[Infographic] Color Psychology Cheat Sheet: How to Influence Consumer Behavior

Color Psychology


Visuals are a critical component in your company’s branding and identity. Studies show that colors can directly influence how a brand is perceived by a customer, which consequently affects buying decisions. In fact, around 90% of first impressions about a product are based on its color alone!


Colors can influence human behavior, including consumer behavior, and color psychology explores the extent of that relationship. While contextual variables and culture define how individuals assign meaning to colors, there are universal messaging patterns to be found in color perceptions. Recognizing these patterns and leveraging them for your brand will help you better connect with your target customers.


Because of color’s undeniable significance, it is important for business owners and marketers to understand color psychology. Harness the power of color in building a relatable brand. Here’s what you need to know.


Infographic: Color Psychology Cheat Sheet


Color-Word Association

While color meanings are dependent on each person’s experiences, there are messaging patterns found in color perceptions. These trends are key to finding out which colors to use for your brand. CoSchedule shares insightful statistics on what feelings each color invoke in a person:

  • Trust: blue (34%), white (21%), green (11%)
  • Security: blue (28%), black (16%), and green (12%)
  • Speed: red (76%) came out the top choice
  • Cheapness: orange (26%), yellow (22%), brown (13%)
  • Premium quality: black (43%), blue (20%)
  • Tech know-how: black (26%), blue, and gray (both 23%) were at the same level
  • Reliability: blue (43%), black (24%)
  • Courage: purple (29%), red (28%), blue (22%)
  • Fear: red (41%), black (38%)
  • Fun: orange (28%), yellow (26%), purple (17%)

Color Preference by Gender

Men and women have different perceptions about color, as both genders were exposed to it differently. From birth, there is a divide between the societal expectations of male and female colors. Here are some fast facts about color preference by gender, according to Joe Hallock and Kissmetrics:

  • Blue is the most favored color by both genders, although it’s still more liked by men (57% vs. 35%).
  • Brown is the least favorite color of males, while it’s orange for females.
  • Both genders view the colors they dislike the most as “cheap.”
  • Both sexes tend to hate orange and yellow as they get old.
  • Women prefer muted tones of a color (i.e., pastels), while men prefer solid colors.
  • Men tolerate neutral colors like gray more than women.
  • Women (76%) and men (56%) prefer cool colors over warm colors.

These insights can influence how you choose colors for your brand by focusing on your target market. Who is the primary user of your product? How will you create a balance between what both genders want? How can you make a negatively perceived color seem positive to your audience? These are just some of the questions to consider in the beginning stages of your business planning.


The Color Wheel

A color wheel is an essential tool you’ll need to craft color combinations effortlessly. You have four options to choose from:

  • Complementary colors – Use this to create contrast and draw attention to your visuals. Choose the main color, then use the complementary color as an accent. For instance, a base color at 70% and an accent color at 30%.

Examples of complementary colors: blue and orange, red and green, yellow and purple

  • Split complementary colors – Add more flair by introducing a third color in the mix. This is great for content that aims to grab people’s attention. Choose one color as your base color, and then the two colors adjacent to its opposite.

Example of split complementary colors: green, red-orange, and red-violet

  • Analogous colors – Analogous colors are any three colors that are beside each other in the color wheel. Because of this, they are harmonious, easy on the eyes, and don’t demand attention. You can use this color scheme for gentler, subtler content. If you need a particular item to stand out, you may need to add a touch of a complementary color into the mix.

Example of analogous colors: sky blue, blue, blue-violet

  • Monochromatic colors – A monochromatic color scheme is composed of tints, shades, and tones of a single color. They are softer and quieter than analogous colors since it’s a color palette based on one single color. When using complementary colors, pair a rich collection of monochromatic colors with a single complementary color.

Example of monochromatic colors: different shades of blue, from light to deep

Tips When Choosing Colors

  1. Do your homework. Brands don’t just choose colors by random! Get your hands on resources (such as this one) to help you understand the psychological impact of colors on consumers.
  2. Study your competitors. What colors are they using and what emotion do they convey? More importantly, will you choose the same colors? This can impact the direction of your campaign.
  3. Match your product and color. Consider what you’re trying to sell and the color you’re attaching to it. For instance, it might look a bit off to portray a car wash service with the color orange. What do you want the consumer to feel when interacting with your product?
  4. Portray your brand’s personality with color. This depends on whether or not you want to look friendly, mysterious, luxurious, and so on. You can choose colors like yellow to depict fun (e.g., food brands or social apps), or blue to represent security and simplicity (e.g., banks and consumer tech brands).

Final Words

You’re done with your crash course of color psychology! Keep in mind that there are no clear-cut guidelines for choosing your brand’s colors. Beyond stereotypical color associations, it’s essential to consider the context you’re working with. It’s the feeling, mood, and image that your brand or product creates that matters.


If you need more assistance, let the branding and identity specialists at MicroCreatives help you figure out how to best position your product in the market. Consulting the experts will surely give you the upper hand.