Marketing Your Business Through Colour

9 August, 2018

7 mins read

Ink in water for colour marketing

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Why should I care about colour?

According to research published in technology magazine Fast Company, 84.7% of consumers cite colour as the primary reason they chose to buy a particular product. As colour is shown to improve comprehension and reading, it’s no surprise colour advertisements are read up to 42% more often than those in black and white.

“But Apple uses monochrome and look how successful they are!” You say. It’s true they use it to great effect, but prior to this sleek, neutral logo, their apple included all colours of the rainbow. You may not want to use the whole colour spectrum, but a few bright and eye-catching colours used throughout can have a significant impact. Consistency is also essential for repeat business and brand recognition, as customers can subconsciously associate you with a particular set of colours. You only need glimpse McDonald’s iconic golden arches before you start craving a burger. 

Our brains on colour

Similarly, if you understand the meanings and emotions our brains associate with a certain palette, you can use this to gain the upper hand on your competitors. It’s important to remember that those meanings can change depending on the industry. For example, the use of blue in pharmaceuticals is associated with cleanliness and well-being, but in the fast food industry, it is most often used to promote sugary sweetness.

In order to make choosing your brand colours easier, we’ve done the research for you! See below for each colour and how it is generally used in advertising. 


red ink in water


    • Energy
    • Passion
    • Danger
  • Warmth


    • Stimulates appetite
    • Creates a sense of urgency
    • Used to entice impulse shoppers
  • Reduces analytical thinking


    • A symbol of good luck in China
    • Associated with romance
    • Used in warning signs
  • Has strong political associations


    • KFC
    • Netflix
    • Coca Cola
  • Target


yellow ink in water (1)Emotional

    • Excitement
    • Adventurous
    • Caution
  • Cheerful


    • Indicates a good value deal
    • Drives customers to take action
    • Inspires activity & energy
  • Can be considered harsh


    • Used in warning symbols
    • Associated with vitamin C
    • Valued in eastern religions
  • Widely used for food colouring


    • Firefox
    • Amazon
    • Jetstar
  • Gatorade


yellow ink in waterEmotional

    • Happiness
    • Wisdom
    • Creativity
  • Clarity


    • Can cause eye strain
    • Stimulates mental processes
    • Represents new ideas
  • Aids recollection


    • Associated with sporting success
    • Used for post-it notes
    • Large amounts cause irritability
  • Makes babies cry


    • Caterpillar
    • Shell
    • IKEA
  • Subway  


Green ink in water


    • Growth
    • Relaxation
    • Generosity
  • Acceptance


    • Alleviates anxiety
    • Sparks creative thought
    • Denotes financial success
  • Improves productivity


    • Communicates safety
    • Ancient symbol of fertility
    • Linked to environmentalism
  • Associated with greed or envy


    • Starbucks
    • BP
    • Xbox
  • Spotify


blue ink in water


    • Calmness
    • Reliability
    • Order
  • Precision


    • Lowers blood pressure
    • Colour preferred most by men
    • Encourages rational thinking
  • Reduces appetite


    • Ubiquitous in corporate spheres
    • Represents conservatism
    • Colour of mourning in Central Asia
  • Associated with law enforcement


    • Pepsi
    • Facebook
    • Samsung
  • American Express


Purple ink


    • Spirituality
    • Mystery
    • Ambition
  • Selflessness


    • Used to soothe or calm
    • Denotes wealth & success
    • Represents a premium service
  • Popular with younger demographics


    • Colour of western royalty
    • Symbolic of piety & faith
    • Widely used by cosmetics brands
  • Military symbol of bravery


    • Hallmark
    • Yahoo!
    • Cadbury
  • Dodo


pink ink in waterEmotional

    • Love
    • Compassion
    • Sweetness
  • Innocence


    • Used to target female consumers
    • Ideal for marketing sweet foods
    • Reduces aggression & energy
  • Favoured by millennials


    • Was once a masculine colour
    • Associated with drunkenness
    • Symbolises joy in Catholicism
  • Colour of breast cancer awareness


    • Donut King
    • Wendy’s
    • Barbie
  • LG

Combining colours, or mixing neutral and bold palettes, can showcase specific personality traits for your business. It’s crucial to do your research when creating any kind of branding, advertising or content marketing for your business. Think about these colour meanings, your industry, any cultural associations and analyse your competition.

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