10 Ways Colors Appeal to the Senses and Influence Consumers

Humans are very visual creatures. Our first evaluation of a situation is based on what we can see. Sight can stir memories, thoughts and feelings that can make us either interested or intolerant. Researchers who performed a study titled, Impact of Color in Marketing, found 90% of snap judgments made about a product are done solely based on the colors associated with the label. The color has to “fit” the brand as well as the product that is being sold. So, as Gregory Ciotti explains, branding, more so than advertisement, impacts the consumer’s connection to the product. The connection to a product varies from person to person, as color and its meaning is different for everyone due to personalities formed based on demographics such as: gender, age, or ethnicity. Color psychology is one of the boldest components when it comes to marketing, sending messages, and evoking emotion.

Colors play a vital role in everything from advertising to catch consumers’ attention, to graphic design/art to draw customers into a product i.e. packaging, to the interior and exterior design/decor of businesses. From offices to restaurants, color can speak volumes and run a person through every kind of emotion before the first handshake is ever initiated.

In this listicle, we’ll explore the emotions behind ten of the most commonly used colors: Red, Blue, Green, Purple, Yellow, Orange, Pink, Brown, Grey and White.

Ravishing Red


Known as the most stimulating color on the wheel, red actually causes human pulse rates to rise when they come in contact with it. However, according to Forbes, this adrenaline rush is short-lived as red is known to reduce analytical thinking and make it difficult to stay focused. Marketers still know how to grab consumer’s attention, but unfortunately may not be able to keep their eyes locked on their product for long.
Feelings associated with red typically include; love, passion, urgency, hunger, and sexual energy. As far as design goes the color can make you feel warm, powerful, or elegant dependent on how you use it. Red with soft gray and touches of magenta will make a space feel cozy, feminine and soft, while orange-based reds can make you feel energized. HGTV Design

Ain’t No Basic Blue


Is the favorite color of 57% of men and 35% of women. Gregory Ciotti- Pie Charts Being so popular, corporations and technology companies use it in their logos and advertisement materials. It is also the perfect color for an office or lobby area of a business. Cheerful, yet relaxing, it can perhaps help with those pre-interview jitters. It’s also known to establish reliability, dependability and strength.

People across the globe find the color to be calming, quite possibly explained by our ancestral heritage of seeing blue in the sky or bodies of water. Forbes The color combined with yellows or greens create a cheerful, light feeling. HGTV Design

Go Green


For most, green is the most sedating color in the spectrum. It conveys growth and nature, as expected being the dominant color viewed in the wild. This makes it perfect for environmentally friendly companies. Color Psychology There is something about the color that is linked with broad and creative thinking. And hence, the perfect color for work areas to help employees be more productive. Forbes

Representing renewal, green is balanced in combination with other colors to capture any mood. Blue-greens mixed with gray and white are ideal for a calming emotion, while darker greens can invite boldness, usually reserved for the idea of money and, therefore, largely used by financial institutions. HGTV Design

Powerful Purple


Businesses outside of mainstream companies effectively use purple to set their logos and marketing appearance apart because the color itself is so prominent. Color Psychology This color is rated popular by 23% of women, just second to blue, however, 22% of men say that it is one of their least favorite colors. Gregory Ciotti- Pie Charts Marketers have to know their target audience when displaying this shade on their brand.

Purple is described as the middle ground between a calming blue and an exciting red. Depending on the tone, purple can be considered relaxing or dramatic. HGTV Design It is associated with royalty, wealth and spirituality. The color is also related to creativity, wisdom, and exploration.

