The psychology of colour

Having started my own business, I saw that a lot of start ups needed help with branding. From the conception of a lot of small businesses, I have been there. This isn’t a boast, but rather something that has made my really proud to learn about. From property to culinary, brands want to be unique but also pass on the right message and bring up the right emotions to the brand.


I was recently in a brainstorming session of about 10 people on a name, colour and slogan of a brand which got me thinking about colours and how they naturally make people feel or the perception of a brand based on colour.

My example to explain this is social media. Have you noticed that Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all blue? Was this a case of people copying each other or is there something deeper than that?

How do Colours Influence People?

Red – Creates a sense of urgency, which is good for clearance sales. Encourages appetite, thus is frequently used by fast-food chains. Physically stimulates the body, raising blood pressure and heart rate, associated with movement, excitement, and passion.

Blue – The preferred color of men. It’s associated with peace, water, tranquility, and reliability. Blue provides a sense of security, curbs appetite, and stimulates productivity. The most common color used by conservative brands looking to promote trust in their products.

Green – Associated with health, tranquility, power, and nature. Used in stores to relax customers and for promoting environmental issues. Green stimulates harmony in your brain and encourages a balance leading to decisiveness.

Purple – Commonly associated with royalty, wisdom, and respect. Stimulates problem solving as well as creativity. Frequently used to promote beauty and anti-aging products.

Orange & Yellow – Cheerful colors that promote optimism. Yellow can make babies cry, while orange can trigger a sense of caution. Used to create a sense of anxiety that can draw in impulsive buyers and window shoppers.

Black – Associated with authority, power, stability, and strength. Often a symbol of intelligence, but can become overwhelming if used to frequently.

Grey – Symbolizes feelings of practicality, old age, and solidarity. But too much grey can lead to feelings of nothingness and depression.

White – Associated with feelings of purity, cleanliness and safety. Can be used to project an absence of color or neutrality. White space helps spark creativity since it can be perceived as an unaltered, clean state.


colour personality

This brand had mistakenly started the branding process in a way that blocked their minds to naming the product. They started off with the obvious route: eg if this brand sold paper, their logo had paper in it. So when it came to naming it, they all blocked their mind to thinking about names around the word paper.

My method and what I employed in this brainstorming session was to dismiss the concept of paper, look at what it meant to you as a consumer. How did paper make you feel before and after you use it? From starting that exercise, already the ideas coming from them were way stronger. It’s really simple to box yourself in, compare yourself with competitors or just completely pick a colour based on your favourites.


Ultimately, the use of colour in marketing and business can be changed to cater to your needs. A lot of things can be taken into account, for example, associations to political parties, cultural groups which will affect your branding in your market but might not affect it for another market. This is something you have to take into account, as well as how colour affects your mood. Big brands have all tried and tested these measures and they have each brought up certain responses to the brand.

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