It’s common knowledge nowadays that marketing is heavily influenced by consumer psychology and the manipulation of the public’s perception. In marketing, nothing is left to chance, and everything from the size and placement of text, to a particular shade of blue, is intentional. This article will highlight how marketers use colour and the extent of the psychology behind it.

The Importance of Colour in Branding

The use of colour in branding has the potential to not only capture an audience’s attention but to evoke certain emotions and feelings towards a brand.

There is a lot of debate on whether colours are perceived in a certain way by consumers because of personal preference, experiences, upbringing or cultural differences or if it lies much deeper within the psyche.

On a neurological level, we perceive different colours in different ways. It has been proven that colours cause different reactions in the brain. For example, the colour red is connected to light sensitivity cells in the eyes. So when we see red what we’re actually seeing is electromagnetic radiation at specific wavelengths. Although this is psychological, this neuronal structure that we possess is in fact learned.

Disagreements in the perception of colour are commonly seen in people of different origin, age, gender etc. This is because people have had different experiences depending on these attributes.


Colour and Mood

Colour has the potential to convey emotion to an audience. This is not only used in marketing, but in movies and TV shows as well. For example, a moody scene with a lack of bright colours could be conveyed as scary, or sad. A very bright scene could be viewed as happy or optimistic etc. These are just some of the ways that colour can portray a mood.


Colour and Brand Perception

Colour also has the power to make a consumer perceive a product or brand in a certain way. For example, a lot of designer companies stick to very natural and plain colours such as black and white, as this is perceived to be more luxurious.

Another example is that a few years ago, McDonald’s went through a full-colour rebranding of their restaurants, changing the outsides to a dark green. This is because in the past McDonald’s was branded more towards kids – hence the clown and the happy meals. But McDonald’s decided that they wanted to go for a more mature and chilled out appearance. They wanted to appeal more to consumers who want to actually come and sit in, as well as the fast-paced consumer that they’re used to.

Even though everyone perceives colour differently there is a general consensus of what a colour means. All colours have a stereotypical perception and here are some examples;

Red: love, passion, anger

Green: nature, envy/jealous, calmness