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Jun 19, 2014

The Science of Colour: In Marketing

“A colour is as strong as the impression it creates.” – Ivan Albright

The psychology of colour as it relates to persuasion is one of the most interesting and controversial aspects that marketing can evoke. A successful marketing strategy heavily replies on its initial impression and what feelings it can trigger within the consumer and towards their purchasing decision.

Sight is the strongest developed sense within humans, so it is only natural that 90% of a product’s assessment is based on colour choice alone. Colour can heavily affect us, and it has been used as a catalyst for affecting human emotion in marketing for years. It can draw immediate interest or encourage the eye to become detached from the subject in question within seconds, so, with this being said – what exactly is the science of colour within marketing and design?

Here are a few interesting examples of colour application and how it can promote or demote your business profile and company values.

What colours and why?

“Colour speaks all languages.” – Joseph Addison

Colour is a constant within day-to-day life, and as modern-day individuals we have become unaware of surrounding colours and the impact a single shade can have on our mood or behaviour. This very reaction has become a prime marketing tool within visual consumer design, and understanding the basic colour association and interactions can encourage your business to promote first and lasting impressions.

The primary colours

Yellow is one of the most noticeable and positively associated colours. It creates a cheerful, impactful and attention grabbing statement colour. Yellow connotes energy, brightness and vivid qualities, yet if overused on a larger scale, can become overpowering to the eye and can cause the opposite effect. Use colour accents and small design detailing for optimum results.

Blue, often one of the most commonly used colours in today’s design world, gives calming and natural qualities to a tonal palette. Blue is often associated with tranquillity, honour, trust and productivity if the appropriate shade is applied.

Often used in medical, utilities, health-care, tradesmen, technology and dental marketing strategies due to its clean, fresh and ‘health’ related palette.

Green offers natural and organic associations to design methods due to its bold yet warming qualities. Green is actually one of the easiest colours on the eye as it is often related to safety, optimism, harmony, wealth, luck and can improve stress relief.

Green is often mostly used in medicine, science, recruitment, tourism and ecological-business marketing design as it offers natural and environmentally friendly reactions from viewers.

Red is possibly the most intense mood colour of all, offering extreme colour associations with boldness, love and life. Red is also connected to danger due to common hazardous and road sign usage; so if using red within your logo or design ethnic – try not to overuse to avoid miscommunication.

Red is often used throughout the fast food, toy and technological marketing design strategies as it offers a youthful yet vivid palette.


Orange is often associated with energy and warmth of colour. As an extremely eye-catching and vibrant shade; it often denotes new beginnings, enthusiasm and creativity to the eye, creating positive reactions. Perfect colour pairings include hints of vivid burnt orange hues with cooler blues to create a subtle yet exciting design colour palette.


Purple is a truly historical colour, and is often connected to royalty, nobility, wealth and power. Purple is also associated with spirituality, giving a calming and tranquil quality to design use. It can also appear playful yet artificial in appearance as it is rarely used in many design colour ways.



Monochromes, especially black and white palettes, are still increasingly popular in both traditional and contemporary marketing print design. White signifies purity, cleanliness and youth, and is also known to project the absence of other colour, making it ideal for providing effective negative space within design.

Black is a symbol of power and authority, and is often related to elegance and sophistication with an air of mystery. Black can be considered a neat and traditional palette choice, often used for bold and striking logos for full appeal. Greys, the mid-tone of monochromes are often thought to be conservative, traditional and a little serious. Shades of grey also act as a great base colour for bolder shades visibility and prominence.

Colour can brand your company, and it’s an extremely important to address colour perception and use it to a branding advantage. Here is a colour chart example of major brands that have understood strong colour association and become reputable through their colour usage.

Colour is an extremely important design tool in today’s world, and although often overlooked, can be a crucial part of a company’s successful reputation and overall brand reputation. Here at Direct Letterbox Marketing, we are dedicated to providing your company with high quality and effective marketing and leaflet delivery services. For further information regarding our services, products or for advice please feel free to contact our friendly and creative team on 0800 028 6353 today!

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