Guest Blog by Zoey Kasdan

Colors may seem like a simple design choice, but they actually have a deeper effect on us. When we browse websites, look at marketing, or stop and glance at an ad, the colors they choose aren’t accidents. The concept of color psychology isn’t new, but it is a controversial subject among some fields.


While simple colors won’t immediately cause complex emotions to arise in your users, they do have an effect on how your message is perceived. Today I’ll show you how you can target specific colors in your advertising to better your results.


The Dos and Don’ts of Color Psychology

While some swear by color psychology, the actual evidence shown by studies is that we each bring a unique preference to color based on our lives and our experiences. This means that blue won’t immediately affect you the same way it would affect myself or anyone else.


This results in a series of guidelines that can certainly help influence your users and boost your performance on today’s free blog sites, but don’t expect it to be a miracle cure. You should combine these practices with other successful strategies for the best results.


Let’s take a look at some of the dos and don’ts of color in advertising:


1. Do: Use Colors to Portray Your Brand

While we can’t explicitly assign feelings to colors, we do know, based on research, that 90% of snap judgements are made based entirely on color. There’s also a factory known as “perceived appropriateness” that users employ to decide if a color is relevant to the product. It helps users remember your brand’s story better by associating colors with it.


The human brain associates colors with recognition, and this can be used to create a recognizable brand for yourself. When you’re designing your advertisements, for example, try to use colors vastly different from your competition to make yourself more recognizable.


2. Don’t: Combine Clashing Colors

Combining colors that are too close on the spectrum can make for painful advertisements. For example, using a bright green background with yellow text is simply too bright and visually loud for the human eye. It comes across as harsh and difficult to read.


In addition, don’t use light colors on a white background. Your ad design should focus on contrasting and complementary colors that are different enough to be easily read and separated. In addition, stay far away from neon or rainbow colors as these are simply way too complicated to work well.


3. Do: Use Colors Known to Have Positive Effects On Men and Women

A study done by Joe Hallock called “Colour Assignment” showed that both men and women have some pretty specific preferences when it comes to color. While this is still affected by personal preference, it’s worth noting these findings:


  • Both men and women like the color blue.
  • Men prefer black, green, and blue.
  • Women prefer blue, purple, and green.
  • Conversely, men and women don’t like brown.
  • Men prefer bold colors while women like softer ones.


While you shouldn’t strictly adhere to these findings, it does offer a basis for how you can present your ads.


Final Thoughts

Color plays a substantial role in how we perceive brands and advertising. While it does change from person-to-person having a basic understanding of color psychology allows us to make educated decisions in the colors we use in our ads.


What colors do you prefer to use for your branding and advertising? Let us know in the comments!


Zoey Kasdan is a seasoned web designer with a passion for color psychology and the user experience. You can find her online: @kasdan_zoey