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Sell with Colour

An interesting area of buying behaviour is on how different colours can influence our moods. Colours are often grouped into either cool or warm colours.
  • Cool colours - these include blues, purples, violets, and greens.
  • Warm colours - these include reds, oranges, and yellows.
When used in advertising, signage and product design, warm colours tend to stand out and cool colours tend to disappear into the design. As well as being denoted as warm or cool, different colours are thought to elicit different emotional responses in the observer.

Red is a very intense and vibrant colour. Red is the colour of blood and so is associated with war, strength, and power. It is also associated with strong emotions like love and passion. It is said to increase heart rate and blood pressure. 
Since it is also a highly visible colour, red is frequently used for warning signs, fire engines and extinguishers, reverse lights on cars, the stop light at traffic lights, and so on.
Red is also used for sales signs and online retailers often use red for 'buy it now' type purchases.
Given its association with energy red also lends itself well to advertising energy drinks, sports products, and games.
  • Light red is often considered to evoke feelings of passion, sexuality and happiness e.g. red lipstick, red nail polish, red clothing, red cars.
  • Dark red is thought to signify courage, strength, anger, vigour and so forth.
  • Pink is a more passive colour and is often related to feminine traits, as well as romance and passion.
Yellow is a very happy and joyous colour. Yellow is the colour of the sun and so is associated with warm emotions as well as mental and physical activity and alertness. Bright yellow attracts people's attention and so is widely used for taxis. It might also be used in shop signage to attract customers and encourage them to spend money. However, too much yellow can be overbearing so it should be used sparingly.
Yellow is also often considered to be a playful or childish colour and so it is not advisable to use yellow when selling high end products. It is also associated with frivolity and flightiness rather than stability.
  • Light yellow is considered to be playful and joyous. It also promotes feelings of freshness and may be associated with intelligence. It often needs a darker colour alongside it to prevent it from fading into white.
  • Dark yellow is associated with sickness and decay and become unattractive. It is also sometimes associated with jealousy and warnings.
Orange is something of a mix of the vibrancy of red and the happiness of yellow. It typically evokes feelings of enthusiasm, attraction, success, encouragement, happiness, and so forth.
Whilst also being a very warm and invigorating colour it is does not also have the aggressiveness often associated with red. It can stimulate appetite as well as the body and mind.
  • Red-orange is associated with pleasure, desire, passion as well as aggression and domination.
  • Dark orange may be associated with mistrust and deceit.
Blue is a cool and deep colour often associated with stability. Blue is the colour of the sea and the sky and so tends to be associated with depth, calmness, and tranquillity.
Blue is often associated with intelligence and thoughtfulness and so can be used effectively when promoting precision equipment, technical equipment, machinery, and so forth.
It is also associated with purity and so works well when associated with drinking water, cleaning products, sanitary appliances, air conditioners, swimming pools, and so on. However, it is not associated with food and cooking since blue can suppress the appetite rather than promote it.
Blue is associated with masculine feelings and traits. When placed alongside warm colours blue the combination can add vibrancy to a design.
  • Light blue has a sense of softness and tranquility. It is associated with good health and healing.
  • Dark blue is said to indicate knowledge, seriousness, and honesty.

An extract from the ebook "Marketing Psychology" written by staff of ACS Distance Education 

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