The Psychology of Color and Its Significance in Visual Marketing

The Psychology of Color and Its Significance in Visual Marketing

One of the most important elements of marketing, one which relates directly to images and perhaps contributes the most to getting those Instagram likes  is that of the power of color. It is one of the most controversial yet enduring subject matters in the field of marketing. A lot of the conversations around the impact of color today are on misconceptions and controversies.


Unlike psychological conclusions in other areas of marketing, the field of color is riddled with so much conversation, but is backed with so little in the way of factual evidence. One of the biggest reasons for this is the fact that personal preferences, upbringing, cultural differences and experiences moderate the effects that different colors have on people. What one color can invoke in one person is almost likely different from that which it does on another. Still, this does not make the importance of color any less significant.


One of the most important issues in the perception of color is branding. Despite the number of attempts to try to classify potential consumer responses to different individual colors, the truth is that color is often too dependent on individual experiences and cannot be universally translated. Still, broader messages can be discerned from different colors when it comes to purchases and branding.

Research has determined that the impact of color in purchase decisions is huge. Among all the snap decisions made about various products, up to 90 percent are made based on or influenced by color. In terms of the use of color in branding, research shows that the effective use of color depends on the appropriateness of the color for the particular product to be sold. Colors influence consumer perception of brand personality, as well as the creation of the identity of the brand. In fact, new brands are often advised to get logo colors that ensure differentiation from other brands.

Personality and stereotypes

Despite the obvious alignment of color with certain stereotypical traits, the use of color must be approached carefully. Certain colors can be attributed to certain traits, like purple with sophistication and red with excitement. However, it is more important to have one’s logo or brand colors supporting the personality they want to portray rather than simply trying to align oneself with the stereotypical associations of color.

Consider an example like the use of green or brown. Typically, green denotes calm, and this can be seen as the stereotypical association. Still, without a proper context, there is a world in which some people would associate green with environmental or financial issues.

Another example is the use of brown, which stereotypically would denote ruggedness. However, brown can also be used to stir one’s appetite as used so commonly in food adverts, or to create a warm and inviting feeling. Color preferences might also mean different things to different genders.

Playing with color is clever, but it is important to consider contextual factors and what the competition is doing.

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