Color psychology: Choosing colors for your small business

Choosing colors for your small business isn’t always easy. Who will send the right message? Which one will set the appropriate tone? Environmental psychologists have been thinking about this type of question for a long time. They have conducted rigorous scientific studies to determine how certain colors influence our opinions and behaviors.

Below are some of the findings from science on several colors, and how they can be applied to your small business.


According to data available to VistaPrint, blue is customers’ favorite color for their marketing materials. Around the world, if people are asked what their favorite color is, the likelihood that it is blue is higher than for any other color. Researchers don’t know exactly why blue is so popular, but the trend could be linked to the fact that when our species originated, what mattered to us was blue: the sky on a clear day and the dots of water seen from afar, for example. This argument is all the more logical since blue is generally associated with the notions of competence and reliability.


Black is a sought-after and very commonly used hue. This popularity is not surprising, as many people associate this color with strength, sophistication, tradition, and solemnity. It is often used for retail businesses or in the fields of fashion, automotive, or DIY.


What color are people least likely to name as their favorite? Yellow. Typically, it is an unpopular color and the one that customers worldwide are the least likely to select for their marketing materials. But although less popular, yellow can still, in some cases, be used to emphasize and highlight an element of the graphic design.


Red is associated with love, danger, and excitement. Studies show that looking at something red can impair our analytical thinking, but seeing red on a wall or similar surface gives us a boost of strength, making it the perfect color to stare at when exercising. strong physical.


Seeing green, even briefly, would enhance our creative thinking. It is therefore advisable to use it in marketing materials if one seeks to provoke this type of reflection and lead people to understand the reasons why this or that advertisement appeals to them. Green is associated with nature and environmental responsibility, making it a great choice for companies that market solar panels, for example.

This color is often linked to spring and renewal, hence its relevance for entrepreneurs who sell services intended to help people change their lives (especially in the fields of health or education). The marketing of such products may also be more effective if blue is added, a color evocative of competence and reliability.

In general, researchers find that looking at less saturated and relatively bright hues (like white-laden sage green shades) has a relaxing effect while looking at more saturated and less bright colors (like dark green shades ) is more energizing. Using dark green in marketing materials, however, can be desirable if you’re looking to get people to act immediately, while a dilute splash of sage green in spa promotional materials will invite relaxation, even before customers go there.

Brown and purple

In our minds, brown evokes robustness and purple, sophistication. Therefore, in general, any situation that invites the use of one is likely to discourage the use of the other.

What this means for your business

Our experiences with colors influence the meaning we give to them. It is therefore important to choose them according to this criterion. For example, if a popular new cartoon character is yellow, expect that shade to get more positive reactions than usual. Before you finalize your choice, show the colors you’ve selected to a small number of people you want your marketing materials to elicit a favorable reaction to, to see what they mean to them.

It’s important to remember that we react to what we see based on many sensory experiences combined. And beyond these, the factors that contribute to the opinion we have of a company (large or small) are multiple.

The colors you select convey important messages, so choose them carefully and apply the teachings of environmental psychologists on the science of colors.

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