Satyendra Singh, professor of marketing and international business at the University of Winnipeg, conducted a study on the impact that colours have on the marketing of a product. “Findings of the study are that managers can use colours to increase or decrease appetite, enhance mood, calm down customers, and reduce perception of waiting time, among others”.

The Use of Colours in Marketing

Colours are ubiquitous and are a source of information. People make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with people or products. About 62 to 90 percent of the assessment is based on colours alone. So, prudent use of colours can contribute not only to differentiating products from competitors, but also in influencing moods and feelings – positively or negatively – and therefore, can impact ones attitude towards a product. Given that our moods and feelings are unstable, and that colours play a role in forming attitude, it is important that managers understand the importance of colours in marketing. The study performed by Singh, is designed to contribute to this debate.

Colours have the power to manipulate; they have many effects on human psychology and are associated with personal emotions, values and sensations. Brands have been taking advantage of this in order to get more publicity and to connect with their customers. For example, using certain colours helps send the message to your target audience more quickly. Our brain is able to differentiate colours; it can tell if the brand is for kids, about nature/the environment, or if it’s an expensive brand. There is, however, a considerable differentiation between lighter and darker colours, so this is something to keep in mind when picking out colours for your business.

We know that colours are fundamental in logos, but are unable to predict if the combination of colours used will be successful. It is important to play with our imagination and try to think logically. For example, we can’t show love or friendship with the colour black, or sadness with the colour yellow. It is crucial to “match” the colour with the product or service that you want to sell. A good example of this is when people decide on a phone colour; women usually pick white, and men usually pick black. When we were kids, the colour blue meant boy and pink meant girl, as a result we have been matching colours with a different meaning, since the beginning of our lives.

Men are more likely to select darker shades of colours as their favourites such as black, whereas women are more receptive to softer colours such as white or pink. Women are also known to differentiate colours better than men.

The Meaning of Colours

Light red represents joy, sexuality, passion, sensitivity, and love.

Pink signifies romance, love, and friendship. It represents feminine qualities and sweetness.

Dark red is associated with willpower, rage, anger, leadership, courage, longing, malice, and wrath.

Brown suggests stability and denotes masculine qualities.

Reddish-brown is associated with harvest and fall.

Dark orange can mean deceit and distrust.

Red-orange is associated with desire, sexual passion, pleasure, domination, and aggression.

Gold evokes the feeling of prestige. The meaning of gold is illumination, wisdom, and wealth. Gold often symbolizes high quality.

Dull yellow represents caution, decay, sickness, and jealousy.

Light yellow is associated with intellect, freshness, and joy.

Dark green is associated with ambition, greed, and jealousy.

Yellow-green can indicate sickness, cowardice, discord, and jealousy.

Aqua is associated with emotional healing and protection.

Olive green is the traditional colour of peace.

Light blue is associated with health, healing, tranquility, understanding, and softness.

Dark blue represents knowledge, power, integrity, and seriousness.

Light purple evokes romantic and nostalgic feelings.

Dark purple evokes gloom and sad feelings. It can cause frustration.

Black is associated with power, elegance, death, evil, and mystery.

Since colours are very important, and people often associate colours with a company’s brand, it’s advisable to not change these colours. However, sometimes it’s good to change your company’s colours, to provide a rejuvenated or fresher look. Below is an example of Starbucks who has successfully updated their colour pallet.


But remember, some logo’s are just perfect…


About iRISEmedia is a Toronto based digital marketing agency and SEO company, specializing in Social Media and Internet marketing. Our team helps clients increase their reach and profitability by developing and implementing customized and targeted online and Social Media marketing strategies. We service clients in Toronto, Ontario, the GTA and throughout Canada as well as globally.

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