Since the beginning of time, colour has influenced the human race. But the meaning of colour and its impact differs from country to country and from culture to culture. For example:

  • Red in China is a colour for joyous and festive occasions, whereas in Japan it is used to signify anger and danger;
  • Blue for the Cherokee Indian signifies defeat, but for the Egyptian, it signifies virtue and truth, while yellow signifies happiness and prosperity;
  • In the Japanese theatre, blue is the colour for villains;
  • White is the colour of death in Chinese culture, but purple represents death in Brazil;
  • Yellow is sacred to the Chinese, but signified sadness in Greece and jealousy in France;
  • In North America, green is typically associated with jealousy;
  • People from tropical countries respond most favorably to warm colours, people from northern climates prefer cooler colours


Marketing with Colour
Although there are no hard and fast rules about colours in marketing, there are some things that seem to work well, time and time again.

Grey and blue corporate colours would be completely out of place for a fashion boutique. But these colours would be spot on for a financial services company, which must project permanence and responsibility.

Using colours in marketing is a powerful way to set emotion, which is the real driving force behind decision-making.

The simple fact is this:
“Colour sells, but the right colour sells better”

When choosing colours for your design, packaging or message, remember the rules for mixing colours. The human eye cannot focus on red and blue at the same time. You should never ever use blue type on a red background (or even worse, is red type on a blue background). If you do so, you will lose your audience since mixing colours like this causes extreme eye fatigue.

Colour can have great effect on whether or not your customer likes your product. In fact, some marketers use experts to help forecast which colours consumers will like two or three years down the road.

Researchers have found differences among social classes in colour preference:

  • Hot, bright colours usually appeal to lower-end markets;
  • Deep, rich colours have historically appealed to higher-end markets.

The good news is that most colours go well together with members of the same “family”:

  • Warm colours of type, such as red, brown, orange and yellow look better together in combination warm coloured backgrounds;
  • Cool coloured type like blue, green, gray and white with cool coloured backgrounds;
  • Using colour families generally makes for a more appealing presentation, especially for large amounts of information.

Colour is often one of the first things that consumers notice about something and, therefore, a dominant factor in determining a customer’s first impression about a product or service. In his book, The Power of Color (Avery Penguin Putnam, January 1991, ASIN: 0895294303), author Dr. Morton Walker writes:
“Marketing psychologists advise that a lasting color impression is made within ninety seconds and accounts for sixty percent of the acceptance or rejection of an object, place, individual or circumstance. Because color impressions are both quickly made and long-held, decisions regarding color can be highly important to success”.


Colour Influences
Using colour influences the mood and emotion of your customers. The colours for type, illustrations and backgrounds influence the way they are perceived. Be careful with colours – using too many lessens the impact of each colour and confuses your audience.

A Basic Guide
The following Table provides a basic guide to using colour in your presentations. You should be aware of the positive and negative connotations of colours and the emotional response certain colours may evoke.

Email me if you would like to receive the free publication: Colours and their effect on Consumers

Martin Pollins
Latest posts by Martin Pollins (see all)

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: