Colors And Emotions – Use Color To Attract & Influence The Right Audience

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I love color! And I find it fascinating how colors and emotions and interlinked and how they can impact our emotions, moods, and behaviors – often subconsciously. For example, did you know that red is often used in fast-food restaurant branding because studies have shown that red increases appetite and makes people more impulsive? Crazy right?! So you definitely want to consider using red if you are building a website for your fast-food business!

Color is indeed a powerful tool!

As humans, we are surrounded by color all the time, and clever marketers have discovered ways to use color to influence our moods, energy levels, and even our decision-making abilities.

Because colors and emotions are closely linked it makes sense to explore how colors can evoke different emotions especially when it comes to choosing which colors you should use for your brand, logo, and website.

In this article, we will explore how colors and emotions are connected and what kind of impact different colors have when it comes to websites and branding.

Color In Marketing

Colors and emotions play an incredibly important role in branding, logo, websites, and marketing and companies use specific colors to convey certain messages to their target audiences. 

For example, red is often used to create a sense of passion, boldness, or urgency (Coca-Cola, CNN, and Virgin).  Blue on the other hand is associated with trust, reliability, and strength (HP, Oral-B, Pfizer).  While green is very often used to create a sense of growth, nature, and sustainability (Animal Planet, BP, Land Rover).

In a 2006 study called “Impact Of Color On Marketing“, it was found that most people will make a decision on products within 90 seconds with up to 90% of those decisions being based on color alone. Isn’t that just mind-blowing?!

Color is ubiquitous and is a source of information. People make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products. About 62‐90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone. So, prudent use of colors can contribute not only to differentiating products from competitors, but also to influencing moods and feelings – positively or negatively – and therefore, to attitude towards certain products. Given that our moods and feelings are unstable and that colors play roles in forming attitude, it is important that managers understand the importance of colors in marketing. The study is designed to contribute to the debate.

Emerald Insight

Colors And Moods

How colors and emotions are related really is fascinating, especially when you see just how each color can affect someone’s moods and feelings.

But it isn’t just individual colors that affect us, colors can be broken down into a couple of groups with each group conveying specific emotions. Let’s take a look at a couple of these groups.

Warm Colors

Warm Colors
Warm Colors
Image: Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Warm colors such as red, orange, and yellow can make us feel energized, passionate, and even cozy.  Think about how a warm fire or even a sunset can make you feel. 

Warm colors are also attention-grabbing and are often used in signs and danger signals.  For example, red is in stop signs, barrier tape, and hazard warnings. 

In marketing, you will often see red and orange used in call-to-action buttons to create a sense of urgency and excitement.  It’s no coincidence that Amazon is plastered with orange, red, and yellow attention-grabbing buttons!

Cool Colors

Cool Colors
Cool Colors
Image: Dorothe from Pixabay

Cool colors include blue, green, and purple.  Cool colors have a calming effect on our emotions and they can make us feel relaxed, centered, and peaceful.  Cool colors are often associated with water and ice.

While cool colors can be very soothing they can also sometimes be considered sad colors depending on how they are used.  

In marketing cool colors are used to create a sense of trustworthiness, professionalism, and calmness so you will often find these colors used in logos for finance, healthcare, and technology businesses.

Happy Colors

Happy colors in a rainbow
Happy Colors
Image: Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay

Happy colors are those that make us feel joy, enthusiasm, and optimism

Warm colors are often happy colors! 

As an example, think about yellow, it is often associated with sunshine, happiness warmth, and positivity. 

However, colors such as various shades of pink, are also considered to be happy colors because they are linked to things like romance, friendship, and cotton candy!

Generally, bright colors are happy colors, and combining them in your brand’s color palette can be great, especially if you are trying to create a brand that makes people feel happy and positive.  Think about amusement parks and nursery schools – and of course the happiest display of color, rainbows!

Sad Colors

Depressing Landscape With Sad Colors
Sad Colors
Image: Dorothe from Pixabay

Sad colors are those colors that are muted and have dark tones such as black and gray, as well as muted blues and greens. These sad colors often create a sense of heaviness and can sometimes be associated with grief, loss, mourning, and depression.

That said, sad colors can also be used in formal settings to create a sense of sophistication and elegance.

Calming Colors

Calming Colors
Calming Colors
Image: Wokandapix from Pixabay

Cool colors are often also calming colors. Cool colors such as blue and green create a sense of peace, relaxation, and tranquility. These colors have even been found to lower blood pressure and heart rate which is why they are often used in hospitals, wellness centers, and spas to create a peaceful and calming environment and atmosphere.

In marketing, calming colors can be used to create a sense of trust and stability so they are often used in corporate logos and branding.

Energizing Colors

Bright Peppers With Energizing Colors
Energizing Colors
Image: Kai Pilger from Pixabay

Energizing colors are generally warm colors! Red, Orange, Yellow! Energizing colors create a sense of passion, excitement, and energy.

