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The psychology of colour in marketing and branding

Ever wondered what attracts you to an advert/poster The first thing that will draw your attention will be the colour.

According to, “colour has an enormous effect on our attitudes and emotions because when our eyes take in colour they communicate with a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which sends a message to the pituitary gland and sets off an emotion.”

It claimed that colour has a powerful psychological influence on the human brain, mentally, physically, consciously and subconsciously. These responses to colour can be used to the advantage of marketeers to illicit the desired response to their marketing campaigns.

“The affects of colour on our well-being are well documented,” it said. “Red and Green, society and nature have been wired so deeply into our subconscious that no two other colours have such opposing meanings. The most obvious example of this is traffic lights this combination is used worldwide. Sometimes the connection is not so obvious, but red is often used to reject, disagree, remove, close and cancel. On the other hand, green is a positive colour associated with yes, accept, go, add and agree. Words often just clarify the meaning.”

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Colours are also considered to have a temperature. Warm colours often consist of pale green through yellows to deep red, and cool colours from dark purple, blues to dark green.

“Understanding how the mind works is an important integral part of marketing,” maintained “Consequently, it’s extremely important that you consider the colour palette of your brand before printing your corporate brand material whether thats internal newsletters or company letterheads.”

Top colour tips

1) Investigate your industrys colours

When you look at the business cards and websites of different companies youll begin to notice that businesses which operate within the same field of industry utilise similar colour schemes. This is no coincidence; business leaders opt for particular colours because they invoke certain feelings for customers.

For instance, blue is the predominant colour used by social networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, due to its subconscious associations with logic, calm and communication. As Karen Haller, a business colour and branding expert stated, blue relates to the mind, so consumers associate it with logic and communication. Its also serene, like the ocean, and calming to look at .

Consequently, before designing your printed material you should investigate the predominant colour schemes associated with your industry and incorporate these tones within your design.

2) Use primary colours for calls to action

A study by Kissmetrics revealed that the highest converting colours for calls to action are bright primary and secondary colours such as red, yellow, orange and green. Due to the fact that these vibrant colours attract attention, it’s useful to incorporate them within your business card design and website calls to action in order to capture the interest of your key consumers and to encourage them to investigate your brand in greater depth.

3) Be consistent

From your business card printing to your company website, it’s important to promote cohesion and unity with all aspects of your brands overall design. For example, when you’re designing your business cards, you should aim to incorporate colour schemes and design traits that currently exist within your company websites graphic design.

By doing so, you can begin to establish your brands reputation and its subconscious colour associations within the minds of your key consumers. Although this may seem like a minor aspect of your direct mail and digital branding strategies, over time it could earn you the loyalty, recommendations and return custom of a broad consumer base.


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