The psychology of color

Color (or the lack of color) triggers a very powerful emotional response in us.  We can use insight as we select company colors, design logos, create ads, build websites and even create products.

Check out this fascinating infographic on how we react to color.


Bravo to CertaPro Painters for creating this and Cool Infographics for originally sharing it.

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21 comments on “The psychology of color

  1. Here in the UK, they painted all the drunk tanks pink in the 80s, in order to calm down any angry drunk people.

    It didn’t work too well, but this chart shows the logic is sound.

    1. Andy,

      Perhaps the chart should have had a footnote: Not valid if the viewer is smashed!


  2. Amy says:

    A lot of restaurants in particular Asian (also culturally influenced of course) ones use the color red.

    It would be interesting to see how music ties into all of this. There is also some science behind which paintings are hung in hospitals. All very interesting to me.

    1. Amy,

      You make a very valid point — this infographic is probably very Americanized. I wonder how it would differ in other countries?


      1. Kit Brown-Hoekstra says:

        Hi Drew,
        Yes, to an extent, color is culturally derived. For example, white is the color of mourning in parts of Asia.

        But, context matters, too, so you have to be careful of over-generalizing. And, it’s changing over time as the world becomes more connected.

        Here are some links:

        1. Kit,

          I think we must always guard against over-generalizing. These things should be idea/thinking starters, not carved in stone decision makers.

          Thanks for sharing the additional resources!


          1. Kit Brown-Hoekstra says:

            I absolutely agree. That’s why I said context matters….:->

  3. Thank you for sharing Drew! It’s very interesting to hear how the choice of color can stimulate particular emotional responses. Great tool for marketing!

  4. Ynna says:

    Hi Drew! thanks for sharing this information about color emotional responses in us. I really appreciate it and i learn so much on you. Thanks for the post and keep the good work.

  5. Kim says:

    I love how they picked Victoria Secret as one of their examples for the use of pink. Its interesting it see the infographic made use of color and how we see things. Did you know that blue wasn’t always a boys color.. years ago it was Pink not Blue that was for boys.. Yet we think about guys wearing pink now? humm how color ideas change over the years as well..

    1. Real men wear pink and each quiche, don’t they?


  6. Nicki says:

    Great infographic to choose website colors – think of the emotional response you want from your viewers and choose the right colors to trigger that subtly.

    1. Nicki,

      Excellent point. I had the same thought for lobby waiting areas. How do you want your clients to feel as they wait to meet with you? Choose your colors wisely.


  7. I love it! Did not know this. I gravitate to red, now I know why I am like this. I will share. Very intriguing

    1. Jody,

      I’m curious — how will you use this information in your work life?


  8. Linda says:

    I love the infographic. The design and format of the tutorial made it fun to look into. I do not much have talent in choosing the right colors yet I can relate to the ambiance it provides. Thank you for sharing this can serve as an effective guide.

    1. Linda,

      Hopefully now you’ll have a new set of criteria to use when you’re selecting colors!


  9. Sarah says:

    Hi Drew,

    Thanks for sharing this infographic. Subtle cues in someone’s environment can have a huge effect on their behavior. Research on psychology used in marketing strategies or merchandising is of great interest to me. I look forward to reading future articles by you on these subjects.


    1. My pleasure Sarah — glad it was valuable to you.


  10. Drew
    Great post and one that resonates with me. I was drawn to purple a few years ago and then I got into the Personal Development/hypnotherepay area and found that purple is a spiritual colour!

    It’s interesting that some people see certain shade of yellow and thing Mcdonalds or Orange and thing TNT. Colour also acts as a trigger and can trigger major negative emotions depending on what your experience was of that colour.


    1. Chris,

      Your point is an interesting one. Can a brand change our perception of a color? Do we see brown differently because of UPS or yellow because of McDonalds?


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