Psychology of Color And Promotional Material

Posted by Richie Capeles on May 10, 2016 1:11:09 PM

Color is the first thing the brain perceives when looking at anything, especially promotional material. Understanding how color effects the mind of your customers is a powerful marketing tool!

Psychology of Color

Colors greatly influences people’s feelings, behavior and decisions. 93% of buyers focus on visual appearance and almost 85% claim color to be their primary reason for purchase. Below you will find just a few examples of what certain colors can accomplish in your branding, marketing or advertising efforts.


Colors1.pngRed is considered one of the best marketing colors you can use to garner more attention. Red is associated with:33ad_redrobin.jpg

  • Passion and excitement - red physically stimulates the body, raising blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Urgency - because of its effect on the body, red is a perfect color option for limited time promotions or clearance sales.
  • Appetite - red is believed to cause the feeling of hunger, which is why red is used in many fast food restaurants branding.

Red can be used in several ways depending on the context. The color can be very energizing, portraying friendliness and strength or it can be used in a demanding way, showing aggression.


Colors2.pngBlue is one of the most liked colors across the world. Exulting the feeling of reliability, responsibility and tranquility, there's no surprise why blue is a favored color. Blue is associated with:144.jpg

  • Calming - sparking a more mental reaction (rather than the physical reaction seen with red), blue allows us to de-stress, calm down, and think logically.
  • Trust and security - the color blue evokes reliability and dependability, this is why you'll find that almost every major social media network uses blue as their primary branding color.
  • Productivity -blue has the ability to cause our mind to focus and become more productive, with the added effect of curbing appetite.

While blue does bring a sense of calmness and trust when building relationships, used in excess amounts, blue can also be perceived as distant, cold, or unfriendly. 


Colors5.pngGreen is the most seen color in nature which is why it is often used to promote environmental issues along with reflecting life, rest, and peace. However, there are other symbolic association of the color as well. greentoilet.jpg

  • Growth - Piggy backing off the nature association, green can be related to growth. This can be seen through a physical object like plants or in wealth or income.
  • Health and power- In nature, if a plant is green that means it is in healthy or strong. This has been engraved in our mind to associate the color with well being as well as power. 
  • Harmony - The color promotes a balance between logic and emotion, leading to decisiveness.

Even though green has a more positive affect than most other colors with its association with health, rest, and relieving stress, green does have minor negative aspects like over-possession and materialism.


Colors4.pngPurple is most commonly known for its imaginative and spirituality aspects. Combining factors from both red and blue, purple is the perfect balance between the physical and spiritual. It can also be associated with: harmony_1.jpg

  • Royalty and luxury-  purple has long been found on the garments of kings and queens for hundreds of years. Frequently seeing the color on such garments causes our minds to immediately associate the color with luxury.
  • Wisdom - stimulating problem solving as well as creativity, purple presents the feeling of wisdom.
  • Mystery - purple is used to encourage the feeling of the unknown. This is why often times you can see the color used alongside magical or spiritual content. 

It is believed that excessive purple can cause too much introspection or distraction, so use the color sparingly. 


Colors3.pngYellow and Orange are very cheerful colors and are known for promoting optimism. Of all the colors, yellow is more likely to catch the eye quicker, while orange combines red’s power with yellow’s upbeat aura. Other traits of these colors include:clever-advertisements-13.jpg

  • Caution - both colors have been used by companies to incite impulse buying. With the colors having the ability to trigger a sense of caution and anxiety, they can draw in impulsive buyers and window shoppers. 
  • Optimism - yellow and orange are used to promote enlightenment and happiness. Orange especially exults a feeling of optimism and motivation, which many sport teams have taken advantage of. Just a few examples include, the Phoenix Suns, the Cincinnati Bengals, the San Francisco Giants and the Cleveland Browns.

Overall, orange can create a sense of fun or freedom in your visuals. Yellow can lift provide inspiration and increase confidence, but in excess yellow is known to make us more critical causing self-esteem issues, fear, or anxiety. 


Colors6.pngBlack is a color of many meanings. It can be connected to intelligence, seriousness, control, independence, boldness, elegance, tradition, evil, depression, and even death. However, the feelings strongly associated with black, include:01_coca-cola-black-and-red.jpg

  • Authority and strength - black is a powerful color. It's an absence of all other color and, therefore, lacks any light. This can direct focus making black a commanding color.
  • Stability - black is a great color for high contrast and easy legibility. This balance evokes the feeling of stability.
  • Sophistication - black is classic and refined. Its deep color resembles depth which is often affiliated with sophistication. 

Because of its powerful color, black can be overwhelming if used too often. Too much black can cause sadness and negativity, so use it wisely.



Colors7.pngWhite has an equal balance of all colors. Just like black, it can exemplify several meanings. Most frequently, white is associated with:e903fa1459fd4ffc4a216e14ee10c872.jpg

  • Equality - white can be viewed as a clean slate or neutral. The fact that is can be seen as both the color that includes all colors and excludes all colors, gives the color the essence of equality.
  • Purity - the cleanliness of white promotes innocence, simplicity, and new beginnings; all of which can be connected to purity. The purity if the color makes the viewer feel peace and thus can also be associated with safety.
  • Creativity - White paces projects the essence of absence of color or neutrality, which helps spark creativity since it can be perceived as an unaltered, clean state.

White is often used for weddings, website backgrounds, and doctor’s waiting rooms. It is seen as high quality or new, however, avoid using too much white as it can cause isolation, loneliness, and emptiness. 


Promotional Material

Knowing how to use color in advertising, branding and marketing can be very beneficial to any business. However, your knowledge and use of color does not need to end at creating fliers or websites. Utilizing colors in your promotional materials will give your company an advantage on the competition. 


Staples Promotional Products is the industry leader in promotional items as well as incentive and recognition programs—providing a full range of products, programs and technology solutions for leading global organizations.

Through a CoVest membership, you will have access to these Staples benefits:

  • Highly competitive, margin-based pricing on a volume-tiered basis for catalog, special order and promotional items
  • Ability to supply items at the lowest cost through sophisticated global sourcing approaches and strong volume leverage
  • Customized eStore on-line catalog ordering for pre-decorated in-stock items
  • Full range of custom and special order services including product ideation, sourcing, artwork, brand identity management and logistics management
  • And more!

Learn more about what promotional items Staples has to offer at,

Find out more on how to become a CoVest member at,

Click on the image below to better understand the right mix of sourcing solutions that best fit your organization:

Sourcing Solutions


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