The Psychology of Color: How Your Color Choices Impact Sales


You probably don’t think about color much. Maybe you leave the graphic design up to someone else. Perhaps you just use the same colors for everything, regardless of what it is. If any of those apply, however, you need to stop, sooner rather than later, and start paying attention to color.

The fact is that color can and does influence customers, and if you are not making the right color choices, you might be missing out on sales through your direct mail campaigns and elsewhere.

A Matter of Contrast

The first thing you need to realize about color choice is that color blindness is a factor. People who are colorblind struggle to distinguish between complementary colors, but even people who are not affected can find it difficult or uncomfortable to make sense of these kinds of color combinations.

Make sure that all of your color combination choices are high contrast and easy to read, or you might be wasting money on your direct mail campaigns. On the other hand, you could choose lower contrast tone on tone combinations for less important content, so that it intentionally fades into the background.

Color and Mood

Color is proven to have an impact on mood. An example would be the color blue, and its subconscious association with blue skies. Which explains its reputation for stability and security. We see blue as a safe, non-stormy sky color. Here are a few other subconscious and scientific connections between color and mood:

  • Green is the color that is least likely to cause eyestrain, which also makes it the most restful color. That is why it is used in high stress areas, like hospital operating rooms.
  • Orange has been scientifically proven to increase oxygen to the brain, which is part of the reason it’s a color associated with energy and enthusiasm.
  • Black is seen as aggressive. So much so that it has been associated with aggression in hockey, prompting the NHL to ban black jerseys for home teams!
  • Grey is a good choice for law firms and accountants, because it is seen as passive and objective. Which are great qualities in legal or financial representation!
  • Red is the color of passion and speed, which may well be why it is the most popular color for Ferraris! It can also represent fear, however, so exercise caution!
  • Purple is seen as courageous and regal, so it is a good choice for authoritative marketing pieces.
  • Generally, bright shades are seen as energetic, while cooler, muted shades are seen as soothing and restful. So the shade and tone of a particular color has an impact too.

Of course, color is also a design choice, and closely tied to your corporate colors and profile. Make sure that you have a great graphic design team working on your direct mail campaign to ensure that no matter which colors you choose for your direct mail pieces (and other printed marketing materials) you convey the feeling that you want to.

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