Color Psychology

Target. Chegg. Forever 21. Starbucks. Shazam. Monster. Each of these brands has chosen a color to represent them. Anyone who has tried to make a logo or a website knows that coming up with a color scheme is one of the most difficult parts. How do companies choose their colors? When building a logo or website, it is important to consider the target audience. Companies also need to consider what message they want to convey through these colors. Consider this pie chart from CreativeBloq. 

Chegg, an online textbook store, uses orange and white. Perhaps they are attempting to get college students excited about their classes. Since orange is considered, “the colour of innovation and modern thinking. It also carries connotations of youth, fun, affordability and approachability.” It would make sense to use orange for a college textbook site because students are often on a tight budget.

The Starbucks logo is green. As seen in the diagram, the color green makes people think of nature, soothing, and affluence. People come to Starbucks for a relaxing environment to talk, work, or study. Monster, a job search company, uses purple in its logo. Perhaps this is to convey that by using their services, you could land a job that makes you as rich as a king!

Companies that want to expand into the global market must consider the connotations of various colors in their target market. For example, in the United States, yellow can be associated with optimism, sunshine, and happiness but just south in Latin America, yellow is the color of death and mourning. In the United States, Forever 21 uses yellow as its dominant color, when moving to Latin America, the company may choose to emphasize black instead.

Target makes a bold move by using red for their logo. Red is a rather risky color. In the United States and Europe, red can mean warmth and passion but on the other hand it can mean violence and danger. On a global scale, red proves to be even more difficult. In Asia, the color red is associated with celebration and luck but move just to the west and red takes on a whole new meaning in the Middle East where red represents evil.

From trust and authority in the West to immortality in the East, blue has many connotations. Ultimately, blue is the safest bet, which is why it is used for so many companies. In order to stand out amongst a sea of blue logos, Shazam, a song and TV show identifier, uses two different shades of blue in their logo.

So what colors would you use in your personal logo?

Christie, M. (2013, August 14). How to choose a colour scheme for your logo design. Retrieved September 3, 2014, from

Cousins, C. (2012, June 11). Color and cultural design considerations. Retrieved September 3, 2014, from

6 thoughts on “Color Psychology

  1. Colors are probably one of the least focused on parts of advertising. Everyone is so focused on creating an awesome message or brand campaign, and sometimes things like this get lost in the mix. Great topic, and great post.


    • I actually disagree with that color choices are one of the “least focused” areas of advertising while creating logos. Imagine if there was a logo some a company that wanted to convey a youthful, upbeat, and forward-thinking message, yet they used colors like beige and white. I agree that color choice might not be the very first thing that a company focuses on during creation, but it definitely takes lots of time and consideration.


  2. My band, which plays pop-punk music typically popular among teenagers and young adults, utilizes a mixture of vibrant green and dark blue in our logo. In my opinion, the green is very youthful and attention grabbing, while the dark blue used in the background keeps the logo from being too obnoxious. I like to think it gives off the message that we can be fun and exciting, but that we take our music very seriously. Had we stuck to an entirely vibrant color scheme I would imagine that we would not get booked as often. On the other hand, if we chose too serious of a color scheme, we would likely mislead people who see our logo.


  3. I had never thought of color as a huge part of the advertising process. Now thinking about these companies, I understand why they chose the colors that they did. It is very interesting how a color can evoke a certain feeling in a person, and I think that needs to be taken into consideration when selecting a color scheme for a brand. They can utilize their colors in order to create a positive image.


  4. Colors play such an important role in branding and advertising. People have different associations with particular colors. In addition, different color combinations portray certain messages as well.

    However to consider a complete package, color has to work well with design, font, and etc. So I wouldn’t exactly say that color plays the main role, rather it plays an important role. It’s not the sole thing people remember. For example, we associate red with target, but we also associate circular shapes. Colors and designs come hand in hand. Like if it was a square instead of a circle, I don’t think it would be as effective.


  5. I’ve noticed myself gravitating to something because of a flashy color, but I’ve never consciously made a decision to purchase something because of the color(s). I am too much of a conscious buyer and do research on most products, within reason.

    Colors are very important and something that I believe marketers don’t think about consciously. If they want something bold, they put reds, oranges, yellows. If they want to convey something cool or chill, they usually use greens, blues, and purples. I’m not sure how much thinking goes into, “Oh, I want them to feel angry when they see this image so I am going to use red…” What do I know though? I’m just a student.


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