What Does Color Have To do With Marketing?

Color affects and influences us both emotionally and psychologically on all levels, whether it is personal or business. Certain colors have the ability to raise our blood pressure, cause our breathing to become rapid, increase our pulse rate and adrenaline. Color influences every level, from the brand logo, image, signage, display, print materials, and the product itself.Consumers are in an emotional mode when they shop for a product or service. And when they are in an emotional mode, they are more visually attuned.Choosing the wrong color(s) guarantees failure, choosing the right color(s) can close the sale.

Red – Any design in red takes on a persona that is exciting, passionate, provocative, and dynamic.

  • Aggressive in nature
  • Commands attention and demands action
  • Sexiest of all colors, red is equally seductive in the marketplace

Consumers respond well to wine tones. They see them as rich, refined, expensive as well as more authoritative, mature, lush, opulent, and elegant than a vibrant red. The result: burgundy is an excellent choice for expensive products.

Pink – Depending on its value or intensity, pink has various mood swings being either romantic, youthful, happy, or sweet.

  • Used for less expensive items such as toys or plastic novelty goods
  • Bubble-gum pinks are immature, artificial, and seen as tacky on expensive
  • Excellent choices for the food and beverage industry, cosmetics, perfumes, bath products, facial salons, and health care products.

Orange– The hottest temperature of all colors.

  • High arousal that is associated with autumn’s shimmering foliage or radiant shadings of sunset
  • Intense orange is a color not taken seriously because it then becomes playful, expressive, happy, and childlike
  • Bright orange is an excellent choice for toys, games, inexpensive plastics, and any novelty products that appeal to children or the young-at-heart
  • Peach, apricot, coral, and melon are pleasing to the eye and are outstanding choices for the upscale, affluent markets. These colors are nurturing, approachable, tactile colors that people want to reach out to touch or taste making them first-rate choices for healthcare products, dining areas, food services, or food packaging. Other first-class uses of these colors are makeup salons, beauty spas, and in beauty products and/or packaging.

Yellow – Warm, sunny, luminous yellow equals splendor and the heat of the sun in every society.

  • Optimistic
  • Creative
  • Imaginative
  • Feeling of well-being

Various shades of yellow are associated with delicious foods such as banana cream or custard. Lemon yellow is happy with a sweet, citrus taste although less sophisticated than cream yellow. Green-yellow is often associated with tart, acidic tastes such as the lime.Using yellow and black together is a predatory and dangerous color combination. Think of yellow and black road signs.


  • Rich brown is associated with hearth and home, substance and stability, and earth
  • Earthy colors generally give a positive response

Whether related to wholesome and healthy or satisfying your sweet tooth, brown relates to good taste and is appropriate to foodstuffs or food service environments.


  • Constant, quiet, serene, dependable, reliable, trustworthy, committed
  • Cool blue is the most popular color and is strongly associated with sky and water
  • Blue is an ideal color for corporate identities, web sites, packaging, and because they convey dependability and trust
  • Brilliant, electric blue is dynamic and dramatic, expressing exhilaration
  • Teal blue is rich, unique, and definitely an up-scale hue, pleasing to the eye and combining well with many other colors and is appealing to both genders


  • Soothing, nature, refreshing, fresh
  • Blue-greens and aquas are first-rate choices for packaging or the colors for personal hygiene products or beauty products as they are flattering to every skin color
  • Mint greens are refreshing and fresh
  • Bright greens are the first buds of spring, and renewal
  • Emerald greens are elegant
  • Deep greens mean prestige, security and feeling
  • Deep green is an excellent choice for promoting banks, lending institutions, and other businesses where prestige and/or security are considerations
  • Yellow-greens relate well to gardening/floral motifs
  • Olive green is a color that does not rate well unless combined in an interesting, complex way and then only appeals to upscale buyers
  • Seafoam greens are non-invasive, cooling, and calming to consumers


  • Regal, spiritual, elegant, mysterious
  • Complex color preferred by creative and eccentric types
  • Many people view deeper royal purple as regal and majestic especially in the European market or for people of European backgrounds or sensibilities.
  • Grayed undertones give more sophistication and subtlety to the color
  • Watered down purple becomes softer, sentimental, nostalgic, and genteel


  • Timeless, natural, classic, quality
  • Beige, gray, and taupe impart the psychological message of dependability

Use these colors whenever the message is one of durability, permanence, or dependable performance whether it is for interiors, packaging, clothing or other products or services.


  • Lightweight, pristine, pure, bright, innocent
  • Implies purity and simplicity
  • Pure white can cause glare and optical fatigue
  • White is often used in infant products, and products involving hygiene and health


  • Powerful, mysterious, strong, classic,
  • Associated with magical mysteries of the night
  • In food packaging, consumers will pay more for a black “gourmet image.”
  • Too much black  sometimes gives the feeling of something ominous
  • Packaging, signage, and advertising should never be completely black as the message would be somewhat lost to the consumer
  • Black and white is the classic combination of strength, clarity, power, and purity

Fact: Colors may appear to change according to their surroundings.Fact: Outline a color in black or a darker shade will enhance the enclosed color, giving it clarity and richness.

References: Pantone Guide to Communicating With Color by Leatrice Eiseman, Grafix Press, Ltd. Distributed by North Light Books. Design Principles and Problems by Paul Zelanski & Mary Pat Fisher. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc. NY. University of Connecticut. Color Voodoo #1: A guide to Color Symbolism by Jill Morton. Electronic books by Color Voodoo. It’s a Colorful, Colorful World by Jacci Howard Bear, Desktop Publishing. Food Business, Color Strategy, June 2001.

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