What Is Color Psychology?

What Is Color Psychology?
Article by Jelena Relić
Last Updated: April 04, 2023

Color psychology has a major impact on consumers — in web designs, apps, poster campaigns and more. Color has a way of evoking emotion and engaging on a personal level. It speaks to consumers subconsciously, encouraging them to do or feel a number of different things.

You see color all the time. You know what colors you like and what you don’t. And more specifically, you know what brands are represented by certain colors and color schemes.

For instance, when you think of social media platforms, what colors come to mind? Probably blue — because blue has a way of relaxing users and instilling within them a sense of positivity and lightness. Blue is a color that means business. It’s a color that can be trusted. And that’s what these brands are trying to get across.

And that’s just one example of effective use of color psychology.

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Colors can give your brand a boost in terms of memorability. It’s been studied to increase brand awareness by 80 percent. Choosing the right colors is a powerful way to engage with your audience and make your presence known.

In marketing and branding, color is everything. It’s a vital aspect of your overall design that can make or break your identity and presence. And considering the large number of competitors you’re up against, you need to take advantage of everything that you can.

Color psychology can shed some light on the effects color has on consumer behaviors, consumer perceptions and consumer feelings.

They can make people feel happy or sad. They can create urgency or pacify. And colors can even encourage a consumer to buy your products or services. So it’s important your brand knows how to use color effectively.

You need to make sure you’re using color with a purpose. You need to understand intimately how each color will impact each consumer in a specific and direct way. This could be in logo design and content used for marketing materials. This could be in poster campaigns and product packaging. There are many places where your brand and business can integrate color to make a statement and leave a lasting impression.

But first, we must understand color psychology as a whole.

Paint Color Swatches Color Psychology
There are a plethora of colors under the sun, but do you know what they mean?

What Is Color Psychology?

In short, color psychology is the study of colors. It’s the study, more specifically, of how certain colors, hues, tints and shades make an impact on people and their emotions. It’s the study of how colors make you feel to simplify it. And it’s a growing inspection that is becoming increasingly useful in the world of marketing, branding and design.

This is one aspect or study of the way the brain perceives what it visualizes. When the brain sees a certain color, how does that color get translated throughout the body? What kind of impact does that color have on thoughts, emotions, ideas and actions?

That’s what color psychology aims to understand and dissect.

Even if you don’t realize it, color plays an important role in how you act. It makes you think and feel in certain ways. And as a consumer, color psychology has a way of encouraging actions like signing up for promotions, buying products and seeking out certain brands over others as a whole.

Each color, before it even evokes an emotion from you, comes with its own personality. That’s what may color psychology experts have come to realize. Colors come with their own persona that in turn affects your own.

And each color elicits and emotion from the viewer.

Of course, this isn’t a hard science, but there are studies that back these claims. It’s been proven that colors do in fact affect how brands and products are perceived, and color choice in branding, in general, relies heavily on the appropriateness of the color.

So color matters and consumers know it — even if it’s on a subconscious level.

But what colors have which personalities, and as a whole, what does each color make a consumer feel? Let’s dive into these complex emotions to better understand how your brand can leverage these powerful and colorful tools.

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Color Psychology — The Feelings Colors Evoke

Use colors wisely — it can make or break your design, your brand and your entire marketing strategy. You have to be careful and deliberate. And you need to know what colors mean in order to know how you can use them to benefit your entire plan. Let’s take a look at colors individually — and learn about their personalities and emotional impacts.


Red makes a statement that stuns. Red is a vibrant and dynamic color that creates urgency and certainly elicits a response. It embodies a creative and fiery energy. It promotes strength, power and determination. It's a color that can stand tall and demands to be seen. It also gives off a very mysterious vibe. It's full of danger, desire, love and romance.

There's a youthful vibe here as well that calls to simpler times. Its organic and symbolizes the beginning.

Red comes with a fire and an intensity that lets viewers know that it needs to be taken seriously. It's a color with a history and a prestige that stands tall and proud

In marketing, using this color will elicit urgency and action, encouraging users to play along and interact.


Orange is bright. It's fun and cool and creative. There's an innate enthusiasm and happiness that oozes out of this tantalizing and inspiring hue. The creativity, determination, and resilience are strong. The color orange is unrelenting and unforgiving.

It’s also a color that gives off an air of attraction, success, wealth and sophistication. Orange days confidence. It says it's ready for a change.

There is a lot of positivity that oozes out of this bright and vivid shade.

