Color Theory: Bright, Shiny Ways to Market Your Brand

color theory

Have you ever wondered how marketers and web designers choose colors? For some, the answer is as easy as “ooh, pretty!” For those at the cutting edge of marketing and design, however, color choices are a very precise science. The savvy marketer knows that appearance is the single largest factor that determines customer purchasing decisions. According to Kissmetrics, 93% of people consider the visual appearance of a product before they purchase, and 85% purchase a product because they liked its color.

It’s not all about the products, though. When you associate your brand with a particular color, you can expect an 80% increase in brand recognition. Color is used by web designers to draw attention, evoke emotions, build trust – in short, whatever you need to accomplish, there is a color choice to match!

Speaking with Color

Of all the colors, the three primary colors are among the most powerful. Blue is associated with security, which is perhaps why people sometimes refer to police as “boys in blue.” As such, marketers use it to build a sense of trust. Red is an energetic color. Because it creates such a sense of urgency, it’s often used for calls to action, important information or to make something seem dangerous. Yellow is the color of sunshine, so it goes to follow that this color makes people feel happy and optimistic. Here are a few more colors and the meanings they convey:

  • Green is the color of money, so designers use it to promote a sense of wealth. It’s also popular for environmental subjects.
  • Orange is an aggressive color. Use it for warnings, to create a sense of caution or to draw attention to a call to action.
  • Purple is soothing, and it’s often used when a touch of femininity is needed.
  • Black is the color of luxury. You’ll see this color used liberally in the marketing of high-end products.

Every color means something different, and you’ll be surprised to learn that different shades of each color carry slightly different meanings, too. The pure colors – those that aren’t mixed with black, white or any other shade – are generally used when the design needs an energetic feeling. Darker shades – colors mixed with black – help you achieve a moody or mysterious theme, while pale tints are useful when you need a design that is more peaceful.

Putting it all Together

Before you design a webpage, it’s a wise idea to look at similar pages around the web with a critical eye for color. You’ll start to notice a few common themes. Sale prices, free shipping offers and other discounts are almost always marked with red to build a sense of urgency. Green is a popular choice for “add to cart” buttons or other calls to action because it suggests that the buyer is getting a deal. Important details and help buttons are often highlighted in blue because it helps increase believability. It’s also interesting to note that marketplaces like Ebay and Amazon always use blue for sellers and store names.

The beautiful thing about color theory is that it’s not limited to product pages or landing pages. These principles work throughout your entire website, whether it’s the “About Us” page or your blog. Just make sure that everyone on your marketing team – from the designers to the writers – knows why you’ve chosen a particular color. If you hire a blogger, that blogger will need to know that you intend to create a sense of wealth with your green scheme. This allows him or her to find images that match the content, the color scheme and the overall intent of the design.

Color theory isn’t simply a matter of choosing your favorite colors. Instead, it’s a powerful tool that gives you a surprising amount of control over how your audience reacts to your brand. Choose your colors wisely and you’ll certainly stand out from the competition!

Whether it’s colorful word choices or a bright graphic to go with a blog post, Amber K loves to add a little spice to her work.


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