Energizing colors are bright, strong, and powerful and are used to grab attention and create a sense of urgency. They also create a sense of warmth and positivity and are often used in restaurants, clubs, and other social environments where brands want to stimulate the senses and create a happy vibe.

Neutral Colors

Feather with neutral color palette
Neutral Colors
Image: Chesna from Pixabay

Black, white, and gray are all neutral colors that are associated with simplicity, elegance, and sophistication. They are often used in minimalist and modern designs that want to create a sense of calmness and order.

But black, white, and gray are not the only neutral colors you can choose from. Neutral colors can also include muted and pale shades that seem to lack color. Think of beige, cream, and taupe as examples.

Neutral colors are the perfect backdrop for other colors and can be used to balance out bright and intense colors. Neutral colors are incredibly versatile and timeless so they are a great choice for logos and branding.

Earthy Colors

Forest with earthy colors
Earthy Colors
Image: Dorothe from Pixabay

These wonderful cool colors are inspired by nature and they include shades of green, gray, and brown. Earthy colors create a sense of calm, stability, and grounding and help you connect with the natural world in a powerful way.

In marketing, earthy natural colors are used to create a sense of warmth and comfort with an emphasis on sustainability and natural ingredients. They are versatile and timeless.

Metallic Colors

Metallic colors
Metallic Colors
Image: Dan Cristian Pădureț on Unsplash

Metallic colors are those that mimic the appearance of metals – gold, silver, and bronze. They create a sense of luxury, glamour, and sophistication.

Metallic colors are often used in the branding of high-end fashion, jewelry, and other luxury brands. Depending on how they are used, these colors can be bold and can grab attention or they can be subtle and refined.

Neon Colors

City skyline with neon colors
Neon Colors
Image: on Freepik

Neon colors are often associated with pop culture because they are incredibly bright, bold, exciting, and playful. They create a sense of fun, energy, and youthfulness and are often used to target younger consumers.

That said, neon colors can also be used to create a retro or nostalgic vibe.

But be careful, too many neon colors can look a bit tacky and garish so it is best to use them in small amounts to add a splash of color or personality to a logo or design.

How Each Color Makes You Feel

When it comes to colors and emotions, each color has its own unique way of affecting people and most people react subconsciously to the colors that they see.  Let’s take a look at how each color affects emotions, feelings, and desires.


Black color aesthetic
Image: Dominik Domno from Pixabay

The color black tends to create feelings of sophistication, security, power, and elegance.  Black is a classic color that is seen as luxurious and powerful so it works well for brands that want to create feelings of simplicity, professionalism, luxury, and power

However, black can also be perceived as oppressive and cold.  For example, black isn’t often used within health-related businesses because it is associated with mourning or death.


White color aesthetic
Image: Elena Rozzuvaeva from Pixabay

White is fresh, simple, and clean and in many cultures, it is used to signify innocence and purity. 

It is great for minimalistic designs that want to create a clean, simplistic look. When used with black it can feel modern and sophisticated.  

Depending on how white is used it can create feelings of happiness and peace – think snow, marshmallows, and soft pillowy clouds! And don’t think that you are limited when choosing white for your color palette! There are lots of shades of white to choose from ranging from darker white colors to pastel pinks, blues and yellows.


Gray color aesthetic
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Gray is a mature, serious, and responsible color. It feels dependable and safe while also coming across as reserved and more conservative. Gray feels very practical and stable and depending on how it is used different shades of gray can be calming, relaxing, and soothing.

Gray can however also be seen as a sad color that can bring feelings of pessimism with it.

Companies With White, Gray, And Black Logos And Branding

  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Nissan
  • WWF
  • Apple
  • Lexus
  • Chanel
  • Nike
  • Adidas
  • Prada
  • New York Times
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Puma


Red color aesthetic
Image: Achim Scholty from Pixabay

Red is probably one of the strongest, most vibrant colors out there!

Red draws attention like no other color and it radiates passion, energy, fearlessness, and power. It symbolizes strength, action, energy, and passion and it makes you feel energized.

Many shades of red are often used to draw attention to important information, which is why it is often used in warning and danger signs and signals. It is also the color of love – valentines, roses, strawberries! Red is definitely a happy color!

In marketing, red is used to create a sense of urgency.

Companies That Use Red In Their Logo And Branding

  • Coca-Cola
  • Kellogg’s
  • Nintendo
  • CNN
  • Virgin
  • Pinterest
  • Avis
  • Netflix
  • Canon
  • Puma
  • Marvel


Image: pkong88 from Pixabay

Orange is a bright happy color that represents positive energy. Orange is linked to feelings of courage, warmth, confidence, creativity, and friendliness.

Orange is a warm color that is often used in brands that want to create feelings of fun and happiness. Think about Nickelodeon’s awesome splat logo!

Just like red, orange is also used to draw attention to call-to-action buttons. Amazon is a prime example of this!

Orange is also a comforting color – think about autumn leaves, sunsets, goldfish, and peaches! And because there are so many different shades of orange to choose from, you are spoilt for choice if you are considering using orange in your color palette!