It's cool, fun and fresh with a pleasant and breezy quality to it. There is no harshness or negativity, and the vivid quality of the color is sure to put a smile on the face of anyone who interacts with it.

In marketing and design, orange can be used to inspire and signal a change in a happy and exciting way.


Yellow is easily the happiest of all the colors. It's a light, bright and airy color that says joy and light in the best way.

It's honorable and loyal. It's energetic and intellectual. This is the color of friendship and relationships. The warmth is palpable, as is it's optimism and clarity.

But on the flip side, this color can be used to frustrate and confuse. It’s jarring. It's slightly chaotic. It annoys the senses just enough to ensure a reaction. But it certainly grabs attention and you can't take that away from it.

In marketing, the color yellow is often used to catch the eye in a dynamic way. It’s used in accent coloring to draw the eye to specific aspects of a design. But be wary of your usage of this bombastic color — it can sometimes turn heads in the wrong way.


Green is a color that finds its roots in the earth and in nature. It’s a tranquil and serene color that’s full of growth and harmony. It also personifies beginnings and fertility in a very wholesome way.

It’s also a color that promotes wealth, money and stability. There’s a confidence in the color green and an intelligence. It’s truthful and honest and unafraid to be exactly what it is. It’s a color that exudes power.

And it has a dark side. Green can also embody feelings of envy and jealousy that give off a negative vibe.

Overall, green in design tends to soothe and pacify. It can show strength and wealth as well but its best use is in its more pure forms. It can be used to inspire and lead people on a calming and exciting journey.


Blue is a color often seen in marketing and branding. It’s a simple color with a purpose and an approachable and interactive quality.

Blue gives off feelings of relaxation, serenity and peacefulness. It’s a color that promotes focus, confidence and competence. It’s a wise color that brings with it an authority and a power. It’s trustworthy. It’s resolute. It’s impactful and dependable.

But it can also be cold and unfeeling. It can be unattainable and off-putting if used in brighter shades. But that doesn’t mean you should shy away from this peaceful hue.

Incorporating this color into web designs is an easy way to foster an atmosphere of creativity, interactivity and strength.

Blue is a common color, however, so if you want to stand out you have to use it in new, exciting and innovative ways that ensure you don’t blend in with the rest.


When we think about the color purple, we often think about the stories of old. Back in the time of kings and queens, the color purple was allowed exclusively for royalty because of how difficult the pigment was to obtain. And the color continues to hold that prominence and prestige.

The color purple oozes power and luxury. It’s a wealthy, royal and ambitious color that is reserved for the best of the best. There’s a powerful dignity and regalness to this color that can’t be ignored. It’s mysterious, feels magical and spiritual.

But it also makes the imagination run wild. It’s ethereal and fun and creative. You can do whatever, be whatever and feel whatever in its presence. It’s a color that makes you feel on top of the world.

Use this color in your design efforts to give your brand that same prominence and prestige.


Pink is fun. It’s full of love and romance and a calming serenity. It’s a color that is simply sincere and unapologetically so. It’s gentle and free of harm or irritation.

It’s a color that immediately puts you in a very loving and romantic mindset. It’s a color that’s exceptionally feminine but still stands strong and powerful and impactful. It makes a statement in design.

Pink also isn’t a color often seen in professional design. It is sometimes seen as immature and inappropriate. But that makes it all the more fun and eye-catching to use in your designs and marketing materials.

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White is the color of innocence and purity. Virgins wear white. Brides wear white. White is clean and light and airy. It exudes a goodness and an innocence in its purest form. It’s perfect. It’s safe. It’s clean. There’s a positivity that comes from white that is integral — and this comes from its promotion of faith and new beginnings.

White is for birth — it’s for purity and beginnings. White is simple and serene with a breeziness to it that floats like a feather in the wind.

If you want your consumers to look at you like a clean and minimal brand, using the color white is the right way to go. It’s also a useful color in aligning yourself as a wholesome, trustworthy brand.


The color black is strong, powerful, and dark. It gives off power and elegance and strength that is unrelenting. There’s an evident authority to the color due to its enigmatic and elusive qualities.

There’s a certain mystery to this color that is instantly seen. And it has its darker side too. It can embody grief and death and evil. It’s certainly a mysterious color that brings with it a wide variety of feelings.

Using the color black in your own designs can make a major impact. It’s a color that everyone will see. Using it as a background to a design will ensure that your design gives off a moody, dark vibe which is sometimes just the right feel you want to give off when trying to make a statement and market yourself in a certain way.


