What do different colours mean?

What do different colours mean?

Within 90 seconds of an initial interaction, an individual makes up their mind about a person or product. Colour alone accounts for up to 90% of that assessment.

And so colour is crucial when it comes to your brand.

You want your brand to trigger certain actions and emotions in your audience. And by knowing what different colours mean and how they affect human behaviour, you can do just that.


What is colour psychology?

The study of colour as a determinant of human behaviour is known as Colour Psychology. The idea is that seeing a particular colour can have an immediate effect, evoking certain feelings and encouraging certain actions.


What do different colours mean?

Because a colour’s meaning is influenced by upbringing, gender, age, location, culture and other factors, it is possible for people to attach different meanings to colour. Whilst it’s important to remember that meanings aren’t universal, it’s useful to know those common colour associations are thought to exist.

So, let’s take a look at the common thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are triggered by different colours.



Red is associated with excitement, danger, passion, energy, urgency and action. So it makes perfect sense to use red for your call to action. A handy insight to know if you’re a restaurant is that red is also thought to encourage appetite.

Red is intense and its association with danger does mean you may want to use the colour with caution.



The associations surrounding the colour orange are creativity, youth, adventure, success, confidence and enthusiasm. Whilst red and orange both capture attention, orange is more playful than commanding. If you want your brand to be vibrant, energising those who encounter it, orange is a strong choice.



For happiness, hope, optimism and positivity, go for yellow. It’s the colour of sunshine and summer.

But it also stands out and can be seen from afar, so can be used to evoke caution. 



You see green, you think of nature. So it’s of course a popular choice amongst plant-based, eco-friendly and sustainable brands. Conjuring images of spring, green can symbolise vitality, freshness and growth.

Indicating ‘go’ on traffic lights, green is another colour that can encourage action. But also bear in mind the negative association green has with envy.



Since purple combines red and blue, it evokes both blue’s serenity and red’s energy. Our senses are engaged but balanced with a peace that enables thoughtful insight.

If you want to bring a touch of luxury to your brand, purple is linked to royalty so can signal prestige and nobility. Or perhaps you want to create mystery and magic? Purple’s associations with spirituality and fantasy make it just the colour you need.

Maybe use it sparingly though as too much purple can stir feelings of arrogance and impatience.



Blue is known for its calming effects. Along with encouraging relaxation, blue can instil trust and convey intelligence. And that’s why it’s one of the most popular colours in the world for logos.

But blue can also be cold and suggest sadness, so use it with care.



Femininity, tenderness, romance, compassion and sensitivity are all evoked by the colour pink. 

Pink can bring a softness and delicacy to your brand.



There’s a formality to grey. It’s professional and mature, it has a seriousness to it. Whether this is positive or negative depends on your company and the industry you’re in. 



The earthy connotations of brown create a wholesome feeling. For that reason, brown is often chosen as the colour for natural products or outdoor activities.

There’s a dependability that also comes with brown. Those companies that use brown in their branding can be seen as down to earth, practical, secure and reliable.



There’s power in the colour black. It suggests exclusivity and elegance. But be careful, its stylish sophistication can make a brand feel unapproachable and intimidating. So unless that’s what you’re going for (as is the case with some luxury fashion brands), use it wisely.



The colour of simplicity is white. If you want your brand to have a minimalist aesthetic, the cleanliness and purity of white make it the classic choice.


To sum up

Emotions are significant drivers in decision-making. And colour is a valuable means of eliciting certain emotions that ultimately encourage action.

Think about what you want your brand to represent and what feelings you want to evoke in your audience. Now choose the colours to match.

If you’d like any advice on the colours most suited to your brand, get in touch today.