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Color Psychology in 
Marketing & Graphic Design

Do you ever wonder how the experts use color psychology in marketing and graphic design? What do certain colors mean? How can color influence the choices you make? How can color impact how you feel?

As discussed in color psychology, color can have a profound impact on how you perceive and respond to your environment. Color can also influence how others perceive and respond to you. As you begin to understand the meaning of individual colors and combinations of colors, you can begin to use them to your advantage.

Marketing experts aren’t ignorant of the powerful, yet unconscious affects of color on a emotional, psychological,  and even physiological level.  That bright red Nike logo is no accident.  Red actually stimulates your pituitary gland and a chemical message is sent to your adrenal medulla to release the hormone epinephrine.  Your body chemistry is altered causing an increase in pulse rate, blood pressure, and flow of adrenaline. Due to this biological response, the human mind connects red to excitement and high energy.

Graphic designers and marketers can use color to communicate a certain message. Some common associations of individual colors are as follows:

  • Red: passionate, impulsive, excited, aggressiveness, intense, anger
  • Orange: warm, cheeriness, happiness, creative
  • Yellow: cautious, jealousy, warmth, cowardly, positive, optimistic, curious
  • Green: greedy, rejuvenated, generous, hopeful
  • Blue: sad, trusting, loyal, calmness, secure, inspiring, relaxing, confidence
  • Purple: powerful, passion, sensitive, sophisticated, dignified
  • Black: powerful, depressed, serious, revengeful, sadness, remorseful, fear
  • White: peaceful, clean, youthful, refreshed
  • Gray: sadness, depressed, bored
  • Brown: cozy, warm, comfortable, secure, responsible, mature
  • Pink: romantic, loved, tender, charming, sexy, loving

Certain color combinations have the power to elicit involuntary emotions and reactions. With this knowledge, advertisers are able to utilize color psychology in marketing to influence the shopping habits of customers.  For example, the strength of vibrant yellow against a stark black implies power. Red, orange, black and royal blue appeal to impulse buyers. Budget-minded shoppers respond best to pink, teal, light blue, and navy. Black, silver and gold evoke prestige and luxury.  Primary color combinations are successfully aimed at children and their parents. For more information, follow the links below.

Find out the difference between passive and active colors.

Understand the difference between warm and cool colors.