Gray is simple. It’s neutral, with no real good or evil qualities to it. It’s a color that’s timeless and practical. It strikes a clear and clean balance and can work to satisfy any and all wants.

Gray is a clean and clear color to use that walks a fine line between more dynamic and impactful colors like white and black. It’s simple and serene. It screams effectiveness, satisfaction and ease.

Grays work as a nice and clean backdrop to a design and can add a subtle softness when combined with harsher colors around it.


Brown is earthy and organic. It’s natural and serene. But it’s also a reliably warm and stable color that makes people feel safe and secure. It’s a color that makes people feel comfortable.

There is room for emotions with brown though. It can sometimes be seen as dirty and sad. It can evoke feelings of hopelessness and emptiness. But it’s a color that really embodies feelies of stability and strength that can help give your brand an edge.

The Importance Of Color Psychology In Marketing And Design

Ninety percent of consumers’ snap judgments come from color usage in design. And considering how important first impressions are, brands, marketers and designers alike can’t afford to miss out on the value of those first few impressions.

With the previous information in mind, it’s important to choose colors wisely. But it’s also important to know the importance that color plays in marketing outside of its emotional impacts. Because even if your marketing team doesn’t believe in the emotional power of color, there are still statistics that prove the effect of color in design and marketing.

Color encourages readership by up to 80 percent. And it also increases the ability for readers to remember content by 82 percent. Similarly, content is found 72 percent quick if it's in color as opposed to black and white.

Color draws attention. It stands out regardless of the tone of hue you choose. Color has the ability to grab attention and leave a lasting impression in a way other types of design elements don’t.

In your web design and print creations, color can lead people along their journey, highlight import facts and draw the eye to the most important aspects of the design. And it can grab attention, standing out from the dull walls and uninspiring designs its next to. But it is also powerful in other design areas like, logos.

It’s important that brands choose colors in logos in other designs to increase recognizability and stand out from the competition. This has been shown to align brands as leaders and experts, gaining them more recognition and notoriety. Color in logos isn’t the most common things to encounter, so if you can choose the right colors then you’re on the right path.

That being said, while color can be useful, it has to be used wisely.

It’s more important for brands to consider the emotional reaction from a consumer due to a color choice than the color itself. Essentially, how a color is perceived is more important than the color itself. So don’t choose a color that’s bright if it will make your consumers feel uneasy. If you’re a meditation app, for example, it wouldn’t be smart to go with a vivid and bold color palette because that will do more harm than good — it won’t put your consumers in a relaxing place at all.

You have to keep your audience in mind at all times. That’s a branding best practice, after all. But you can use colors to alter emotions and make an impact in your designs and in your marketing initiatives. You just have to know where to start.

Screen Website Color Psychology
A colorful web design can grab a user's attention and evoke an on-brand emotion.

Color Psychology, Marketing, Design And Branding

Colors are powerful tools for brand recognition, growth and consumer trust. They can help make an impact on your audience and establish yourself as a credible and positive authority in your industry or niche.

According to color psychology, each color gives off a specific emotion. It gives off a vibe or feeling that consumers can feel within themselves. Colors can make consumers react a certain way, thing a certain thing and feel a way about a product or brand in a subtle and subconscious way.

When brands want to create urgency, they use bright colors like reds which instill within users a sense of alarm and excitement. These make users feel like they need to do something, they need to complete an action. That’s why red colors are often seen with calls to action to entice and tantalize.

Similarly, blues and greens are used to pacify and calm. They are more soothing and tranquil colors that put consumers at ease and are helpful in lulling users along the buyer’s journey.

Brands have been using colors to elicit emotions for years. And you can too now that you know more comprehensively what colors mean and how you can use them to your advantage.

And brands like yours can use colors in a variety of different ways. Using color in your logo design can not only give your brand a playful edge but can also make it more memorable for your audience. Colors stand out, especially in logo design. And if your logo can stand out thanks to color, it’s already a step ahead of the competition.

Similarly, you can infuse these colors into your web design to create a cohesive and seamless brand identity that is matched across platforms and mediums. Using colors is the easiest way to stand your ground as a brand and create an identity that is memorable. It’s also the easiest way to ensure your presence is consistently represented, which is vital for a positive brand identity.

Product packaging design is also another place color can shine, helping your products jump from the shelves and transcend traditional looks to sell faster and at higher quantities.

Understanding how to use color to your advantage is vital for a strong and growing brand and business. And this helpful guide is here to give you the refresher you need to kick some competitors to the curb.

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