • Is more suitable for advertising products aimed at men
  • Is not recommended for food products
Major companies using blue as their primary color include FORD and RTL.
example of a facebook text


Green is associated with freshness, ecology, and a healthy lifestyle. It is used for call-to-action buttons. Manufacturers of food products, household chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and eco-friendly items often use green in advertising.
  • Evokes associations with growth, development, health, and money
  • Has a relaxing effect, allowing eyes to rest
  • Attracts attention, making it suitable for call-to-action
Brands using green include Tic Tac, Subway, Lacoste, Xbox, Heineken, Android, and Fairy.
example of a facebook text


Marketers are well-aware that in psychology, yellow is employed to attract attention and signal caution. It aids in drawing customers whose emotions play a pivotal role in their purchasing decisions. Yellow is extensively used to design signboards, call-to-action buttons, indicators, and discounts. It is a color ideally suited for fast-food chains, taxi services, youth clothing brands, food products, and money transfer services.
Thanks to the psychology of color in advertising, yellow:
  • Aids in brand recall,
  • Is associated with a positive mood and optimism
  • When paired with black, garners even more attention
Brands like Lipton, and Burger King have adopted yellow as their primary color, underscoring its effectiveness.
example of a facebook text


Orange, though less frequently used in advertising compared to yellow, still has a noteworthy presence. It can be found in campaigns that cater to the entertainment sector, mass consumer goods and manufacturing, household appliances, beverages, and children's items. This shade is aptly suited for call-to-action buttons.
Regarding orange:
  • It is seldom chosen by elite brands
  • Due to its resonance with children, it is favored by producers of children's goods and educational institutions
  • It contrasts well with a dark background, making it a popular color accent in advertising banners
Brands such as Aliexpress, Mastercard, and Amigos Sailing Team use orange to their advantage.
example of a facebook text


Companies associated with the beauty industry, creativity, youth fashion, bed linen manufacturers, and children's goods recognize and utilize the psychology of the color purple in their advertising efforts.
Characteristics of purple include:
  • A strong influence on the individual, so it's essential not to overuse it (soft shades of lavender being the exception)
  • Associations with rebellion and contradictions
  • Positive reception among children
Brands that utilize purple as a background color include Milk and Hallmark.
example of a facebook text


Young girls adore pink, and this color psychology is harnessed in advertisements for cosmetics, youthful women's clothing, lingerie, children's items, toys, services for teenagers, and dating sites.
The color pink:
  • Has a calming effect
  • Is almost never seen in advertisements for male products, yet it's suitable for teenage items irrespective of the gender of the potential consumers
Brands that predominantly use pink include Renaissance Bank, and Barbie.
example of a facebook text


Brown evokes associations with nature, earth, and wood. In advertising psychology and marketing, the color emphasizes trust in a product and longstanding traditions. It's ideal for furniture companies, cafes and coffee shops, alcohol producers, clothing and footwear, male products, automobile manufacturers, and the construction industry.
Attributes of brown include:
  • Being favored by self-assured, affluent individuals who prefer clothing in brown shades
  • Emphasizing experience, wisdom, tradition, and tranquility
  • Associations with relaxation and safety, a feature remembered by restaurant and cafe owners who extensively use it in interior designs
Prominent brands that utilize brown include, Soliday kids, M&M.
example of a facebook text


Neutral gray, which harmonizes well with other shades, denotes a brand's seriousness. This color psychology is harnessed in advertising and marketing for IT companies, within the industrial sector, and in designing websites for government institutions.
In marketing, the following attributes of gray are leveraged:
  • Just like white, it serves as a suitable backdrop, helping to highlight other colors
  • Even when used extensively in design, gray isn't irritating
  • It's a relaxing, universal, and conservative color
Brands that prominently use gray include Apple, Wikipedia, and Lexus.
example of a facebook text

Color Perception in Different Countries

Color perception can vary across countries. When launching an advertising campaign, it's crucial to account for both the psychological nuances of color and the cultural specifics of the region.
For instance:
In the USA, red is associated with love, yellow with prosperity, green with hope, blue with loyalty, white with purity, innocence, and peace, and black signifies troubles, complexities, and extreme situations.
Australians favor green, Bulgarians lean towards dark green and brown, Pakistanis prefer emerald green, while the Dutch gravitate towards orange and blue.

Vibrant colors permeate many aspects of daily life in India, such as art, crafts, clothing, and more. Each color in this country has a strictly defined significance within religious and cultural traditions. For example, green is sacred for Muslims and Parsis (Zoroastrians), whereas saffron, or orange, holds religious significance for Hindus. Red symbolizes purity and sensuality, yellow is associated with the god Vishnu, and green is a festive color denoting life and happiness.
In China, red symbolizes courage, honor, and kindness, while white denotes deceit and treachery, contrasting with the general western perception. When launching ads for European products in China, it's vital to consider these color psychology nuances to avoid harming a company's image.
Russians also place great importance on color psychology. Red symbolizes wealth and love, white represents purity, and blue stands for spiritual refinement. These colors are embodied in the national flag of Russia.

The Interplay of Color and Shape in Advertising

example of a facebook text
According to psychologists, the color and graphical solutions used in advertising materials can influence a person's emotions in varying ways. Typically, horizontal and vertical lines are associated with tranquility, clarity, and solidity, while curved lines symbolize elegance and casualness.
However, there are exceptions. For instance, excessive use of sharp contrast lines might not induce tranquility but instead cause irritation and negative emotions.
The simpler and more symmetrical the shapes used in advertising, the quicker they are to be interpreted. The more complex and intricate they are, and the fewer direct associations they invoke, the more attention they garner. Nonetheless, it's unpredictable whether the evoked emotions will be positive or, conversely, negative.
Psychologists suggest that symbols depicting shapes resonate with a person's real sensations. For example, a jagged, zigzag line "//" is associated with abrupt changes, the release of energy, and power. Such a design is used to depict lightning. If fragmented shapes lacking balance are used in advertising, an individual subconsciously feels discomfort when viewing the image, wanting to mentally complete the picture and give it a sense of completion.
Long before psychology emerged as a science, ancient civilizations recognized that certain colors and shapes had a pronounced effect on them. With the advancement of color therapy, color schemes began to be used purposefully. A person's perception of color depends on their emotional state. Depending on their mood, they might favor certain colors, neutrally perceive others, and have a strong aversion to some.

How to Choose a Color for Advertising?

The choice of color for advertising hinges on the target audience, the product, and the objective of the ad campaign. For instance, products related to health and well-being are best represented in light and delicate colors, while those associated with energy and movement should use bright and vivid colors.
The psychology of color in advertising is a pivotal facet of marketing strategy. The right color choice can enhance brand recognition, boost sales, and elicit desired emotions in consumers. When selecting colors, it's essential to consider the psychological effects of each color and their combinations, as well as the target audience and the purpose of the ad campaign.

FAQ: Delving into the Nuances of Color Psychology in Advertising & Consumer Emotions

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