Yikes! Yellow


If you’re trying to appeal to the mass population, yellow is not the best choice. 1% of men and 3% of women chose yellow as their favorite color, while between both genders 13% of people said it was their least favorite. Gregory Ciotti- Pie Charts

Yellow is the color of optimism, clarity and warmth. It is naturally cheerful and linked to the emotion of happiness. The color activates the memory, encourages creativity, promotes communication and stimulates the nervous system. It is a tricky color because you don’t want to pick something too bright or too muted.  HGTV Design Deeper shades of yellow makes one think of gold and riches. Marketers know that this is one of the best colors to bring energy to a company or product and appeal to kids as well as their parents. Color Psychology

Obviously Orange

This color is primarily known to represent good value. So, if a company’s, like Home Depot™, main logo is orange, consumers assume that the prices for products/services are low. Forbes Yet, 33% of women say it is their least favorite color and 22% of men agree.

Like red, orange is bold, but like yellow it is welcoming and enthusiastic. It is kid-friendly, as seen by its use for the Nickelodeon™ logo, and knows how to start a conversation. Color Psychology The color is friendly and represents innovation. It has the tendency to be overwhelming if not used in the right shade in the right space. “Orange has steadily progressed up the ladder of consumer preferences so there’s a greater appreciation of the color” says color expert Leatrice Eiseman. HGTV Design Advertisers see the trend and are probably beginning to catch on.

Patient Pink


Pink is actually known for draining people’s energy. The shade of Pepto-Bismol™ calms people down for around 30 minutes and typically keeps them in a calm state of mind for some time. Due to this effect, Pink could be perfect for board rooms or wherever lawyers may conduct mediation. Forbes

Different shades of pink set different moods. A bright, vivid tone suggests glamour and energy, while a soft, restrained pink is soothing. Pink is, of course, known to be predominately feminine. And, like a female’s mood the color can go “sweet to sappy quickly” according to color expert Kate Smith, so it is better to keep it simple and clean. HGTV Design

Broken Brown


In one sense, Brown can be used to represent a rugged, outdoorsy look (like leather), but in a different context it is seen as warm and inviting. Particularly for Thanksgiving, the color brown is known to stir appetite and can possibly be based off of its subconscious connection to chocolate. Shockingly, for being titled a “masculine color,” Brown is the least favorite color among 27% of men and 20% of women.  Gregory Ciotti- Pie Charts

Companies that wish to convey a trustworthy and reliable name are drawn to this hue. Earth-friendly firms, specifically, rely on a mixture of brown and green to brand their logos. Color Psychology Due to its earthy tones Brown is known to bring people a sense of security. Contrasting between light and dark shades is the best way to make the most out of this color. HGTV Design

Washed-out White


This color ultimately leads to boredom. White is sleek and clean, as used to market Apple™ products. It is known as a monochromatic, which psychologists say too much of can cause people to reflect on their own thoughts. People tend to lose focus and become easily distracted because their mind begins to wonder due to lack of stimulation. Forbes

White is peculiar because among both genders it is neither a popular favorite or disliked color. Gregory Ciotti- Pie Charts Possibly due to its monochromatic properties people are indifferent to its appearance. Typically, in branding and advertisement, white is used as a background, outline, or filler color, but accompanies at least one other color on the palette.

Group-loving Gray


Gray is thought to bring about balance and calm, as well as sophistication. Color Psychology Being a neutral, it cannot send a particular message on its own. That, however, isn’t its job, gray is made to support other colors by complementing them. Gray is also a great color to advertise with because it is pretty much universal and can be easily paired with other colors. Paula Kaminska

Colors have a huge impact on the way companies need to market themselves and their products. Branding is key to successful sales. Once consumers identify with a product they will automatically know it’s logo. However, researchers have found that it is not even so much the particular color used, but the name given to it. For example, brown vs. mocha. In a conducted study, the majority of people preferred the color titled “mocha” over the color titled “brown,” even though the participants had been shown the exact same hue. Gregory Ciotti- Pie Charts So, not only is color psychologically interpreted by individuals, but the title of a color can also affect how a consumer perceives it. Good marketers know that color aesthetic is the first thing people see and hopefully the last thing they remember.

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2 thoughts on “10 Ways Colors Appeal to the Senses and Influence Consumers

  1. I enjoyed learning about the different colors and how they are used in business. Wonder what it means if a person’s favorite color is black?

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