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Digital Marketing

Beginner’s guide to colour psychology in design

Remember the last time you decided to repaint your house? It was a confusing decision, wasn’t it? Everyone had their preferences. The lady of the house wanted something lighter while the kids wanted bold and bright colours, and then there were you, looking for a balance. But do the colours even matter so much?

The answer is, Yes! The colours, in fact, become a big part of your psychology. They have an impact on your emotions, behaviours, moods, likes, dislikes and whatnot. For example, studies have shown that the colour of a particular product can influence 87% of its purchase decisions. Furthermore, 90% of snap judgments made on products are influenced by colour alone. Colours have the power to affect perceptions in subtle ways; for example, they can enhance or detract from the way food tastes. In addition, they can also affect our mood, sleep, heart rate, and well-being.

To put it into perspective, it is crucial to understand that colours play a significant role in the correct reflection of a brand. Therefore, businesses put a lot of thought into deciding the right colours for their brand, which are then used deliberately in their product designs, packaging, advertisements, and websites to create a sense of authenticity, association, and familiarity.

While choosing brand colours, designers must understand the psychology of colours because they let you convey your message to your audience. An eye-pleasing colour scheme, for instance can upgrade any design from good to great and encourage your audience to stay longer for the observation of the design. In contrast, an atrocious colour palette can lessen users’ overall experience and create a wrong impression.

Although we react to colours based on a complex series of interactions between our tastes, family upbringing, and cultural background, there are a few generalities about how people respond to specific colours. In this article, we will learn about different colour meanings and how they can trigger the desired response from your audience.

The Psychology of Colors

Warm colours

Warm colours consist of red, yellow, and orange and their tertiary variations. They are positive, energizing, inspirational, enthusiastic, and happy colours. Here is a list of warm colours and their meanings.

Red colour

Red is a powerful colour representing positive and negative states of mind, including passion, anger, and affection. Also, it is in the longest wavelength of all colours and is suitable to provoke the strongest emotions. Thus, the colour red is used time and again in designs to capture attention.
Used to show: love, action, energy, danger, excitement, fear, passion, anger, encouragement.
Common design uses: Stop signs, Entertainment, Food, and Sports industry. Some brands using red colour in their marketing designs are Coca-cola, Youtube, Netflix, Pinterest, KFC.

Orange colour

Orange combines red’s power with yellow’s fun and friendliness. In addition, it brings a feeling of freedom, a positive attitude, and visual brilliance to the picture.

Used to show: Youth, Creativity, Freedom, Fun, Energy, Success, Balance, Beauty, Seasonal change, Warmth, Friendliness, Excitement, Enthusiasm.

Common design uses: Fruits and drinks websites, Entertainment, Sporting Events, and Board games. Some brands using orange colour are Fanta, Nickelodeon, Amazon, Soundcloud.

Yellow colour

Yellow is the colour of optimism and warmth. Its meaning revolves around sunshine and optimism. The brightness of the colour yellow helps attract customers. Also, it is thought to be the easiest colour to see with one of the most potent psychological meanings. Yellow brings a feeling of inspiration and confidence to the design.

Used to show: Hope, Happiness, Cheerfulness, Warmth, Spontaneity, Awareness, Positivity.

Common design uses: Food, Sports, Children, Leisure, Transportation, and Travel Industries. Some brands using yellow colours are Snapchat, Ikea, Mcdonald’s.

Cool colours

Cool colours consist of Green, Purple and Blue and their tertiary variations. These are more professional, calming, and soothing colours compared to the warmer ones. Here is a list of cool colours and their meanings.

Blue Color

The colour blue is known for its representation of trust and calmness. It gives a sense of responsibility and control; that’s why many big businesses use the hue in their branding. It is also associated with deep thinking and meditation. Blue is one of the most-liked colours across the entire world. However, it can also carry negative meanings such as sadness and depression, so designers should balance it with vibrant designs.

Used to show: Strength, Stability, Peace, Security, Calmness, Harmony, Trust, Dependability, Sadness, Distance, Masculinity.

Common design uses: Corporate designs, Hospitals, Spas, Financial Companies, Technology Companies, Workout Facilities. Some brands using blue colour are Facebook, Twitter, IBM, NASA, Intel, Paypal, Dell, Skype.

Green Color

Green lies right at the centre of the colour spectrum. Thus it is called the colour of balance. Green also signifies nature, health, and freshness. It joins blue with its calming and relaxing effects to stimulate the mind both emotionally and physically. In addition, Green is also linked to growth and prosperity, which makes it an immensely bright hue. However, it can sometimes carry some negative associations like envy and materialism as well.

Used to show: Relaxation, Wealth, Balance, Generosity, Revitalization, Encouragement, Nature, Renewal, Stability, Growth, Prosperity, Materialism, Health, Balance, Harmony.

Common design uses: Designs related to Nature, Economic Exchange, Health-Based Stores, Restaurants, Banking, Real Estate, Farming. Some of the brands using green colour are Spotify, Starbuck, Animal planet, Holiday Inn.

Purple Color

Purple is the colour of spirituality and royalty. It is used for presenting luxurious products.
It mixes the energy of blue and red hence making a perfect balance of stability and power. It’s a very intriguing colour as it has a soothing effect and presents space for mystery and new ideas.

Used to show: Creativity, Beauty, Luxury, Wealth, Mystery, Nobility, Wisdom, Spirituality, Courage, Magic.

Common design uses: Humanitarian, Psychic, Fairy Tales, Religion, Magic Shows. Some of the brands using purple colour are Hallmark, Cadbury, Barbie, Tacobell, Yahoo.


Neutral colours include black, white, greys, tans, and browns. They make good backdrops and produce sound effects with brighter accent colours. Here is a list of neutral colours and their meanings.

White Color

White is the colour of simplicity, purity, and innocence. It represents new ideas and beginnings. However, too much white can also have negative connotations with subtle undertones of emptiness and isolation.

Used to show: Sophistication, Purity, Freshness, Cleanliness, Humility.

Common design uses: Weddings, Website Backgrounds. Some of the brands using white colour are Apple, Adidas.

Black Color

Black is the colour of mystery, seriousness, and sophistication. However, Black also suggests death and depression. The inverse of white, black is the absence of light and everything it denotes. Also, it is the colour of high contrast and matches well with other colours.

Used to show: Fear, Mystery, Power, Elegance, Sophistication, Control, Independence

Common design uses: Professional attire, Luxury products, Website backgrounds.

Some of the brands using black are Nike, Squarespace, Adidas, Chanel.


Colour plays an essential role in how your brand is perceived. Moreover, the right colour palette can get your audience to see what you want them to see and feel what you want them to feel. So, whether you are designing social media posts, logos, websites or product packaging, all you have to do is keep this colour psychology in mind and create your designs according to the emotions you want to convey.

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