Full Spectrum Marketing – The Colour Psychology

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The importance of colour psychology…

Using colour psychology in branding, marketing and advertising campaigns is an invaluable tool to increase brand recognition, attract consumers and create brand loyalty. Colour images are processed in the brain more efficiently than black and white and are easier to recall holding a consumer’s attention for longer and improving readership by up to 40%.

Printed advertising has been using colour since 1936 and as more research has been done, colour choice is more integral than ever before in influencing consumer decisions and driving engagement. However, there are more factors to be considered than simply which colours to use in marketing media.

In order to get your message across, your materials above all else must be easily readable and this requires a minimum contrast ratio of at least 4:5:1 the modern day standard.

There is also a phenomenon called the Von Restorff Effect which states an item that contrasts and stands out is more likely to be noticed and remembered. This can be extremely useful in advertising media to engage the attention of consumers and give your brand maximum impact and your campaign, psychological longevity.

Amongst a target audience there is sure to be a percentage who are visually impaired to some degree. Those consumers who have colour blindness or partial vision loss are likely to find it extremely difficult to read materials printed with both red and green together, or blue and yellow, so these colour combinations should be avoided.

95% of companies use a limited palette of only one or two colours within their advertising media rather than full colour as it not only enhances the visual effect but creates brand recognition on both a conscious and subconscious level.

Indeed, combining this strategy with clever use of the Von Restorff Effect using a different colour to draw the eye to a certain aspect of the material, drives customer engagement and increases the impact of a campaign.

When deciding upon colour, there are three main categories from which to choose:

  • Warm
  • Cool
  • Black and White

Each colour has a range of psychological impacts which will inform its choice within a well-constructed marketing campaign.

The main categories are as follows:

Black signifies:

  • Power
  • Authority
  • Strength

White signifies:

  • Innocence
  • Cleanliness
  • Clarity

When Black and White are used together it creates a sense of professionalism and seriousness.

Red signifies:

  • Passion
  • Intensity
  • Strong Emotions
  • Stimulates Appetite

Red increases the heart rate and triggers urgency, influencing buying decisions in impulsive shoppers.

Yellow signifies:

  • Cheerfulness
  • Warmth
  • Stimulates the Nervous System
  • Improves Communication

Yellow communicates clarity and grabs the attention of window shoppers. It also represents youthfulness and optimism although in large blocks can cause fatigue in the eyes.

Blue signifies:

  • Calmness
  • Serenity
  • Peace
  • Productivity

Blue is the colour most preferred by men and the most popular choice for office decor. Blue in marketing materials engenders a sense of security and trust.

Orange signifies:

  • Excitement
  • Enthusiasm
  • Warmth
  • Caution

Orange is frequently used by those who wish to portray a cheerful, upbeat, welcoming and friendly brand and stimulates impulsive shoppers. It triggers actions such as signing up to a newsletter or making a purchasing decision.

Green signifies:

  • Health
  • Tranquility
  • Nature
  • New Growth
  • Money

Green is the colour of relaxation and it has been found to alleviate depression. The human eye is most sensitive to the colour green and can discern more shades of it than any other colour. It is often used by companies promoting environmentally friendly policies.

Purple signifies:

  • Royalty
  • Success
  • Wisdom
  • Respect
  • Creativity

Purple is the colour said to trigger feelings of soothing or calm, synonymous with a wise, caring, creative brand. Many beauty and anti-ageing products use this colour in their marketing materials.


The psychology behind the colours you choose in your marketing campaign must be tailored to the audience you wish to attract and of course, colour is not enough on its own to have maximum impact it needs to be well considered with an appealing and memorable message.

A well designed and well thought out logo with carefully chosen colours will increase brand recognition by half and instantly build a connection with the consumer.

Colours are integral to our memories, emotions, thought processes and associations and provoke a strong reaction in both our conscious and subconscious minds.

So, try these tips in your next marketing campaign to increase customer engagement, improve uptake and return on investment and maybe you’ll find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

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