Selling With Color: What Your Color Choices Really Say about You

Posted on October 5, 2009

Thousands of hours have been put into researching the effects of color on the human brain. It has been discovered that color has subconscious connotations and provokes emotional responses. This makes it critical to match the colors you choose for your business with the appropriate subconscious message you want to send to your customers.

Red is a dominant color, full of excitement and, in some cases, a little danger. It’s associated with Stop signs, emergency equipment, and sports cars. It can be hot, aggressive, or passionate.

  • Bright Red: exciting, powerful, hot, sexy
  • Burgundy: rich, expensive, mature, delicious, elegant
  • Brick Red: earthy, warm, rustic
  • Terra Cotta: wholesome, warm, rustic, welcoming
  • Fuchsia: bright, sensual, exciting
  • Bright Pink: happy, spirited, youthful, trendy, wild
  • Light Pink: romantic, soft, feminine, babies, delicate
  • Dusty Pink: subtle, cozy, dusky
  • Mauve: subdued, sentimental, quiet

Violet is a deeper relative of Red, with subtle similarities with Blue. It has been used by royalty, religions, and political movements for its threads of authority and dependability. It is mysterious, elegant, and thoughtful.

  • Red Purple: creative, unique, sensual, flamboyant
  • Blue Purple: spiritual, futuristic, mystical
  • Deep Plum: expensive, regal, powerful, elegant
  • Lavender: delicate, nostalgic, floral, sweet
  • Orchid: exotic, tropical, fragrant

Blue is cool, both in temperature and temperament. It is constant as the tides and as dependable as the sun rising in the sky every morning. Blue has been a favorite shade of mortgage companies and banks for its dependable and trustworthy associations.

  • Navy: conservative, traditional, authority, professional, nautical, serene
  • Sky Blue: calming, happy, faithful
  • Light Blue: peaceful, water, clean
  • Teal: unique, classy, pleasing, rich
  • Turquoise: tropical, ocean, exotic
  • Aqua: cool, fresh, liquid, healing

Green is the color of life and growing things. It brings to mind all the vivaciousness associated with springtime and the outdoors, but also evokes thoughts of money, acceleration, and “little green men”.

  • Dark Green: woodsy, trustworthy, traditional, money, restful
  • Olive: classic, military
  • Bright Green: fresh, foliage, Irish, lively, spring
  • Light Green: minty, calm, soothing, healthy
  • Bright Yellow-Green: slimy, sickening, gaudy, tacky, artsy, bold
  • Lime: tart, lively, refreshing, acidic, fruity

Yellow is a cheerful color, full of bright and happy associations. It brings to mind sunshine and light, and is associated with good feelings and good ideas. One of the most popular uses of the color is in the enlightening Yellow Pages.

  • Bright Yellow: sunshine, cheerful, friendly, energy, luminous
  • Light Yellow: happy, soft, sunny, warm, sweet
  • Golden Yellow: harvest, rich, comforting, buttery
  • Greenish Yellow: lemony, tart, fruity, acidic

Orange is the hottest color, closer to the fire of Red than Yellow, but still friendly enough to be used in toy packaging. It has autumn associations, but is also zesty and full of life.

  • Bright Orange: whimsical, childlike, happy, glowing, harvest, juicy, tangy, energizing, friendly, loud, fun
  • Peach: nurturing, soft, delicious, sweet, inviting, fuzzy

Brown may not seem like a dominant color at first, but its dependable and secure connotations have helped make UPS a household brand in America. Brown is earthy, warm, and rich.

  • Earth Brown: wholesome, woodsy, durable, secure, rustic, warm, rooted
  • Chocolate: rich, delicious
  • Beige: classic, neutral, soft, warm, sandy
  • Cream: smooth, soft, delicious, classic, warm, neutral
  • Taupe: practical, timeless, quality, basic, neutral

Black is the most powerful and classic of all the colors. It denotes expensive things, mystery and magic, prestige, elegance, and sobriety. It is a heavy color, and adds strength, boldness, and invulnerability to what it represents.

  • Charcoal Gray: professional, sophisticated, solid, mature, enduring, expensive
  • Neutral Gray: cool, corporate, practical, quality, timeless, quiet, ghostly

White is pure color, evoking innocence, cleanliness, and even sterility. It can also feel airy, bright, and lightweight.

Silver is a technical and futuristic color, but also shares the expensive and valuable associations with Gold.

Gold is warm where silver is cool, but offers prestige, radiance, and opulence as well. It is associated with money and wealth more readily than Silver.

Choose your colors wisely.

– Tony Darrick Baker


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