Color Psychology: How Colors Impact Buying Decisions

By Jamie Gill

19th October 2019

9 min read

Humans are blessed with the ability to distinguish between different colours.

Colours are all around us and impact our senses nearly every second of our waking hours.

When it comes to commerce, there is a whole industry around determining what colours are best suited for a particular product, packaging, or buying environment.

According to Satyendra Singh

“People make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products. About 62‐90 per cent of the assessment is based on colours alone. So, prudent use of colours can contribute not only to differentiating products from competitors but also to influencing moods and feelings — positively or negatively — and therefore, to attitude towards certain products.”

The reason being is the impact of that specific colour on our emotional state of mind and is perceived by us to send our particular messages.

What Is Color Psychology?

Colour psychology is how human behaviour may change or adapt in relation to exposure to certain colour types.

In other words, it does use specific colours in certain situations in particular combinations, compel us more to buy that product.

The simple answer is – yes, there are specific colours that influence the buying process.

The problem is understanding why and also it is not the same for every human.

Colour has a different meaning for us dependent on factors such as how and where you were brought up, your gender, your values, and other genetic and environmental factors.

Colour In Marketing

As a general rule the following colours elicit these emotions;

Yellow – Optimism & Warmth

Orange – Friendly, Cheerful

Red – Excitement

Purple – Creative

Blue – Trust 

Green – Peaceful

Grey – Balance

In other words, colours work by evoking certain feelings.

That being the case, then, dependent on the type of business you are trying to create, using the right colours is essential in your marketing messages.

By using the right colours in your marketing messages, you can get your potential audience to see what you want them to perceive.

In a recent study, 83% of buyers were influenced by the colour of the product they were buying.

If you take the general view as outlined above, the use of specific colours has illicit the following emotional response.

Green is a peaceful colour. It reminds people of plants and green fields, therefore, eliciting thoughts of a natural surrounding, which is typically serene.

Yellow makes us feel happy. It creates a preposition of optimism and happiness – a good feeling.

Red gives a feeling of warmth and fire. It can make your buyers think the temperature of a product is higher than it is.

There are instances, though, where the use of wrong colours can turn your customers off.

Most of the time, if you visit a website and the colours and content doesn’t look appealing, you will click away.

Sometimes a website might have the proper colours installed on them and the right kind of content.

However, if the mix of colours is wrong, and the text structure is not presented in the right way, it may present itself as a scam site.

Also, sometimes bright and sharp colours can turn people off. These are associated with childlike websites, so once again can be a turn-off.

Here are some designing rules to probably stick too.

Don’t use green on the top of a green background or use yellow and green.

It may look ok on a soccer shirt but not when it comes to a website presentation.

Like green, don’t use blue, yellow, and Magenta together.

Yellow text is a big no when using a red background.

Maybe more of a common-sense action is not to use dark colours on a dark background.

Also, a black background is not a great marketing background colour. Once again, ok for a rock band but not if you are trying to sell colourful clothing.

The same goes for light colours on a light background.

Don’t also use multi-coloured boxes on the same page, and it confuses the reader.

How Major Brands Use Color

If we consider the significant brands and there use of colour, we can see how they have spent time and energy, ensuring the right colours illicit the messages they want.

Let’s start with McDonald’s.

There use of red and yellow is of great appeal to children and young people – their target audience.

You certainly would not see any green in there are it is hard to market perceived unhealthy food under a conservationist banner.

One company that does use this to effect is Starbucks.

It is priding itself on environmental and ethical production methods that green suits the brand well.

Green also promotes a sense of relaxation – enticing you in for a relaxing cup of coffee.

Think of the colour red and the companies that are associated with it?

Straight away, two top brands of Coca Cola and Youtube come to mind.

They both use red for different reasons.

Coca-cola because red elicits appetite and hunger, whereas Youtube uses red for excitement.

Website Colors

When it comes to website colours, then there are three main colour design tips to consider in your design process.

Make sure you choose a dominant colour for your brand colour. 

As discussed, dominant colours bring out various emotions in different people and send a statement out about your business.

This is the colour you want your audience and followers to remember you by.

The choice of the background colour is also essential. 

You want to make sure your visitors feel comfortable when browsing your website, so your background colour has to complement and not be too much in people’s faces.

The final design tip is the use of colour on your website.

Call to action buttons are essential and need to stand out, therefore make them stand out features on your page.

Also, be careful in the mix of colours you have on any page, and this includes things like borders and sidebars.


Amazing Premium Themes

We’re busy building some really awesome themes. If you’d like to be the first to know when they’re ready, drop in your details below and we’ll let you know once they are available for download!