How Color Impacts Mood and Behavior

Published: 22-Jun-2021
Last Updated: 22-Jun-2021
How Color Impacts Mood and Behavior

Color can have an impact on a customer’s ability to connect with your brand. You may have the best product or service, but if your brand book doesn’t fit (or doesn’t exist), you may be sending the wrong message.

There is a psychology to color and how it impacts a person’s decision-making. Color doesn’t only serve an aesthetic purpose, but an emotional and conceptual one as well. Using color to send the right message to your customers without being overt can help get your point across in an instant and solidify the branding you’ve worked so hard to craft.

If you view colors as a language of their own, you can create color palettes to appeal to the emotion you are trying to inspire, in-fitting with the brand image you want to represent. Research and planning put into understanding the psychology of color is time well-spent for your brand.

What Is Color Psychology?

Color psychology is research that identifies how color influences behavior and decision-making. Additionally, color is tied to human emotions and experiences. This personal tie makes it challenging to have a universal language of color, but broad categories still are possible.

How does our brain process color? 

Through the processing of color, our brains can determine which  are stimulating or calming. Warm colors can be stimulating, so they are usually used as accent colors. Otherwise, the brand may appear to be angry or annoying. 

On the flip side, overuse of cool colors can be too calming and leave a customer with a feeling of sadness. So there is a crucial balance that needs developing for your brand to be seen and felt in a way you wish to be perceived. 

Color Impacts Mood and Behavior in Buying Decisions

Did you know that color can increase brand recognition by 80%? This same study showed that 85% of consumers make their buying choices based on color and that the color, make, look, and feel affect 93% of the purchase decision. When these four features come together, the motivation to buy is very strong. 

Color selections can be tied to the five dimensions of:

  • Sincerity
  • Excitement 
  • Competence 
  • Sophistication 
  • Ruggedness

A brand’s selection of color should be tied to their brand, values, products, and mission. 

How To Select Appropriate Colors For Your Brand

A brand can determine appropriate colors for them based on color theory. This theory is based on two color wheels and the relationship of complementary, monochromatic analogous, triadic, and tetradic combinations. 

The first color wheel consists of warm colors. These warm colors are said to be inviting and energetic. The second color wheel is soothing and gives a sense of calming. White, black, and grey are considered neturals. 

  • Complementary colors are colors that are opposite of each other on the color wheel.
  • Monochromatic colors are all of the colors of a single hue. 
  • Analogous colors are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. 
  • Triadic colors are colors which are colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel.
  • Tetradic colors create a rectangle shape on the color wheel, using four colors, arranged in complementary pairs. 

Below we will describe some of the emotions and meanings tied to specific colors. This list can be used as a guide for your brand to determine which color combinations work best for your products or services. 

Red (Warm)

Red is passion, love, blood, danger, and strength.

Pink (Warm)

Pink is romance, femininity, love, sensitivity, and excitement.

Orange (Warm)

Orange is energy, happiness, success, warmth, and creativity.

Yellow (Warm)

Yellow is optimism, sunshine, confidence, attention, and success.

Blue (Cool)

Blue is trust, serenity, peace, communication, and sadness.

Green (Cool)

Green is health, growth, peace, vitality, and wealth.

Purple (Cool)

Purple is royalty, majesty, mystery, spirituality, and luxury.


Brown is organic, honest, natural, simple, wholesome.


Gray is compromise, neutrality, balance, conservativeness, and frustration.


Black is elegance, power, luxury, mystery, and sorrow.


White is pure, simple, innocence, virginity, and minimalism.

What Are Color Qualities?

Color has four qualities, and they are hue, value, temperature, and intensity.  These four qualities allow the color to be seen, felt, and experienced. 


A color’s hue is its source color, one of the primary colors on a color wheel. Hue combinations can create other colors.


The value of a color is how it compares to white, gray, or black. Think of it in terms of exposure from lightness to darkness. 


Temperature identifies a color in terms of a warm color or a cool color and ties it to human emotions.


Intensity is the brightness or saturation level of color. Based on its root color, the brightness can be determined. In many applications, intensity refers to saturation level. 

The Combined Color Effect

Combining colors in a way that works for your brand and products or services is essential. Choosing complementary colors is one strategy, such as red and green or yellow and purple. These colors lie on opposite sides of the color wheel. 

Choosing complementary colors grabs a visitor’s attention. Together complementary colors appear brighter due to one being a warm color and one a cool color. To make the psychology of color even more interesting, men and women prefer different colors, such as men prefer bold colors while women prefer softer colors. 

Web Design and Color

Incorporating the psychology of color in your branding and website design is essential. Carbon Digital specializes in partnering with organizations to meet their branding and design needs. Our goal is to increase customer loyalty and conversions for your business, and brand and color play a significant role in this strategic plan. 

Contact us today and let’s get started!


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