Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Color Psychology: Using Color to Increase Sales, Productivity and Happiness

Over 84% of consumers admit that color is the primary reason why they buy something! 

Because colors affect sales, employee performance, and mood so dramatically,  billions of dollars go into the study of Color Psychology. It makes sense for color to have strong associations evolutionarily when you consider our hunter-gatherer origins. The things we love to eat, and some things that are dangerous to consume, stand out in nature with brilliant colors.

The colors you choose for your home, brand or office are very important, not just culturally and spiritually, but for your bottom line as a business owner. Color Psychology is used to influence us to open our wallets, but also, our hearts. The best movies and paintings use color to manipulate our emotions.

Let's look at common colors and their associations. Incorporate these in your home, business, office, car, wherever you need the color's boosting powers!

  • Stimulates mental processes and nervous system
  • Activates memory and increases communication
  • Uplifting and Illuminating, Inspires Optimism and Happiness.
  • Sparks Creativity, Inspires New Ways of Doing Things. 
  • Works with the Left side of the brain. Inspiring practical grounded work, not fantasies.

  • Rigid, stubborn, and conservative, it's a "safe" and universally beloved color
  • Blue represents honesty, loyalty, security and wisdom
  • Releases calming chemicals in the mind
  • Calms, Sedates and Cools; Peaceful
  • Aids Intuition 
  • Non-Threatening
  • Associated with one-on-one communication, direction and order


  • Boosts enthusiasm, exciting
  • Energizing: can increase respiration, pulse rate and blood pressure
  • Encourages confidence
  • Provides a sense of protection from fears and anxiety
  • Stimulates appetite
  • Red is the longest wavelength of light, the highest arc of the rainbow, and the first color you lose sight of at twilight
  • Can denote danger


  • Stimulates activity, energy and appetite
  • Optimistic and extroverted
  • Radiates cheerfulness, full of vitality without the aggressiveness of red
  • Encourages socialization
  • Sparks more controversy than any other hue; usually loved or hated
  • Radiates warmth and energy
  • The first color the human eye sees, hence its use for traffic signs


  • Soothes and Relaxes mentally and physically, likely because of its connection to nature
  • Alleviates depression, nervousness and anxiety
  • Offers a sense of renewal, self-control and harmony
  • 2nd only to blue as a favorite color
  • The pervasive color in the natural world
  • The human eye is sensitive to green, it's the color we can discern the most shades of
  • Nurtures and represents balance, harmony and growth
  • Envy and possessiveness is a common association


  • Calms the mind and nerves
  • Offers a sense of spirituality 
  • A balance of red's stimulation and blue's calm
  • Mystic and royal qualities
  • Encourages creativity, uplifting
  • Often well liked by creative or eccentric personalities

Purple Rain Non Sequitur with Prince! As soon as I typed "Purple" I had to listen to the album!


  • Like red, stimulates energy and increase blood pressure, respiration and pulse
  • Encourages action and confidence 
  • Soft pink: youthful, fun, exciting and innocent
  • Hot pinks: same high energy as red, passionate and assertive without being aggressive
  • Increases sugar cravings
  • Inspires positive thoughts 
  • Pink is said to calm energy, it's been used in prisons to reduce fighting!
  • Gentle, loving, feminine and romantic


  • Represents structure and support
  • Encourages feelings of safety, protective, warm and comforting- a safe haven
  • Earthy and wholesome
  • Sensual and approachable
  • Encourages material security


  • Color of intellect, knowledge and wisdom
  • Perceived as a long-lasting classic
  • Seen as sleek, refined, dignified and conservative
  • Represents non-involvement, carriers a formal authority
  • Unsettles and creates expectations
  • A perfect neutral, often use by designers as a background color
  • Representative of pessimism 


  • Aids mental clarity
  • encourages us to clear clutter and obstacles
  • Evokes purification of action or thoughts
  • Enables fresh beginnings
  • Inspires hope
  • More shades of white are available commercially than any other color!


  • Provides restful emptiness
  • Evoking a sense of potential and possibility
  • Makes one feel inconspicuous, a color of mystery
  • Authoritative and powerful
  • Can evoke strong emotions, too much can be overwhelming
  • Represents a lack of color, primordial void, emptiness
  • Evokes sophistication, classic
  • Implies weight, hence why weights at the gym are black
  • Too much black encourages pessimism, aloofness and/or depression

 * * * 

Even scrolling through this post and just looking at those colors with a clear, open mind, you'll feel something looking at each one! I like how some of the spaces simply incorporate an accessory or two of the color but still reap the therapeutic effects. You can add orange and yellow throw pillows to increase optimism, for instance. Painting your front door red is done in feng shui to invite prosperity, and it would make sense in color theory because the bright color will stand out and encourage visitors to stop into your shop- or fill you with energy when you arrive home.


Whitfield, T. W. A., & Wiltshire, T. J. (1990). Color psychology: A critical review. Genetic, Social & General Psychology Monographs, 116(4), 387, (link no longer available)

Color and shopping intentions: The intervening effect of price fairness and perceived affect

All images used are from IKEA catalogs, or were at least labeled as such!

Fun Reads: 

Neat Infographic on What Colors You Should Use for Marketing | Color Psychology in Logo Design | Empower Yourself with Color Psychology

What are your favorite colors? I love turquoise and orange but red and yellow are calling to me lately. I'm excited incorporating color therapy into my apartment and day-to-day life.
For daily updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram.


  1. I like the Prince addition to this post, I'll probably have purple rain stuck in my head the whole day!

    1. Good! Bwahaha! I seriously need a record player again to play all my Prince albums :)

    2. And while watching Prince videos / writing the post I was super tempted to just use screen shots from various Prince videos for everything but probably no one else but me would laugh at that...

  2. I painted my front door orange and love it! I always feel happy when I leave my door open and it becomes part of the living room.

    1. I love that! I'm renting and my walls are too tall and textured to bother painting, but I'll be adding curtains, pillows, rugs and maybe some contact paper to the doors? :) A future home's front door will be red and at least one office wall needs to be yellow.

  3. Love this post! I'm an zealot of the Church of Color, and a proud purple preacher. <3

  4. It's amazing how colors can affect us! Like you mentioned, just scrolling through, different colors evoke different reactions/emotions.

    1. Yes indeed! I love scrolling through for that affect. The yellow is like a bold of lightning to the senses and the space with just some green furniture and plants is calming. I wanted to do movie scenes corresponding with the color to drive the point home, too, but rand out of time :)

  5. The things we love to eat, and some things that are dangerous to consume, stand out in nature with brilliant

  6. Throughout this program, students may participate in research, practicum or clinical hours, as well as independent studies or capstone projects related to an area of interest, such as human behavior or development. Open Letter to Soon-to-be College Graduates


I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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