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Why colour matters

Have you ever wondered what’s behind the colour choice for the most recognisable brands? Was it random, or perhaps was it a calculated decision aimed at affecting your subconscious buying behaviour?



Colour psychology


Psychologists and researchers alike have documented the power of colour and its psychological impact on decision making and buying behaviour. That breadth of knowledge has made its way into marketing and utilised by designers and marketers to influence their audience. The impact is so powerful, that a recent study showed that 86% of consumers claimed that colour was the deciding factor when making a purchase.

Colour and buying behaviour




Black - This colour can help your brand build association with strong authority, power and stability. Black has also been shown to showcase intelligence


Blue - This choice has ranked at the top as the preferred colour for men. Tones of blue are associated with reliability, tranquility, water and peace. Research has shown that blue creates a sense of security. Studies have also associated blue with curbing appetite and stimulating productivity. Blue is often used by conservative brands which seek to increase the trust in their product or service


Grey - This colour strongly emphasizes practicality, furthermore grey has also been shown to embody the feeling of solidarity and in some cases, old age. Studies have also shown that too heavy use of grey can lead to the feeling of emptiness and even depression.


Green - This colour provides a strong link to health, power, nature and tranquility. In the context of marketing, green has been used to relax customers to create a more pleasant environment, as green stimulates the feeling of harmony and encourages decisiveness


Red - This choice has been one of the most studied colours. Red creates a strong sense of urgency which is why it’s used heavily in sales. Red also encourages appetite, hence it’s present in almost every fast food brand. Moreover, red has a profound effect on the body, the colour can provoke the rise in blood pressure, heart rate and it creates the association with movement, passion and excitement.

Purple - This colour has a strong association with royalty, respect and wisdom. Purple has been shown to stimulate problem-solving as well as creativity. In marketing, this is the most common choice for the beauty industry, with heavy use in anti-aging products.


Yellow & Orange - These choices are very similar in the context of psychology. They create the feeling of optimism, however research also shows their effect on the feelings of anxiety and caution. Yellow has been shown to effectively impact impulsive buyers.


White - This colour creates the atmosphere of purity, safety and cleanliness. White can improve creativity as well as create the image of an un-altered and clean state.


How brands use colours?

The most famous example of how the colour theory is applied into practice is McDonalds. The red - yellow combination creates a high energy pair which is not only appealing to children, but it also drives appetite with the addition of a sense of urgency. Another interesting example is Starbucks, the world famous coffee chain uses green to improve the atmosphere in their cafes, creating a better environment for their customers, which in turn affects their behaviour.



Next Step

Now you know how the use of colours can have a profound psychological effect on your customers. Applying that knowledge into practice is more difficult than it may seem, using colour to achieve your goals requires practical knowledge and in-depth planning in order to hit your targets and achieve your long term goals. Get in touch with VT for a free consultation so you can see how we can help your brand succeed.


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