Branding or Content Feeling Dull? Add a Dash of Colour Psychology

Earlier we discussed how to make a strong brand (Why Your Branding Is Not Strong Enough), and we touched on colour theory. Time to get more in-depth.

Do you think McDonald’s uses yellow and red colours just because they like a hot colour palette? If so, is that true for most fast food companies? Because, if you pay attention you’ll notice most follow a similar colour palette. They can’t all just be fans of red!? You’d be surprised, it actually has to do with human psychology as colours play a role in convincing us to eat there. Marketing is kind of sneaky, hey?

It’s called the “Mustard & Ketchup Theory”, which is the idea that red and yellow are the perfect pairing to make us want to stop and stuff our faces with delicious food. Red has been known to make us feel warm, comforted, and loved; while yellow is attention-grabbing and some research suggests it even speeds up the metabolism (Newbold, 2017).

Colours make us feel certain ways whether we notice it or not. Sure, personalities play a part in how we individually perceive everyday life; but, in general, most people react similarly to specific colours.

So, when you were creating your company logo and brand did you consider colours based on what you like or what you wanted to say about your business?

I didn’t study psychology! How am I supposed to know this!?

The good news is –  if you hired a good designer they will have taken colour theory into consideration from the get-go.

There are books on colour psychology or you could Google it. (When has a blog ever told you to “Google it!?” But really, if you want to know how to convey a certain emotion with colour, search it up!)

Let’s go over the basics:

Red – Boldness, urgency, prideful, angry, loud, excitement, passion, appetite

Pink – Female Gender, babies, softness, fancy, young

Green – Health, money, prosperity, environment, clean living, tranquility, thankfulness

Purple – Royalty, wealth, prestige, problem-solving

Blue – Peace (think United Nations), security, productivity, socialness, male gender

Yellow – Happy, optimistic

Orange – Adventure,

White – Minimalism, purity

Black – Luxurious, intelligence

Grey – Solidarity, depression, boring, minimalist, stone, coldness (DashBurst, 2014)

Be wary that colours can provoke different emotions, depending on the content given. Orange may mean adventure but can also mean caution. Blue can be perceived as sad or remind one of social platforms. Black can be paired with death but also luxury.

If you have time, we recommend reading this blog from Small Business Trends, as it goes over more branding, picking colours that go well together, where to use them, deeper into the artistic side of colour theory, and more!

jsm) specializes in social media and we can help your business stand out with branding, social strategy and website development.


Newbold, C. (2017, October 26). Red and Yellow Make Us Eat: How Restaurants Suck Us In. The Visual Communication Guy.

DashBurst. (2014, June 19). How to Use the Psychology of Colors When Marketing. Small Business Trends.

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