Color Psychology: How to Use it to Your Advantage

Small business owners often lack knowledge in the area of color psychology. Not only do they fail to employ the benefits it can provide in their marketing effort, but they often don’t even know color affects their audience at all. So to bring you up to speed on this important aspect of design for your marketing pieces, I will share some of the hidden secrets of color and how you can benefit from implementing color psychology in your marketing materials.

The first mistake most small business owners make is designing their own marketing pieces. Their websites, logos, ads and stationary all reflect their own color preferences with no regard to their audiences’ perceived preference or their cultural background.

While you may have a penchant for one color your target audience may be repelled by it. Yes, colors have characteristics that when used properly will enhance your message and even help express it in a subtle but very real and effective manner.

When you hire a professional who has been trained in design, you are hiring someone who has had the proper training in this area. They know how to employ color to attract your audience and convey the message you intend. Without this knowledge you can do more damage than good. So, what are some of the basic colors and when and how should they be used? Let’s look at just a few of the more commonly used colors.

Black is a color that expresses power, sophistication, prestige, security, emotion. It is often used by attorneys and other professionals for this very reason. However, overuse of black can be a problem for your reader. While black on white text is easy on the eye, the reverse is not so. It is also seen as a macabre color and is why it takes the forefront in funerals. Keep this in mind when you chose to focus on this color.

This color denotes purity, innocence, cleanliness, efficiency. Use this color as a design element, perhaps by adding white spaces to depict openness and allow of easy understanding of relationships or lack of relationships between your design elements. ‘White space’ is actually a color in design. Use it purposely to maximize its effectiveness.

Traditionally purple has been and is a color that depicts royalty, wisdom, dignity, status, creativity, luxury, and mystery. As far back as biblical times purple has been thought of as a color of wealth. Just a small amount of purple can go a long way to expressing these hidden messages.

Not surprisingly, green is characterized as the color that most adeptly conveys nature, natural energy, life, growth, environment, fertility, wealth, and, of course, go. Businesses that often use green in their marketing and brand include lawn care, environmental organizations, and financial institutions.

Yellow is the color of hope, life, optimism, cheerfulness, energy, happiness, caution and cowardice. The subtle hues and ones of yellow can mean different things to different peoples and cultures. While a bright yellow may be perfect for an uplifting feeling it should never be used as a textual element. Yellow is just too hard on the eye, so use it sparingly. A more golden yellow will indicate wealth and so is often used in relation to money.

Trust, security, responsibility, efficiency, calm, friendly, intelligence describes blue characteristics. This color is the most often used in branding as it is the favorite across all age, gender, and cultural backgrounds. Again, the hue and tint of this color can denote different messages. As an example, dark blue sends a message of security while a light blue leans more heavily towards a feeling of friendliness and calm.

The color of red signifies excitement, energy, urgency, love, passion, anger, violence, aggression, and strength. This powerful color quickly catches the eye of the beholder. That is why the red tie is called the power tie in business circles.
This is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg of color psychology. Employing the right color for your project can only enhance your marketing efforts. Choose wisely and with purpose. Consciously and consistently using color psychology can lead to increased sales and a stronger brand identity.

If you haven’t a clue where to begin, try asking your customers for input on your design before putting it to use. Listen to what they tell you and benefit from their input. They are, after all, your target market and thus their words deserve your attention.

Article by Ginger Marks, owner of and

We Make YOU Look GOOD!


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