Companies With Orange Logos And Branding

  • Nickelodeon
  • Amazon
  • Fanta
  • Firefox
  • Harley Davidson
  • FedEx
  • Soundcloud
  • Payless


Yellow color aesthetic
Image by Gerhard from Pixabay

Yellow is another happy warm color that is optimistic, hopeful, and cheerful! It is associated with sunshine and happiness and is also used to grab attention. Think about all the happy things that different shades of yellow are associated with – sunflowers, the sun, lemons, rubber ducks, and baby chicks!

In marketing, yellow is a warm color used to make people feel cheerful, happy, and optimistic. But be careful because sometimes too much yellow can be overwhelming.

Companies With Yellow Logos And Branding

  • McDonald’s
  • Lay’s
  • Nikon
  • Subway
  • Lipton
  • IMDb
  • National Geographic
  • Post-It
  • Cheetos


Green color aesthetic
Image: damesophie from Pixabay

Green is the color of harmony, health, and growth! It is a relaxing cool color that soothes our bodies and minds. It balances and revitalizes and makes us feel safe, secure, and hopeful.

Of course, green is also associated with nature, abundance, freshness, and prosperity so it is perfect for brands that want to create an organic, down-to-earth vibe. And with so many gorgeous shades of green to choose from, you truly are spoilt for choice!

Companies With Green Logos and Branding

  • Lacoste
  • Landrover
  • Animal Planet
  • John Deere
  • Holiday Inn
  • Spotify
  • Acer
  • Sprite
  • Whole Foods


Blue color aesthetic
Image: Joe from Pixabay

Blue is a cool color that symbolizes security, trust, loyalty, confidence, and responsibility. Just like green, it is a calming and relaxing cool color that makes us feel at peace and secure. In fact, blue is not only the favorite color of most people in the world, but it is also one of the most common colors used for logos and branding.

That said, you will notice that blue isn’t used very often for food brands. Why? It suppresses our appetites! So if you are opening a pizzeria, blue isn’t your color!

In marketing, blue is used to create a sense of trust and security and this is why you will often see it used for insurance companies and social media networks such as Facebook where these companies collect a lot of personal information about their customers.

There are so many different shades of blue that you can choose from for your small business branding so you are sure to find a blue color that you like! In general, dark blue colors are great for corporate company branding and designs because they create a professional feel while light blues are more friendly and relaxed.

Related: 75+ Blue Color Codes To Help You Choose The Best Shades Of Blue

Companies With Blue Logos And Branding

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • American Express
  • IBM
  • Skype
  • PayPal
  • Nokia
  • Ford
  • Gillette
  • Intel
  • Dell
  • Walmart
  • Pfizer
  • Vimeo


Purple color aesthetic
Image: Rebekka D from Pixabay

Purple is another cool color that is associated with wisdom, creativity, imagination, mystery, royalty, wealth, and sophistication.

Fun fact! Because purple is the color associated with royalty, Queen Elizabeth I banned anyone outside the road family from wearing it!

Purple is also often associated with spirituality and it inspires us to explore our innermost thoughts and feelings and encourages spiritual growth. Purple is an inspiring, uplifting, and encouraging color!

In marketing and branding, you will often see lighter shades of purple being used in beauty products and other luxury brands.

Companies With Purple Logos And Branding

  • Yahoo!
  • Cadbury
  • Twitch
  • Hallmark
  • Curves
  • FedEx


Pink color aesthetic
Image: Pixabay

Pink is a happy color that is the most popular color to represent femininity. It is youthful and imaginative and it has a playful and romantic vibe.

Just like red, pink is often associated with love and romance but it is also sweet and innocent. Pink is also kind, friendly, light-hearted, and comforting and can bring warmth and calm to our lives.

But just like other colors, you also get incredibly vibrant shades of pink are bright and energetic!

Companies With Pink Logos And Branding

  • Victoria’s Secret
  • T-Mobile
  • Barbie
  • Lyft
  • AVON
  • Donut King


Brown color aesthetic
Image: Pixabay

Depending on how it is used, brown can also be a warm color that is down-to-earth and dependable. It is practical, reliable, and somewhat old-fashioned. It is also a comforting color that is grounding and stabilizing.

Companies With Brown Logos And Branding

  • UPS
  • Aero
  • Organic Kids
  • Hershey’s
  • M&M’s
  • Gloria Jean’s Coffees

Colors And Emotions Infographic

As you’ve seen, colors are more than just a visual experience as they can evoke a range of emotions. I’ve put together an infographic that summarizes the fascinating relationship between colors and emotions. I hope it will help you when you choose a color scheme for your website or brand!

Pin For Later…

Colors And Emotions Infographic - Color Psychology


Colors and emotions can be used strategically to build your website and your brand. By choosing a color palette that aligns with your brand’s personality you can influence and evoke certain emotions and influence behavior.

But it is important to note that colors can also be subjective depending on each person’s past experiences or cultural differences. But no matter what, colors are so closely linked with our moods and emotions that you should always think about how to use them when creating a color palette for your brand.

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