Colour Theory: The Role Of Colour In Marketing

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You may have heard the phrase colour theory in various walks of life. At its core, colour theory includes the science of colours, how people perceive them and the messages they communicate. When a person views a colour, messages are instantly sent to the brain, which informs the person’s judgement of what they’re looking at. Knowing this, it’s no surprise that colour theory is a field which is studied by many marketers. 

Colour can be used by marketers to influence how people think and behave toward a brand, as well as how they interpret information. The choice of colours can help people decide what to focus on and what is important versus what isn’t. By understanding what different colours mean and how they influence the viewer, marketers can get their audience to see what they want them to see. Colour can help your brand stand out against the competition and can allow you to portray your brand the way you want.

An Introduction To Colour Theory

We’ve compiled a handy guide to get you started with colour theory for marketing, including a break-down of the connotations of various colours and popular brands using each one.


In the world of marketing, the colour red has connotations of courage and energy. It’s a bold, eye-catching colour that actually stimulates the appetite and pituitary gland. Knowing that, it’ll come as no surprise to hear that it’s often used when marketing food and drink brands. 

Some notable examples of brands using the colour red in marketing include Kellogs, CocaCola, KFC and Budweiser. 


Red in Coca Cola, Budweiser, KFC and Kellogg's Logos



The colour theory behind orange is typically considered to be very friendly and cheerful, exuding warmth. It’s seen as a welcoming colour and can be used in marketing to give the brand an air of amiability. It can also have connotations of youthfulness and confidence, making it a natural choice for brands aiming to appear fun and full of life. 

Some examples of brands using the colour orange in their marketing efforts are Amazon, Nickelodeon, Blogger, Mozilla Firefox and Fanta.


Orange in Fanta, Nickelodeon, Amazon, Firefox and Blogger logos




Studies have shown that the eyes see yellow first, making it an obvious choice when it comes to marketing. If you want to stand out, yellow might be the colour for you. As far as connotations go, the colour yellow exudes optimism and positivity. 

Brands that use yellow in their marketing include Subway. McDonalds, DHL, Nikon, Imdb and Shell.


Yellow in Subway, Shell, DHL, IMDB, McDonald's and Nikon logos



If you want your brand to exude growth and freshness, green is the way to go. It has connotations of health and balance, and is a common choice for brands related to the outdoors. 

Some examples of brands who use the colour green in their marketing are Monster, Tropicana, Starbucks, ASDA, Land Rover and Spotify.


Green in Tropicana, Starbucks, Monster, Land Rover, Asda, Spotify logos



Blue is a common choice for brands related to the medical industry, or technological businesses, as it has connotations of dependability and security. If you want your business to appear trustworthy, blue is the way to go.

Examples of brands who use the colour blue include HP, Twitter, Dell, IBM, Nasa and Pfizer.


Blue in Twitter, Dell, HP, Nasa, IBM & Pfizer logos



The colour purple provokes feelings of nostalgia. It’s a sentimental colour, making it a common choice for gift and greetings card brands. Purple also exudes elegance and imagination.

Brands that use the colour purple in their marketing include Cadbury, Yahoo, Hallmark, Aussie and Taco Bell.


Purple in Cadbury, Aussie, Hallmark, Taco Bell & Yahoo! logos


Colour Theory Conclusion

Now, it would be naive to say that everyone has the same reactions to colours. Interpretation is too heavily influenced by personal experiences and opinions to make that generalisation. However, having an understanding of how many people may interpret colours can be valuable. Although there are no clear-cut guidelines for choosing colours for your brand, research into colour theory can help you make good, educated decisions. If you’re looking to reinvent or launch your brand, contact us today to learn more about our brand discovery sessions.

Take a look at our blog on how businesses and brands use varied marketing techniques to generate results.

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