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Most Popular Colors to Use in Marketing & Why They Work

Popular colors in marketing

Posted in Inbound Marketing, and Colors in Marketing. 4 min read

Marketing psychology is a complex area. Consumers can be effected by so many elements within the marketers toolkit.

For example, the shape of a logo can impact consumers on a deep psychological level. In previous posts we explored the psychology of shapes in a logo and gave examples of successful businesses that used those shapes to establish their brand.

Another, much studied and most interesting element in the marketers toolkit is the use of color and how it can effect perception.

This is a controversial element of marketing. Studies have shown that personal preference, experience, upbringing, context and cultural differences an impact the way color effects us.

So, the idea that colors can evoke some primitive emotion on a spiritual level is probably less than accurate. However, even without concrete science, color is still an important factor in your marketing.

Color and Branding

A study titled “The Impact of Color on Marketing” found that, depending on the product, 90% of snap judgements can be based on color alone. Another recent study found that the relationship of color to a brand, hinges on whether or not the the color is a good “fit” with the brand.

Our brains prefer immediately recognizable brand meaning and color can play an important role. The key is to fit the color closely with your product or service.

For example certain colors do align with specific traits, for example red with excitement, or brown with ruggedness. That's why it's important to choose colors that support the personality you want to portray, rather than trying to align with stereotypical color meanings.

That being said, color is an essential tool precisely because it has an impact on how we behave and think. In spite of the fact that color effects us emotionally on an individual basis, in general color directs our focus, can tell us what to do and also effects how we interpret messaging. Let's take a look at some of the popular colors used in marketing and whay they work.

Color Psychology

Red

The color red is powerful. It's an energizing color that can reflect our physical needs for example to show affection, terror, strength or aggression depending on context.

If you're seeking attention fast or looking to make a powerful statement, colors in the red family are a good choice.

Companies that use red: Coke, CNN, Virgin Airlines

Orange

Orange combines the power of red, with the friendlness and fun of yellow. It's a good representation of physical comfort, warmth, food and shelter. Orange is also the color of motivation. It is also associated with affordability.

Companies that use orange: Home Depot, Fanta Soda, and Harley Davidson, HubSpot

Yellow

Yellow represents happiness, joy, and optimism, in fact if you think about it, anything happy is almost always yellow.

It is the easiest color to see and the first color infants respond to. If you're looking to lift someone's spirits, or inspire, use yellow.

Companies the use yellow: Subway, McDonalds, Ikea, Snapchat and Lays

Green

The color green portrays balance, harmony and nature. As a color it incorporates the balance of logic and emotion.

In nature green reflects life, rest and peace. It's also a color of growth and finance. It's a positive color if you're looking to potray health, rest and relieve stress.

Companies that use green: Starbucks, BP, Heiniken and LaCoste

Blue

Blue is know as the color of dependability and trust. It's reliable, soothing and responsible. It's also the most popular color across the world.

Unlike red, blue evokes a more mental reaction that a physical one. It's a color that can bring calmness, stability and trust.

Companies that use blue: American Express, IBM, GAP and HP

Black

Black is the color of sophistication, seriousness, and independence.It's a reserved color and is perfect for high contract and legibility in design. It's a powerful color so use it sparingly in your visuals.

Companies the use black: Nike, Lousi Vuitton, Gilette, Gucci, and Cartier

White

White represents purity, innocence, cleanliness and peace. It also represents new beginnings.

It's perfect for its simplicity. It is often used with black or other colors to represent negative space in a design.

Companies that use white: Adobe (white and red) World Wildlife Fund (black and white) and Apple

Colors can effect how consumers view your product or service. While these colors represent popular choices that work for many businesses, the fact is that each has a range of variations that can convey different meaning in different contexts.

Tying your brand to a color can be tricky. Color has impact and can convey meaning. When developing your marketing strategy, take the time to do some research and look for the best fit for your message.

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