Marketing and The Use of Color

Everyone loves to add a bit of color to their life, whether in their homes, office space, or their clothing choices. Everywhere we go we react to the colors we see in one way or another. It only makes sense that we look at color as an important marketing tool as well. Small business owners often overlook color, but it can make a big impact with their customers.

The use of color on your website, marketing materials, and even packaging can invoke emotion and influence your customer’s decision to buy products from you.

So how can you make sure you’re making the right statements in the best way? We’ll go over the psychology of colors, and how you can integrate them into your online business so in no time you’ll be making a splash with your customers!

The Importance of Color

So why is color so important? After all, don’t you just choose blue to be calming and red to be exciting? Not quite, color is just a little more than just choosing a color and splashing it on your online storefront. Understanding how to create and use your color scheme is more important than you may realize.

Color can be a way that your customers see you and see the products you are trying to sell. You wouldn’t use hot pink on a website selling men’s suits or light green to get people excited about a hot new kids toy, so why wouldn’t you take the time to use a color scheme fitting of what you actually sell?

Color and Emotions

Let’s take a minute to go over some common color meanings so you can get an idea of the sort of colors you should be using:

  • Red creates an energetic atmosphere, and is most often used by fast food chains like McDonalds or Wendy’s. It can also symbolize love or passion. This is also a color to create a sense of urgency, for example when you’re in your favorite store and see a red sign, you likely automatically associate it with a sale.
  • Both orange and yellow exude excitement, cheerfulness, and optimism. Companies like Subway, Ikea and Sprint use yellow and orange in combination with other colors though, since looking at these for too long on their own can sometimes cause a bit of anxiety.
  • Purple can convey different things, but most people see purple as a color associated with the finer things in life. Cadbury chocolates use purple this way to show customers in the grocery store that they are the superior brand, same with cosmetics and hair care brands. Using purple can also show creativity at work, and a bit of playfulness. Using this color against grey and white can create a sophisticated storefront.
  • Blue is dependable and trustworthy, used by technology and financial companies, or anyone who markets to families. Ford uses blue, as does Wal-Mart and Dell computers, since it is calming and can be easily matched with accent colors to create a pleasing color scheme on websites.
  • Green is the color for health and nature. Starbucks most notably uses green to create an atmosphere of tranquility in their stores, and Whole Foods has a green logo and store color to represent their mission of a healthful life and dedication to environmental issues. 
  • Using grey, white, or black are neutral colors, and can be combined with any of the colors above to create a storefront that helps sell your products better. Be wary of combining too many colors, it can become too confusing for some, and create a headache for you when marketing yourself.

Psychology of Colors

Knowing the meanings of colors is just one step in utilizing color in your marketing. Step two is grasping the graphic layout of your site and other marketing materials that incorporates the colors you want to use. The psychology of colors tells us that using contrasting colors will lead a customer to leave a store due to eye-strain, but using complementary colors can lead a customer’s eye to what we want them to see. When we want to make a real statement, using a bold color will do.

Remember when we talked about those red sale signs? That’s what we’re talking about, and that’s an example of how color can be used as a marketing tool. As you work through your marketing materials, keep in mind color meanings and how you can integrate that knowledge into your business.

Incorporate Color Into Your Business

Color and emotion go hand in hand, and a lot of customers will buy a product based on visual appeal. This is why big companies make popular products in lots of different colors, like the famous Kitchenaid mixer. Now think about your customers, and think about who they are. When they are looking at your products, what are they hoping this product will do for them? Also, think about how you hope they see your store. Even if your store is on Amazon, or Ebay, or you sell through social media, you can still incorporate color into your marketing images or even mailing supplies.

Using different mailers than the usual brown envelopes can make quite a statement to your customers, and can make them even more excited about their purchase from you.

Take a look at other shops that sell items that are similar to yours, what sort of colors do they use? How does their color scheme make you feel? Come up with several color schemes for your own merchandising, and see how they look on different computer monitors, or even ask friends or colleagues to give you their opinion on how the colors make them feel.


To understand color psychology you don’t need a Ph.D., just the understanding of your own products and customers. As you go through your day, find examples of color usage in marketing and note how it made you feel about the store or product you were looking at.

Using color for your own marketing needs is something new business owners often neglect, and finding a way to add color into your business can make your competition green with envy as you rack up the sales.

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