What Is Colour Psychology and How Can I Use It in My Online Business

Have you ever put on a brightly coloured shirt that instantly boosted your mood? Ever dyed your hair darker or lighter to reflect a change in your personality? Or have you walked into a room and immediately felt a calm or anxious energy based on the color scheme? If so, then you’ve already experienced the power of colour psychology.

Colour psychology is the study of how colours affect our moods, behaviors and emotions. As an online business owner, you can use colour psychology to your advantage by choosing colours for your website and branding that will appeal to your target market and help you achieve your business goals. Powerful stuff, right?

Read on to discover how you can use colour psychology in your online business to compel (or repel!) customers.

What Is Colour Psychology?

Like I mentioned, colour psychology is the study of colour and its impact on human behavior. Researchers have found that colour can affect our moods, emotions, and even our physical state. This happens because colour is a type of nonverbal communication. And it can influence the way we think and feel without us even realizing it. Pretty amazing!

Because of its influence, colour psychology has been used in fields like marketing, branding and design. And it makes sense – the goal is to target specific consumers and create desired reactions. So by choosing the right colours, businesses can encourage people to buy their products or services. And I believe this is one very important area to focus on when you consider what it takes to create a successful website.

How Does Colour Influence Buying Decisions?

Colour is one of the first things people notice when they see a product or brand. In fact, consumers are able to recognize a brand by its colours before they even see the name! Wouldn’t you like your target market to instantly think of your business when they see a certain colour? I know I would!

Colour can also affect a person’s emotions and, in turn, their behavior. For example, the colour red has been shown to increase appetite and stimulate cravings. So it makes sense that many restaurants use red in their branding and decor.

And colour can influence the way people perceive a brand, as well as their purchasing decisions. For example, blue is often associated with feelings of trustworthiness and dependability. So if you want your online business to be seen as reliable, using this colour in your branding is a great idea.

Different Colours and What They Represent in Marketing

The study of colour and its effect on our emotions dates back to the early 1800’s. While it’s a relatively new field, there are already some well-established colour associations that businesses can use to their advantage.

Here’s a list of the core colors and what they typically represent:

  • Red: excitement, energy, passion, love
  • Orange: happiness, creativity, success
  • Yellow: optimism, joy, sunshine
  • Green: nature, growth, new beginnings
  • Blue: trustworthiness, dependability, wisdom
  • Purple: royalty, luxury, mystery

And I bet when you look at each of those individual colours, brands that you know and love come to mind. That’s because colour association is a powerful tool that companies use to create an emotional connection with their consumers.

Of course, you don’t need to limit yourself to just one colour. Using a combination of colours can be even more effective in marketing and branding (more on that in a bit).

I should also note that these colours aren’t set in stone — they can mean different things to different people. And you can certainly disrupt colour norms in your branding to make a unique statement. But it’s a good idea to start with some of the common colour associations when you’re first creating your brand identity.

Which Colours Are Best for Certain Businesses or Markets?

Now let’s take some of those same colours from above and see how businesses in different industries have used them.

Because of its vibrant energy, red is often used in industries like:

  • Food and beverage (think McDonald’s, KFC, Coca-Cola)
  • Retail (like Target)
  • Entertainment (Netflix, YouTube, Marvel, Lego)

Yellow is warm and playful, making it perfect for brands in:

  • Childcare (Crayola, Sesame Street, Lego again)
  • Technology (Snapchat, Best Buy, Nikon)
  • Retail (Forever 21, Ikea)

Green triggers our connection to nature, sustainability and fiscal responsibility, so it’s often used in:

  • Environmentalism (Greenpeace, National Geographic)
  • Food and beverage (Whole Foods, Chobani, Starbucks)
  • Finance (Quickbooks)
  • Health and wellness (Herbalife, Nature’s Bounty)

Blue is the colour of trust, so it’s common in:

  • Banking (American Express, ANZ)
  • Healthcare (Blue Cross Blue Shield, WebMD)

These are just a few examples to get you thinking about how colour can be used in your online business.

But like I mentioned, many brands break the mold and use colours that you wouldn’t expect, or they use a combination of colours in their branding. So while colour association is important, it’s not the only thing you need to consider when developing your brand identity.

Plus, colours come in countless different tints and hues that fall under the primary and secondary colour categories. And that creates endless possibilities for how you can use colour in your online business.

As you can see, colour psychology is a complex and fascinating field (and so much fun to play with!). And it creates a lot of opportunity for online businesses to establish an emotional connection with consumers.

How Your Online Brand Can Benefit From Colour Psychology

As an online business owner, colour is one of the first things you should consider when creating your brand. The colours you use on your website, social media, and marketing materials will make a lasting impression on your potential customers.

But in order to really nail it, you have to know your audience:

  • What colours do they respond to?
  • How do they want to feel when they interact with your brand?
  • What kind of associations do you want them to make with your business?

Once you have a good handle on that, you can start playing around with colour schemes and combinations.

Don’t just pick colours you like…instead, put your dream customer at the center of your decision making process.

Tips for Using Colour Psychology to Achieve Your Business Goals

When you’re choosing colours for your own online business, it’s important to consider the feelings and emotions that you want your target market to associate with your brand.

If you’re not sure how to get started, here are a few tips I like to use when working with my website design clients:

  • Study other successful brands in your niche and see what colours they’re using. What do you like or not like?
  • Keep it simple. Don’t try to use too many colours at once — it will just be overwhelming. Stick to 1-3 colours that work well together.
  • Choose colours that reflect your brand’s personality. Do you want to be seen as playful and fun? Elegant and sophisticated? Bold and edgy?
  • Think about how you want your target market to feel when they interact with your brand (e.g. happy, inspired, motivated, etc.) and look for colour schemes that will create those feelings.
  • Make sure your colour scheme is consistent across all platforms. This will help people easily recognize and remember your brand.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment! Take some time picking different colour combinations and see how they make you feel. You might be surprised at what you end up liking after you sleep on it for a day or two.

Colour psychology can have a massive influence on the overall tone of your website, so it’s important to get it right!

Ready to design a website that you’re truly proud of? I love helping entrepreneurs create beautiful and effective online brands. Learn more about my website design services here and let’s create an online space and brand that really pops off the screen!

Hi, I’m Jena

I’m a website designer & digital strategist who helps small business owners grow their business online.

I absolutely love creating beautiful websites incorporating digital marketing strategy. I am based in Bunbury, Western Australia & work with clients all around the globe.  

Want some additional free resources to help you grow your business? Click the link below to explore: 

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