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The Effects of Color on Consumer Behavior

Posted by Lisa Smith on May 11, 2021 7:32:32 PM

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Ah, the subconscious mind - it's a mysterious and amazing tool! It stores, sorts, and retrieves data, and it processes the information we absorb through our senses. In fact, according to Psychology Today, many of the elements needed for our brains to make judgments and decision-making are processed outside of awareness.

The machinery at work in the subconscious mind also plays a big role in influencing our habits and moods – often for reasons we don’t fully understand – and that can be observed in something as simple as how we perceive and react to colors.


Why do certain colors make us feel calm or happy while others invoke anger or anxiety? Why might warm colors stimulate a more energetic response, while cooler colors can lead to feelings of relaxation?

Creative Design has a huge impact on us - whether we like it or not.


Why do certain colors make us feel calm or happy, while others invoke anger or anxiety? Why might warm colors stimulate a more energetic response, while cooler colors can lead to feelings of relaxation?


This chart gives a broad overview of the feelings and emotions commonly evoked by basic color groups:




So, how does color affect human behavior?


And how can marketers use this information to their advantage?


Studies into consumers' responses to various products have shown that:


  • 93% rely on visual appearance when considering new products.
  • 85% say color alone is a primary reason for purchasing a product.
  • 90% say their impulse buys are based on color alone.

Additionally, researchers at the University of Loyola found that color increases brand recognition by up to 80%.

Which means...?

Understanding the psychology of color and how it affects consumer behavior can help you communicate a feeling to your audience through color.

You can help create feelings that in turn have a big impact on purchasing decisions.


When you think of creative design for your brand, have you expanded those thoughts into what might be the best colors for printed and/or digital graphics? How about selecting the best colors for advertising signs? Have you thought about what might be the best logo color combinations?

Separately, these might seem like small issues, but it all rolls up to presenting a cohesive, effective brand, so choosing the right colors and color combinations matters more than you might think!

Consider these examples (based on years of extensive data!):

  • Yellow: Grabs a window shopper's attention, so it's often used in store displays. It also helps absorb marketing messages, and makes messaging seem more intelligent.
  • Green: Is used in stores to relax the consumer, allowing them to feel at ease.
  • Orange: Creates a subconscious call-to-action: BUY, BUY, BUY! It's also associated with affordability.
  • Red: When used in pricing is perceived as an indicator of greater savings - more than any other color. The use of the color red in advertising has been shown to drive consumers to make immediate and rash decisions.
  • Blue: Stores and websites that incorporate blue into their color schemes are rated as less crowded, more relaxing, and more trustworthy than competitors.

Color And Consumer Behavior

Using vibrant images, with strategically selected colors, can create significant impact on a consumer’s purchasing decisions, so consider carefully the usage of color on everything from signage to packaging to labels… and don’t neglect the digital elements of your brand.

How can you find out which colors work best for your own brand?

Testing color with your customers is one of the best ways to find success in marketing design. In one consumer study, HubSpot found that red in advertising call-to-action (CTA) buttons outperformed green CTA buttons by 21%. Then again, some experts pointed to the same study and said the colors behind the CTAs (in background copy and graphics) may have played a role.

That’s where things can get hazy – there’s no universal truth on how one color will work for all brands; Many colors can create a variety of moods when you combine them in different ways.

To truly dig in, work with digital marketing experts adept in testing and analyzing data to see what works best for you and your brand.

A colorful brand key takeaway?

Color can influence our response to and relationship with a brand, which in turn can lead to better long-term brand loyalty. Inspire your customers and help them remember your company with strategic, appropriately-colored branding.

Take some inspiration from iconic companies who have mastered the art of brand evolution...

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Topics: inbound marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, Brand, social media