15 Dec 2017

It’s no surprise that businesses take a great interest in things that increase sales, but would you have guessed that colour plays a significant role here? Thanks to studies like Satyendra Singh’s  Impact of Colour on Marketing, we have learned a lot about how colours affect us as consumers and why that’s important for marketing.

For example, have you ever noticed what colours fast food chains use in their marketing? Take a second and compare these brands: McDonalds, Wendys, KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Taco Bell, Dairy Queen, Popeyes and the list goes on. When you compare each of their logos you’ll quickly notice that each one of these corporations use the colour red and a little bit of yellow and orange. Studies suggest that reds, yellows, and oranges make us feel excited, stimulated, and some argue, hungrier.

Though it’s hard to gauge how colours have a direct effect on our physiology, colours definitely convey a depth of meaning and play an immense role in marketing. Here’s a guide to some colour  associations important to recognize when building your brand.


When our natural environment is flourishing, the colour we hope to see a lot of is green. Many environmental campaigns and health campaigns use the colour green to remind us of nature and good health. In some cases, green can remind us of the colour of currency (this may be more prominent in the marketing of our American neighbours). A few brands that use the colour green include Starbucks, Subway, Animal Planet. Tropicana Juice, Whole Foods, and Tic Tac.


This tone is usually used in branding as a neutral colour between bolder ones. On it’s own, grey can convey elegance, poise, and practicality. Swarovski and Lexus are two brands that adopt grey as their primary brand colour.


Orange is oftentimes is used in signs of caution, but for branding, orange tends to share a playful, upbeat, and friendly feeling. Examples of brands the use orange include Soundcloud, Fanta, Amazon, and Nickelodeon.


Red as mentioned earlier gives a sense of excitement and urgency. Many fast food chains like McDonalds and Wendy’s use this colour in their logos.


Black is often associated with intellect and fortitude. Though at times it can seem aggressive and dark, many brands use a black and white style to stress a serious, yet understated tone. Brands like the World Wildlife Federation, Nike, and Apple are some examples of brands that incorporated a predominately black and white logo.


Blue conveys two very distinct attitudes. On one hand, the colour exudes calm and peace, quite possibly based on the calm attributed to water. Blue also shows stability, strength, reliability, and seriousness. Most banks for example incorporate a lot of blue to show that they are reliable and trustworthy. Twitter, Facebook, Skype and Pampers also use blue, but combine trustworthiness with calm and friendly invitation. For these last few brands, the fonts play a large large part in taking an edge off the seriousness usually conveyed by blue tones.   


Yellow is most often seen on streets telling drivers yield, take caution, or take note of limitations on the road. In marketing, yellow commonly conveys being bright, alert, happy, and altogether demands a lot of attention. Nikon, Snapchat, and Amazon all famously incorporate yellow into their branding.


Purple is traditionally a colour attached to royalty, so purple reminds people of luxury. Many chocolatiers like Purdy’s and Cadbury use purple to convey richness and elegance. 

Colours will always be a prominent aspect of any marketing campaign. Being strategic about colours can make a world of difference in how well your brand stands out.