The Meaning Behind Color - What Choice Evokes the Best Response

Allison Howen
by Allison Howen 19 Jan, 2012

Color is one of the most fascinating things in the world. It attracts attention, evokes emotion and can trigger the memory.

Something so powerful should not be taken lightly, especially when creating visual elements to a website, in an advertisement or for a brand. Colors can increase brand recognition, increase participation and provide brands with a competitive edge.

Of course everyone has a favorite color, but marketers should be aware of the meanings behind colors, as well as what colors yield the best response from consumers.

Red - This color draws attention, and is often the color that eyes are drawn to first. It is also known to increase the heart rate and create a sense of urgency, and is often used for clearance sales. Its complimentary color is green, however, adding just a spot of red can be useful in some cases, because it can accent other colors or draw attention to a specific spot of an advertisement or webpage. Big brands that are associated with the color red include Target and Coca-Cola.

Orange - This is an ambitious color. It is associated with fun and energetic times or citrus fruit. It is recommended for kid's websites or call to action buttons, such as subscribe, buy or sell. The complimentary color to orange is blue. Brands associated with this color include Nickelodeon and the Home Depot.

Yellow - The color of the sun is associated with laughter and happiness. It is said to make people feel optimistic and youthful. In its brightest form, this color is often used to grab consumers' attention. Its complimentary color is purple. Many brands are associated with this color, including Best Buy, McDonalds and Sprint.

Green - Who doesn't love the color of money? This color is associated with growth, nature, wealth and can also be calming, depending on its shade. Its complimentary color is red. Brands that are associated with this color include Starbucks and Android.

Blue - This is probably the most popular color in the world, perhaps because it is the color of the sky and the sea. It is calming, and can be associated with dependability and security. It is used by many brands, especially banks. Its complimentary color is orange. Brand's associated with blue include Facebook, Chase and, of course, Website Magazine.

Purple - This color is associated with royalty, and therefore represents sophistication and prosperity. It is often used with anti-aging and beauty products, and can be used to soothe or calm consumers. Its complimentary color is yellow. Brands associated with this color include Taco Bell and Yahoo.

Pink - This feminine color is best associated with romance. However, depending on the shade it can also be seen as sentimental or youthful. Many times this color targets women and young girls. This color is associated with Victoria Secret's Pink line and Barbie.

Black - This is a powerful color (or absence of color). It represents authority, stability and strength, and is often seen used for expensive products. It is usually used in combination with other colors, especially white. Brands associated with this color include Nike, Adidas and Smashbox Cosmetics.

White - Simple and purity are two words that describe this color. It is often seen used is conjunction with black, or with health related products. While most brands won't only use white, many use white in at least some aspect of their color scheme, including Apple, Volkswagen and Tylenol.