Use and meaning of colors in marketing and design

It is already known that for tastes, colors, but when it comes to using them for your brand, simple personal taste is not enough, so keep in mind what a color may be saying about you.

Without seeking to be purists, or entering to define the nuances or tones of the color circle , we want to make a brushstroke on the general use of colors applied to neuromarketing , to help brands choose the most suitable to build the visual identity as part of their Corporate branding .

As always, the first thing we have to consider is who we are targeting, how our potential audience or buyer person is and where he lives, because colors can have very different meanings depending on the culture to which we associate them.

We react to them automatically and interpret them instantly and much more effectively than words. That is why, although there are many factors to consider in a marketing strategy , we can not leave to chance the choice of color, as it can have a great initial impact and help the brand recall in the long term.

The correct choice of a color can serve to reinforce our personality and our values ​​as a company and, in specific campaigns, associate it consistently with the type of product we want to sell or promote, and may influence the intention to buy.

So, we leave you a small guide where we briefly explain the main properties of the most basic colors, to take into account according to the approach of our company and the products or services we offer.


White is not exactly a color, but a value, since it is obtained from the sum of all colors.
It means light, purity, goodness, innocence, tranquility, equality and unity … it has a positive connotation but beware! Because in the East it is linked to death and mourning.
At the advertising level, it can be associated with freshness, cleanliness and hygiene, making it especially suitable for medical products related to health. Or simplicity if we link it to technology.


Yellow is the color of the sun and translates into optimism, joy, happiness, energy, brilliance, warmth, intelligence .
If it is a pure yellow is used to draw attention, it is a warning symbol, especially if it is combined with black. In nature, some animals have yellow and black spots to alert their predators, as it may be indicating the presence of toxic substances in their skin.
It is a very light color, so in advertising it is not recommended to use it to promote luxury or prestige products.
Instead, it is ideal for linking it to leisure, is a vital and joyful color, stimulates mental activity and generates muscular energy. It is very suitable for business linked to activities for children. But beware! Because, in excess, it can have a disturbing and exhausting effect, so it is not recommended to paint children’s rooms.


Orange is enthusiasm, happiness, attraction, creativity, determination, confidence, success, ambition, encouragement and generosity . Collect the happiness of the yellow and the energy of the red.
It is a very warm color, without being aggressive as red, stimulates creativity and has an invigorating, vibrant, extroverted and uninhibited effect. It means adventure, optimism, self-confidence and sociability, making it ideal for communication with young people.
It has a lot of visibility, so it can also be used to attract attention.
In advertising, orange makes an expensive product seem more accessible.
It is very suitable to promote food products as it stimulates the appetite. As for example we have used in the case of the kitchen robot Mycook .


Red is a very intense color in many ways, it is blood and fire. It is associated with energy, courage and courage , and strongly linked to passion and love .
Because of its high visibility it is related to warnings and dangers, so it is often used in important notices or prohibitions.
Red raises blood pressure and increases the respiratory rate in human metabolism, so it creates a need for urgency.
If we talk about marketing, red does not have to mean that a brand or product is economic but, because of its ability to excel in the range of colors, and its urgency, it is used to attract attention, often to highlight offers or Special discounts.
In addition, it is used to suggest eroticism and provoke feelings linked to passion.


It is strongly associated with femininity and romanticism . It is often used for products aimed at women, although in its paler version it is linked to aspects related to childhood and innocence.


Halfway between the stability of blue and the energy of red, it symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, ambition, wisdom, creativity, independence and dignity . It is a color associated with royalty, it suggests richness and extravagance.
In advertising we can focus, in its most intense version, the female audience, to evoke romantic feelings and nostalgic.
Also to products or services related to science fiction, magic and mystery. Being a color little present in nature, it has a certain magic aura and, therefore, is also one of the colors preferred by children before adolescence.


It is the color of the sky and the sea, linked to stability and depth . It represents freshness, spirituality, trust, freedom, patience, loyalty, peace and honesty .
It is a cold color linked to intelligence and consciousness. It has an effect of calm and tranquility, even, sometimes, of sadness.
At the level of communication can be used with services that have to do with cleanliness and freshness, or with products directly related to air and water.
It can also be linked to high-precision products, either with technology and science.
It is a color typically used by corporate companies, to generate responsibility and confidence.
It is also a very well accepted color among the male audience, making it ideal for brands or products focused on men.
However it is advisable to avoid it for foodstuffs, and in cooking recipes, because it is an appetite suppressant.


It is the main color of nature , it is growth , renewal and harmony .
It is associated with health , security , stability , peace . It suggests freshness, tranquility, fertility and abundance .
In a very soft tone, it is the most relaxing color, so it is often used in hospitals, healthcare personnel and medical products.
At the corporate level we associate ecological, natural, sustainable brands …
Other applications can be given in relation to banking and finance, because, in a vibrant dark tone, we relate to money.


It is the color of knowledge and wisdom , is associated with quality products, reliable, sophisticated and high value, so it is a recurrent in technology brands.
In graphic design, it is often used as the secondary color of the brand, for its visual neutrality. It is a color that blends very well with other more vibrant colors.


If white was light, black is the total absence of it, it is the utmost darkness , emptiness . For this part it represents the fear, the mystery and the secret . It is authoritarian and, in excess, can be overwhelming.
In the world of marketing we associate it with elegance and sophistication and it is linked to classic products, luxury or high quality. A good example of this can be the corporate identity of Oculting that we designed in Ondho.
Black is another color that, like gray, is often used to combine with others, as it does not compete and generates a great contrast.

As you have already seen, there are applications of certain colors that we have very internalized, but not all are familiar with the meanings and uses of many of them, much of it is historical and have lost their connotations over time.

Obviously you can use them and combine them according to different criteria, without this means that it will negatively affect the perception of your customers or your sales, but it is good to know the feelings that you can get to use when using them to justify or discard your choice. Think of the colors to use also to differentiate you from the competition .

At the end of this post with resources for designers we propose some tools with palettes to play to combine colors. See if you can find inspiration!

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