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The psychology behind using colors-what actually works?

1 April 2014
Meirav Barsadeh
color swatches

How does the color red make you feel? Is it excitement, or perhaps sophistication?

Using color for purposes of marketing and sales enfolds a combination of psychology and gut feelings. Does using a certain color really affect the customer's mood? Can use of color affect the customer's consuming habits and create a unique branding? Over the years, many attempts have been made in order to classify consumers' response to different color. The simple truth is that color arouses personal experiences and is affected by different factors such as gender, personal background, and cultural differences. It is therefore nearly impossible to universally translate color into specific feelings.


Nevertheless, color plays a major role in branding. Research has revealed a critical mutual relationship between branding and color. In other words, how much does the color match the message or product you wish to market? Choosing colors for a brand, website or newsletter must be based on matching.

On the other hand, each organization wants to choose a color that will make its brand noticeable and unique. Which is more important: the matching or the uniqueness? If the color makes the brand far more recognizable, the solution is distinction.

How does one create a distinction? If all my competitors are using blue, can I use purple and still maintain the context? Can green be substituted with red?

There is no one correct answer. The psychological principle known as the isolation effect relates to people's tendency to simplify their choice between different options by ignoring their common attributes and therefore the more noticeable item has higher chances to be picked. Research distinctly shows that participants were able to recognize and remember an item better when it appeared in contrast to its environment.

If we return to the beginning of this article: a red button will obviously stand out and promote action in a site based on shades of blue. This is true regardless of the colors we tend to ascribe to it.


So what do we offer?

To create a kit based on 3 different colors in the following proportions: emphasis colors-10% base colors-30% background 60% and use 10% (usually your boldest color) in order to guide the customers to perform a specific action. Note: an exaggerated use of emphasizing colors loses the desired effect and creates more "competition" between different areas throughout the page. It is better to decide which action you find most important and emphasize it using the bold color.


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