Color Symbolism


Different colors have different affects on people. When consumers see colors they attach meanings, feelings, and symbolism to them. Researchers have found many similarities between consumers’ associations with colors. Product marketers use the knowledge of how consumers respond to color to help clearly communicate a product’s message and attributes. This knowledge is also used to differentiate a product from competitors, hopefully resulting in a purchase.

Consumer reaction to color is psychological and physiological. Experts claim that all cultures react the same to color. When hot colors, red, orange, and yellow, are viewed, people’s heart rate and blood pressure increase (Marney, 1996).

The opposite is true for light and cool colors. Blues, greens, and purples have a calming affect on people. Blood pressure and heart rates tend to drop. Many professional sports teams have attempted to use this affect to their advantage. Several teams have painted their opponent’s locker room light blue or pastel pink with the hope that the team would be lulled and calmed before the big game.

Red has been found to make people more assertive. Red cars have been stereotyped as cars that will probably break the speed limit more than other colors, especially cool colored cars. The neutral colors, black, white, and gray, have been found to have no affect or evoke no physiological reaction in humans (Marney, 1996).

While consumer color preferences come from many different aspects of life and media exposure, scientific research has demonstrated that human interaction and response to color has deeper meanings.

Use the tabs above to explore each color individually and see what they mean to us.