The Psychology Of Colours In Marketing & Branding

Have you ever noticed how much of an influence colours are in your life? That’s called the psychology of colours. There are many factors that affect this; it could be your mood, or what you want to communicate to other people. It could actually be many more things.


Colour is an emotional cue and you would be amazed by knowing how much psychology there is behind the colour theory.


This is even more true when applied to marketing. In fact, colours in marketing are one of the strongest ways to attract the right people to your business. You can literally control their decisions.


To make a long story short, marketing and colours go hand-in-hand.


If you think all this sounds right, but you don’t know how to apply it to your business, read on.


In this article, we will uncover for you the meaning of each colour and how they can have an impact on your target audience.


No matter what you are after or what you are doing for a living. Colours have an enormous influence on the purchasing process that you shouldn’t take for granted.


Colours and deep psychology

Do colours affect how you feel? You bet.


What do you think it’s going to happen when you ask yourself the same question when it comes to business?


Different colours will affect how buyers perceive your brand. The psychology of colours can help you here.


I assume the goal of your business is to attract the right customer, whatever you are selling.


Words are important, of course. But remember, 90% of the information processed by the brain is visual. This is what Statista claims and we couldn’t agree more.

The Basics of colour theory

Let’s start with a smattering of the colour wheel. In fact, you have to understand how colours work before applying the psychology of colours theory to your brand and marketing campaigns. 

This is something you shouldn’t skip. 

Okay, let me rephrase that. As a matter of fact, you are already using colours in your logo, ads and so on. 

However, if you do not have a knowledge of the basis, there is a chance you are doing it wrong, wasting your time and money.


Primary colours


You probably remember this from primary school. Anyway, I am going to tell you anyway, just to make sure you have this covered.


Primary colours are the three colours that make all other colours. Did I say “colours” enough?


Here they are: red, blu and yellow (cyan, magenta and yellow if you are talking colours theory in regards to light).

primary colours wheel


Secondary colours


Secondary colours are green, purple and orange. They are created from the primary colours. You can easily spot them, as, on the colour wheel, they are in between 2 primary colours.

secondary colours wheel

Tertiary colours


These are the colours that you obtain when adding more of one primary colour than the other.

tertiary colours wheel

Pure Colours


Pure (saturated) colours are primary, secondary and tertiary colours without the addition of black or white. They are bright and cheery.


Tints, Shades and Tones


When white is added to a pure colour, you get a tint.


By adding black to a pure colour, you get a shade.


Eventually, if you add grey (black+white) to a pure colour, you will get a tone.


Cool and Warm colours


Having said that, you should know there are 2 main classes of colours: cool and warm.


Cool colours are on the left side of the wheel. They represent any colour that is calm and shooting in nature (think of the grass of the blue water).


Instead, Warm colour are on the right side of the colour wheel. They evoke the feeling of warmth as they are the colours of the sun and the fire. Is there anything warmer than a fire?

cool and warm colour wheel

Colour Combinations


Great. Now you know the basis of colours and how the colour wheel works.


Just one thing before we dive much deeper.


You should always combine colours effectively. This is so important because the colours you choose will make stand out your message. Make sure you use high contrast colours for what you want to appear as unmissable.


However, this doesn’t mean you have to use different colours to create contrast. What to know more about it? Then check out this article.


As a rule of thumb, keep your colour combination as simple as possible. In fact, too many colours could make your message a bit confused.


Complementary colours Combination


If your goal is to make something stand out, effortlessly, complementary colours are your go-to combination. They are opposite on the colour wheel.


There is one thing you should keep in mind when you choose to combine red and green (and their tints, shades and tones). Many people are “red-green colour blind”. That means they can not recognize these colours. It would obviously have a negative impact on the message you are trying to convey. Therefore, our suggestion is to use these particular colours carefully.


YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T KNOW THAT … Facebook is blue because Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colourblind.


Split Complementary colours combination


If you think that using only 2 colours wouldn’t be the right choice for your business and your marketing campaigns, we got you.


Split Complementary colours scheme is what you are looking for.


In order to achieve this, select one base colour that resonates with you and your target audience. Then, pick the 2 colours adjacent to its opposite.


This combination is eye-catching without being as “aggressive” as the complementary colours combination.

split colours combination

Analogous colours combination


This combination is most likely the more visually appealing, so you could be tempted to go for it.


Nothing wrong with that, but please be careful.


The important message you want to convey could go unnoticed. In fact, this technique is not really used when the primary goal is to make something stand out.


However, if you feel like this is the right combination for you, there is hope. You could simply use a complementary colour to draw attention on a particular element.

analogous colours combination

Monochromatic colours combination


These are single colours with their tints, shades and tones.


This is an eye-pleasing combination, but again, be careful when using it.


As it involves the use of a single colour, people won’t be able to recognise what is more important in your message.

monochromatic colours combination

The Psychology of Colours in Marketing


Finally, here we are.


You are about to find out what’s the best colour for your business, according to what you want to communicate to your audience. You are about to know how you should apply the psychology of colours in your strategy.


