In my recent Sasai mobile app review, I mentioned how strategic their choice of colours had been. I’ve always had a deep appreciation for colours because they’re central to human psychology. Colours are perceived or regarded a certain way by people regardless of whether they’re aware of it or not. This forms a basis for the need to understand the dynamics surrounding the effects of colours on people’s conduct and decision-making. Thus the purpose of this article is to discuss some pertinent details about the strategic use of colours in marketing. This will help you in choosing the right colours because you’ll know the implications of their use

Why Colour Psychology?

The human brain is a fascinating part of the human body. Elementary biology shows us that our brains interact with our surroundings by making sense of various stimuli – one of them is visual data (i.e. what you see). The remarkable thing is that some surveys have demonstrated that conversions (customers’ actual buying of goods and services) are usually influenced by colour themes. This might sound quite unusual for most people but it’s been proven that effects of colour on whether or not a customer buys something can be as high as 90%.

Studies have shown that it takes on average one and a half minutes for someone to decide whether or not they like something they’re seeing. It’s said that colours evoke varying types of emotions be they negative or positive. This is important because it’s these emotions that inform consumer behaviour. So a business that gets to understand the interesting relationship between colours and human psychology will develop top-notch branding and marketing frameworks. You must also understand that colours denote certain meanings; your use of a colour entails you communicating a particular message.

Colour Trends For Global Brands

There are many global companies that are out there e.g. Facebook, Microsoft or Apple. The interesting thing is that surveys of some of the world’s top brands have shown that the most used colours are red, blue, black and yellow (some popular variations being the greyscale and gold). Here we are talking about colours used in logos and general brand identity. Another interesting thing to note is that for these top brands the most common incidence is the use of just one or two colours. Let’s look at some of the characteristics of those colours.


This is a colour that evokes emotions of excitement, energy, passion, courage and attention. It’s usually used to stimulate, denote urgency, signify danger or to draw attention in general. Some of the industries in which this colour theme is commonly used are sport, food services, entertainment and kids products.


This is one of the most used colours. In fact, several studies have shown that blue is the most liked colour of both males and females. Blue induces emotions centred on trusting, deeming as responsible, honest, loyal and secure. The colour also symbolizes wisdom, joy and freedom. Blue is often used to create the expression of a calm, relaxed, stress-free, secure and orderly environment. Positive energy, to inspire and being productive are some of the key things denoted by blue.  Industries such as tech, entertainment, healthcare or financial services tend to adopt the colour blue.


Yellow is quite a vibrant colour it expresses enthusiasm, being spontaneous, happiness (in short I can say it expresses good feelings). The colour evokes emotions that stimulate, relax, energize and encourage. Travel, leisure, food services and sports are some of the industries in which yellow is commonly used.


Black is a somewhat mystic colour which characterises power, authority and elegance. The colour can be used to mask feelings, to intimidate, to exude mystery and to epitomize control or authority. Virtually any business field or industry can use black; the colour is usually used along with other colours. Interestingly some studies have shown that black is a colour most liked by both male and female teenagers.

There are obviously many colours to talk about but I deliberately chose to discuss those ones used by the world’s top brands. This is to lay a foundation for you to ensure you choose colours for your branding and marketing from an informed standpoint.

You must understand that how colours appeal to people differs according to various demographics. For instance, middle-aged and senior citizens tend to favour grey scale-themed colours (a characteristic virtually non-existent for other age groups). Other things that can get in the mix are culture or gender, amongst several others. So it’s also important to appreciate that it’s not enough to know about the colours in isolation. Choosing a colour theme for your brand and marketing drives isn’t just about your liking of a colour per se. You have to know what the colours denote, the emotions they evoke and how they’re generally used. This will equip you with the power to use colours in such a way that communicates your intended message and evokes the right emotions for you to get your desired consumer behaviour.