Ultimate Guide to Color Psychology

Ultimate Guide to Color Psychology

Last updated on June 20, 2016 by Fahad Muhammad in Conversion Rate Optimization
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In ancient Egypt color was considered to be an important part of the substance and being of everything in life. Egyptians understood things and people through colors, everything green represented life and vegetation, everything black spelled out death and doom. No, we're not about to embark on an adventure with Brandon Fraser out to find some hidden Egyptian treasure with an ugly mummy chasing us all the way.

What this little nugget of history was supposed to do was inform you that colors aren't decided arbitrarily, there’s an aim and purpose behind every color selection. Why do you think brides want to wear white and include something blue at their weddings or why people seem to think that blondes have all the fun.

How does this help increase conversions?

Simple, when you make the use of this color psychology (that has truly stood the test of time) on your CTAs, landing pages and website design you basically give your customer's psyche a slight nudge in the right direction.

When marketers and designers spend precious moments deciding on what color their landing page needs to be, it isn’t ludicrous at all, in fact there’s some method to this madness.

The color psychology guide

What’s going to follow is a comprehensive guide on the impact of color psychology on your landing page conversions. This guide will serve as a good read for both designers and marketers. If you don't have time now, save it for later ASAP.

For the purposes of visual appeal and readability, we’ll break up the guide into 4 chapters, the mechanics behind color psychology will form chapter 1 and chapter 2 will deal with data that proves how color psychology affects buying decisions.

Chapter 3 will highlight some universal color meanings and chapter 4 will bring forth some examples of real landing pages and the impact that color has had on their conversions.

Let’s Begin.

Chapter 1: The mechanics behind color psychology


Color has a powerful influence on the human psychology, a research by University of Winnipeg Canada on the impact of color on marketing states that people make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products. About 62-90% of this assessment is based on colors alone.

Intelligent use of colors can contribute not only to differentiating products from competitors, but also to influencing moods and feelings – either positively or negatively –and therefore, to the behavior towards certain products. Given that our moods and feelings are unstable and that colors play roles in forming attitude, it's important that marketers understand the importance of colors in marketing.

The findings of the study dictate that marketers can use colors to increase or decrease appetite, enhance mood, calm down customers, and reduce perception of waiting time, among others.

It was Isaac Newton who discovered that when pure light passes through a prism, it separates itself into a range of colors; each color is made up of a single wavelength and cannot be split further into more colors. Hence, every color has its own identity and meaning and thus can be used to influence people in different ways.

It’s because of the strengths behind color psychology that color therapies have become so common and are considered to be very effective.

Although, perceptions of color are subjective to cultural contexts; for example in the West white is considered to be the color of purity which is why brides go for white gowns however in the South East (especially India) white is associated with mourning and is worn at funerals.

However, some colors have a universal effect – and these are precisely the colors that we’re going to discuss in this guide. But first we need to shed some light on how much importance consumers place on color when making buying decisions.

Chapter 2: Effect of color psychology on buying decisions


More than 92.6% of buying decisions are influenced by visual factors, consumers tend to do product assessment in 90 seconds, in this time they make a subconscious decision of whether or not to invest their money in the product, up to 90% of this assessment is solely based on color.

66% of buyers won’t buy certain appliances unless it comes in the color that they prefer. Color ads in magazines get read 42% more than black and white ads.

Color preferences differ for genders, so if you have a female audience you might want to use blue, purple and green and not go down the route of brown or gray.

For a male audience you'll have the highest positive influence from blue, green and black and a negative influence from brown, orange and purple.

Research conducted by Xerox Corporation and International Communications revealed that

  • 92% of people believe color presents an image of impressive quality
  • 90% think color can assist in attracting new customers
  • 90% Believe customers remember presentations and documents better when color is used
  • 83% Believe color makes them appear more successful
  • 81% Think color gives them a competitive edge
  • 76% believe that the use of color makes their business appear larger to clients.

A black and white image only sustains customer interest for just two thirds of a second while a colored image can keep them engaged for a whole 2 seconds.

Colors also affect the budget that your customers are willing to spend on a product, green is used primarily to attract eco minded people, orange denotes fairness and affordability, blue signifies trust and black and burgundy give off a rich and sophisticated vibe.

Color has the power to improve readership by 40%, learning from 55 to 78%, and the level of comprehension by 73%.

Chapter 3: Universal Colors and Their Meanings


Some colors are universal in nature- it doesn’t matter where you live or what language you speak, they have the same effect on you. This is why marketers need to take into account the psychological effect that these colors have on their visitors. You don’t want to give your visitors the wrong vibe, do you?


Ikea logo

Yellow symbolizes happiness and warmth in almost all cultures. It’s the color that grabs users’ attention more than any other color. The color is associated with enlightenment and creativity. McDonald’s and IKEA both use yellow in their branding to give off the feeling of friendliness and positivity.



Blue gives off the feeling of credibility, trust and communication. However, different shades of blue give off different meanings, using the wrong shade of blue can make your brand appear aloof and unapproachable.

Most banks use blue color in their branding, so do the social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkdIn. Another company that’s known for its teal blue branding is Tiffany & Co.



Black is THE color for luxury and sophistication. It gives off the vibe of exclusivity and seriousness. What could be more luxurious than Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent?



The color orange is particularly bright and denotes playfulness and social interaction. The color also gives off the vibe of comfort and warmth. If you’re a serious corporate business, you should refrain from using too much orange on the off chance of appearing to frivolous. One iconic brand that makes use of orange in their branding is Nickelodeon.


victorias secret

I’m sure you already know this one, pink is associated with femininity and love, a lighter shade of pink is used to market towards girls whereas as a brighter tone of pink gives off sex appeal hence is used by Victoria’s Secret- they even have a whole line with the name PINK.

The color is also used for breast cancer awareness.


Quality Street

When most people think of purple they think of Cadbury, the color symbolizes quality, luxury and royalty. Think Quality Street.

Purple represents high end products, the most expensive properties on Monopoly, Park Lane and Mayfair both had purple cards.



Red is the color of passion, hence the whole scarlet theme on Valentine’s Day. It also symbolizes power and excitement. Coca-Cola automatically comes to mind when you think red and Christian Louboutin also uses red in their branding.



Green represents nature, universality and love. Yeah, I know it’s the color of envy and the Hulk but it’s also the color of Starbucks and Garnier Fructis, two brands that are known for their natural and earth friendly products.

Chapter 4: Landing Page Examples

What we've been doing up until now is discussing the theory of color psychology and its impact on conversions, what comes now are practical examples of this theory at work. How with the help of color these companies were able to not only establish brand recognition but also increase readability of their landing pages.

Subway’s page may be a little cluttered but it’s full of the fresh and healthy green color.


Then we have Maria Forleo’s B-school a service primarily targeted at women, the landing page gets its job done by using two colors in perfect harmony.


HubSpot ran a button color test on Performable’s page and discovered that changing the CTA button from green to red made conversions shoot up by 21%.


That’s how important color is to your bottom line. Make sure you take advantage of the color psychology theory and put it to good use on your landing pages. If you don't have a landing page yet, we invite you to give Instapage a try.

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