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How can learning color psychology help new designers be better?

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Color portrays a crucial role in graphic design, as does the psychology of how humans comprehend color.

Studies covering color psychology and its effects on human behavior show that it takes 90 seconds for a customer to make an opinion about a product and 90% of the time it is inspired by colors.

Color is the simplest element to remember when it comes to facing new things. The concept of color psychology can be utilized in user experience design as well as marketing.

Research shows that light and color can affect our mood, sleep, heart rate, and even our well-being. A fascinating example can be seen in our day-to-day lives: blue and green light pushes us to wake up in the morning.

Because of this, a well-considered color palette can improve a design from good to great.

But before we dive into the colors themselves, let’s learn what color psychology actually means:

Color Psychology is the study of how the colors we perceive influence our thoughts and feelings. We respond to colors based on a complex series of interactions between our personal tastes, our family upbringing, and our cultural background.

Color can affect perceptions in subtle ways, for example, it can enrich or detract from the way that food tastes.

For this purpose, every brand and business uses colors deliberately in their logo, product designs, packaging, advertisements, and websites.

Logo Design on different backgrounds.

Varying on the users' age, gender, and the impulsivity of their actions, they have different responses to colors and shapes. Color preferences are not universal but there are universal differences between genders preferences in some colors over others.

Color preferences can depend on:


When promoting your business, it is essential to know who your focus audience is, in order to customize your marketing efforts appropriately. When researching users and their demographics, age is an aspect that should be analyzed carefully.

In the book Color Psychology and Color Therapy, by Faber Birren, you can learn which colors are attractive for different age groups. Bearing in mind the color psychology of blue and red, he discovered that blue is consistently desirable throughout life.

Yellow is preferred in childhood, which preference tends to decrease as we age. As people mature, they prefer colors of shorter wavelengths (blue, green, violet) rather than colors of longer wavelengths (red, orange, yellow).

Most audiences like energetic and saturated colors, on the other hand, older people often think that showy bright colors are repulsive. So, when designing a product or marketing material for older users, you should be wary with bright colors. Too bright colors can repel the older audience.

Gender differences: Men vs Women

Although findings are vague, numerous studies continue to suggest that men and women have fluctuating preferences when it comes to masculine and feminine color choices.

Research on color sensitivity indicates that men prefer bright, contrasting colors, while women would rather choose softer shades. Both men and women like blue and green, but many women admire purple while this color repels men.


In most Western cultures, the color white is associated with aspiration, innocence, chastity, and hope. But in parts of Asia, white is related to bad luck, death, and mourning.

For this reason, it is important for web developers and designers to look at the cultural connotations of their color palettes based on their targeted audience for the website or product they are creating.

To prevent negative cultural connotations, for products that target a global audience, a balance between colors and imagery is necessary.

THE 60-30-10 RULE

This rule is a theory for making color palettes that are aesthetically pleasing and balanced.

The goal is that one color, usually a neutral one, makes up 60% of the palette. An additional supplementary color makes up 30% of the palette and then the third color the remaining 10%.

Choosing a set of some uncommon hue can lift the esthetics and design. Additionally, it can be the first passage toward making a brand palette that is much more advanced than the one of its competitors, in this manner setting the brand apart, making it more prominent and memorable.

Utilizing the right colors and color palettes in business can increase the success of that business.

This is why it is important to use colors that sell. We can utilize color theory and color psychology to get people to click on a specific button more often.

Studies have been made on whether the red or green button will convert more. You might initially think the green one would win, but the red button outperformed the green one. The color red got more clicks than green.

The bottom line is, that there isn’t a magical color that will consistently perform better for all websites, products, and globally. With the help of color psychology, you can get the general rule that can help you use colors to your advantage and get more clicks, more sales, and grow your business faster and easier.

Learning about all that it is safe to say that more than 90% of buying decisions are made just on visual clues. These rules are not one size fits all but are more likely the general guidelines based on typical reactions of people to certain colors or color combinations.

How well your design is going to be, also depends on how many colors you use. It can make your design more effective or fall flat to the bottom of the chain. Before you choose your color palette think about what you’re trying to communicate and to whom.


This type of design seems modern and sophisticated but can also reduce the viewer’s intrigue because of its simplicity. By using one color you risk of putting the design in a box, which is great for hitting the targeted audience, but it can reduce brands diversity.

When using one color you also need to think about the application. Will the design look good on every background?


Using two colors equally might not be the best approach. The best way would be to emphasize the effect of one color by using one more over the other, like 2/3 or ¾ of the design.

Whatever you decide to do make sure every color that you use in your design serves a purpose.

Sometimes unusual color combinations can help a brand to stand out. Just make sure to choose colors that don’t vibrate with each other. It can strain the exes of your viewers and discourage them to click or buy.


When using three colors just use the rule 60-30-10 and make sure the colors compliment each other.

Multiple color use in logo design.


Using more than three colors can get tricky. It can confuse and overwhelm your viewer. When doing a multicolor design keep in mind how the colors look together and how will they look printed. Some colors in different hues can become muddy.



You can also get a better description about individual colors and color palettes that work good with that color in advertising through Canva’s interactive tool on the meaning and symbolism of colors.


Red, Orange, and Yellow and their tertiary variations are the warm colors. In general, they are positive, passionate, happy, enthusiastic, energizing.

RED: positive associations (passion, strong emotions, excitement, love, confidence, comfort, warmth), negative associations (danger, anger, violence, fire, warfare)

ORANGE: positive associations (excitement, energy, health, and vitality, friendly, enthusiasm, beauty, earthiness, seasonal change, affordability, warmth), negative associations (none)

YELLOW: positive associations (warm, cheerful, attention-grabbing, happiness, hope), negative associations (anger, frustration, caution/danger, cowardice, deceit)


Green, blue, and purple and their tertiary variations are the cool colors. They are more reserved, relaxed, professional, and calming than warm colors.

GREEN: positive associations (nature, growth, health, new beginnings, money, renewal, calm, abundance, soothing, fertility, good luck, harmony, balance), negative associations (jealousy, envy, greed, lack of experience).

BLUE: positive associations (authority, calming, conservative, masculine, non-threatening, peaceful, refreshing, reliable, responsible, serene, stable, strength, tranquil), negative associations (sadness, depression, distance, vulgarity, adult themes).

PURPLE: positive associations (magical, creative, mysterious, spiritual, imaginative, luxurious, royalty, romance, wealth, military honor), negative associations (none).


These colors are critical to graphic design because they’re so often functioning as the backdrop and are expected to produce the right effects in concert with brighter accent colors. They can also speak volumes on their own and carry their own sophisticated meanings and messages. These colors are white, black, brown, beige, and gray.

WHITE: positive associations (cleanliness, bridal, innocence, virginity, healthcare, purity, goodness, peace), negative associations (cold, dull, bland, impersonal, uninspiring, sterile)

BLACK: positive associations (magic, Halloween, power, fashion, elegance, mystery, wealth, formality), negative associations (death, evil, intimidation, mourning, control, bad luck, the occult).

GRAY: positive association (professional, formal, sophisticated), negative association (depressing, dull, muddy).

BROWN AND BEIGE: positive association (earthy, down-to-earth, warm, family, dependability, steadfastness, comfortable, reliable), negative associations (dull, dirty).


Color psychology isn’t a set-in-stone rule. It is more a generalization for better approachability to a targeted audience.

The more experience you gain as a designer, the better you’ll get in utilizing the right colors and color combinations for the right projects.

The most important thing that you should never forget is to always look outside the box, some rules are meant to be broken, always be creative and true to yourself.



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