Colour affects mood, behavior in marketing

Posted On 06 Oct 2016
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v7029-hrNEWARK, USA: Consumer colour preferences are deeply rooted in emotional responses that seem to lack any rational basis, yet the powerful influence of colour is hard to deny. This is especially true in the floral industry where purchases not only reflect interior design colour trends but also personal messages associated with gift giving. This article takes a look at the importance and meaning behind colour in the Western Hemisphere.

We all know that colour  is a catalyst for affecting mood and behavior in marketing. In fact, numerous studies confirm the correlations between colours and behavior to aid marketers in engaging consumers and ultimately into buying their products.  (Keri, The Science of Colors in Marketing and Web Design)  Here are some quick facts about colour (Jill Morton):

  • 92.6 % of survey respondents state visual factors are most important when purchasing products. (Secretariat of the Seoul International Color Expo 2004)
  • People make a judgment about a product within 90 seconds of initial viewing
    • Between 62% and 90% of assessment is based on colour .(CCICOLOR – Institute for Color Research)
    • Colour increases brand recognition by 80%  (Source: University of Loyola, Maryland study)
    • Ads in colour are read 42% more often than the same ads in black and white

Colours enhance the appearance of merchandising and influence consumer behavior making it critical to consider the impact of the colours we use on our target audience. For example, fast food restaurants decorate with vivid reds and oranges to encourage diners to eat quickly and leave. Colour also affects shopping habits. Impulse shoppers respond best to red-orange, black and royal blue while those who plan to stick to their budgets respond best to pink, teal, light blue and navy. Traditionalists respond to pastels: pink, rose, sky blue.  (June Campbell, The Psychology of Color in Marketing)


Colour Image
Pale blue Light-hearted
Blue Honest, trustworthy, conservative, caring, serious, peaceful, calm, relaxed, tranquility, reliable, belonging, coolness
Dark blue Corporate
Indigo Serious, compassionate
Turquoise Caring, peaceful, calm, relaxed
Green Eco-friendly, caring, compassionate, peaceful, calm, relaxed, safe, optimism, harmony, wealth, luck, nature, fresh, cool, growth, abundance
Red Passion, exciting, excitement, strength, sex, speed, danger
Dark red Corporate
Orange a risk-taker, affordable, happy, social able, energy, warmth, ambition, enthusiasm, creative, playfulness, vibrant
Yellow Playful, light-hearted, happy, lively, energetic, warmth, sunshine, cheer, happiness
Pink Caring, compassionate, femininity, love, romance, tenderness, soft, sweet, nurture, security
Magenta Caring, compassionate, creative, imaginative, creative, imaginative
Black Elegant, high quality, luxurious, sophisticated, powerful, corporate, authority, seductive, mystery
Silver Elegant, high quality, luxurious, sophisticated, prestige, cold, scientific
Grey Conservative, traditional and serious
Gold high quality, luxurious, prestige, expensive
Purple high quality, luxurious, creative, imaginative, noble, power, wealth, royal, spirituality, dignity
Pastels light-hearted
Brown Solid, dependable, confident
White Purity, cleanliness, sterility, virginal, clean, youthful, mild.

Different meanings for different cultures

Colours have different meanings for different cultures, so the preferences of your target audience should be considered when you plan your design. While different cultures hold different associations for many colours, the Western meanings are becoming more universal as markets become global. Personal preference, experiences, upbringing, cultural differences, context, etc., often affect how people respond to colours. (Gregory Ciotti)

Blue is the most popular color for men and women. Women list purple as a top-tier colour, but men do not list purple as a favorite colour. Additional research on colour preferences show that when it comes to shades, tints and hues, men seem to prefer bold colours while women prefer softer colours. Also, men were more likely to select shades of colours as their favorites (colours with black added), whereas women were more receptive to tints of colours (colours with white added):









Image credit: The Logo Company








Image credit: KISSmetrics


Fancy colour names are preferred

While a large majority of consumers prefer colour patterns with similar hues, they favor palettes with a highly contrasting accent colour. In terms of colour, this would mean creating a visual structure consisting of base similar colours and contrasting them with accent complementary colours or tertiary colours. The names of colours matters as well.  Fancy colour names are preferred. For example, mocha was found to be significantly more likable than brownThe more unusual and unique colour names can increase the intent to purchase. (Aesthetic Response to Color Combinations)

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