A guide to colour psychology

Whether you’re creating a company logo or putting together marketing materials, the colours used are an essential factor to consider. The psychology of colour can be a tricky subject but it is one that everyone in the creative industry must learn. Colours can instil a whole range of different emotions in someone – from making them hungry to making them happy. We’ve put together a handy guide to colour psychology, covering what affect colours can have on us all and how this can benefit you in the graphic or web design world.

The importance of colour psychology

Studies have shown that over 80% of consumers cite colour as the primary reason they purchased a particular product. That means that one extremely large part of the market is paying attention to the colour of your logo, marketing materials, the product itself and any other branding. Not only that, but colours can instil certain emotions in potential consumers, on a subconscious level. Pick the wrong colour for a product or business branding and you could be instilling all types of negative emotions. Pick the perfect colour, however, and you’ll ensure that consumers remember the product or brand for all of the right reasons. Understanding colour psychology in graphic design can help you to advise your customers of the right shades and tones for their logos and branding.



What do these primary colours say?

Those in creative industries will be able to advise the businesses they work with which colours are going to work best for them. To help and support your choice of colours we have done some serious digging to rationalise which primary colours instil emotions and how to use them to your advantage.


Red – Quite possibly one of the most recognised colours when it comes to branding. Just look at Coca Cola and McDonald’s! Red is an extremely intense colour that can summon all types of powerful emotions. Think passion, action, energy and excitement. It can even increase the heartrate or make people hungry. Red is a popular colour for those who want to excite their customer and even encourage them to impulse buy. Other warm colours like red include oranges and pinks.



Blue – The second most popular colour when it comes to branding is blue. Now we’re looking at companies such as Twitter, Facebook and American Express. There is something extremely calming about the colour blue and this can create trust and security for a brand. Perhaps that is why so many social media and finance companies use this colour… If you want a cooling colour that says, “We’re trustworthy” then blue could well be the best choice. Calming colours similar to blue include purple and green.


Yellow – Attention grabbing and the ultimate representation of youthfulness, yellow is a colour guaranteed to bring cheer. The colour yellow can make you feel all warm inside, which has got to be a bonus for any business branding. Companies who want to grab the attention of window shoppers or passers-by will steer towards yellow; think Shell garages and Ikea.


Understanding the psychology behind these primary colours will help you on your way to understanding the whole rainbow world of business branding. Colour psychology in web design and graphic design is an important area to brush up on, if you want to impress your clients. Make sure you’ve got these first few colours down pat and the rest should be a breeze.

  • Emma Carney Posted 3 years ago

    I am really into the ways that colour can affect us, it can be so powerful can't it?! I will certainly be researching this a lot more! Thanks! x