First of all, let’s do a quick recap. Why should you pay so much attention to something like colours?


  • They have an impact on how we think and behave.


  • They have the ability to direct our eye towards something that has to be noticed.


  • They highlight what’s important and what’s not.


  • They have a big impact on the purchasing process.


Before getting into the details, there is something you should know.


People don’t all react to colours in the same way. As humans with a past, we already have been influenced by many things in life. For the same reason, you could perceive a certain colour in a different way as the majority of the people out there.


That said, it is been proven that most of the people have the same reaction when dealing with the following colours.


This is why successful businesses convey their message using a colour rather than another. They do that because they want people to perceive them in a certain way, even subconsciously.


You can use the colour you choose can in your logo, call to action buttons, marketing campaigns and so on.

These are the techniques we use at Digitally Nailed for our marketing and branding strategies.


Okay, let’s get into it!




The Psychology of colour red is particularly tangled. People could perceive red in different ways according to the context. It is one of the colours that can have both very positive and negative aspects.


Women like red more than men. Keep it in mind, in case yours is a predominantly female audience.


psychology of colour red




Orange has a powerful psychological meaning as it combines the passion of red and the joy and youthfulness of yellow. Even though it is a colour that represents motivation, positive attitude and love for life, it is not suitable for any business. In fact, people often perceive it as symbol of immaturity, so it is not the perfect fit for a corporate brand.


psychology of colour orange




Yellow is a joyful and optimistic colour. On top of that, it is a very visible colour. Yellow is, in fact, the first colour infants respond to.

Even though yellow has many positive connotations such as happiness and motivation, you should not use it too much.This is because yellow tends to make us more critical, susceptible to fear and anxiety.

Just consider that the psychology of colour yellow doesn’t always work in your favour.

psychology of colour yellow




Green is the easiest colour on human eyes. For that reason, it is relaxing colour. Normally used to represents harmony and balance, nature, growth and life.


It doesn’t really have enormous negative connotations. However, make sure to use it only if your brand has a connection with nature, health or finance.


psychology of colour green




Blue is one of the most used colours out there. And there are actually quite a few good reasons. Blue is a calming colour not only for the eyes but for the mind too. Moreover, people perceive it as the colour that generates trust in relationships. For that reason, it is widely used for business purposes.


However, it is also considered as distant, cold and unfriendly.


In the psychology of colour theory, blue is one of the easiest colours to use. Be careful though, as many brands use this colour. For that reason, you could go unnoticed.


psychology of colour blue




Purple is a very bold colour. In the past, it was a symbol of religion and bad luck. Nowadays, it has many more connotations.


Purple is one of the colours used by businesses who want to be perceived as luxury and high-hand. It also shows courage and loyalty. Nevertheless, it didn’t loose its magical and mysterious aspects.


psychology of colour purple




Women choose pink more easily than men. For that reason, it is normally associated with feminine brands. It is a sophisticated colour. Seen as the colour of compassion and unconditional love, experts suggest to use it in small amounts. In fact, too much pink reflects a lack of power and immaturity.


psychology of colour pink




Black is the most powerful colour. It represents luxury, independence and seriousness. Besides, black is great for high contrast and easy readability.


In spite of the many positive aspects, too much black could lead to sadness and depression. Let’s not forget that it is widely used to represent death and evil.


psychology of colour black




White is not a very popular colour among businesses. In fact, people assosciate it with loneliness, emptiness and could cause isolation.


However, it many prestigious brands use it. It is the symbol of purity, cleanliness, simplicity and new beginnings.

psychology of colour white



Digitally Nailed decided to share with you the most powerful and useful colour tools out there.


We use all of them during the creation process. They are a fantastic help when in need to decide which is the most suitable colour for your business, marketing campaigns or messages you want to convey.


  • GRABIENT: If you feel like you want to create the perfect combination of colours, you do not want to miss this tool.


  • DESIGN SEEDS: Do you need a cool and innovative colour palette? Select a colour, a collection, a season and much more for the perfect colour palette for your business.


  • COOLORS: This is one of our favourite tools. It has a brilliant colour generator from where you can pick the colour that you need and combine it with others. In addition, you can upload any picture and Coolors will extrapolate them for you. Simply amazing!


  • ADOBE COLOR: As any other Adobe products, this one is simply ingenious and efficient. The tool has many sections. One of these is the colour wheel, where you can pick the colour combination that you prefer and Adobe Color will help you choose the best option for you. It also allows you to extract a theme or gradient from a picture. Coolest feature ever? It tells you if you chose a colour that will confuse people with colour blindness. Do you want to know what’s even better? It is totally free, even if you do not have a Creative Cloud Account.




If you thought that psychology, marketing, branding and colours had nothing to do with each other, you were wrong.

In fact, the psychology of colours is an incredible powerful tool that you should start using right now.


Do not take colours for granted. Once you will have figured out which is the right colour for the message you want to convey, you will see an increase in your conversion rate.


Also, consider running some A/B tests. This will show you which colours will attract your audience’s attention the most.


Do you already have a colour technique in place for your business? Are you affected by colours during the purchasing process?