How colour is used in advertising

Colour plays a massive part in advertising. It can be used for example to attract, repel, enrage, calm, encourage and discourage the viewer. Every day we are all manipulated by colour without us realising it. Red, for example, makes us feel warm or warns of danger. Red is also used to evoke the feeling of power and size, whereas blue is thought of as cold, clean, clear open.

Designers for many years have recognised the relationship between colours and emotions and use these to great effect in their designs.


Here is an infographic showing how top brands utilise colour to promote their brand and how those colours may affect the viewer.  We can take this information and use it to good effect in our own designs.









The use of colour can provoke an audience to exhibit certain behaviour. Below I have copied a few paragraphs from a blog (click here) to show how this works.

Warm bright colours

warm bright colors

Beige, yellow, orange, pink, red and similar. These are active, eye-catching colours with a friendly nature that may induce a sense of courage and energy.

Warm bright colours visually enlarge objects and make them seem closer. Due to their high visibility, I advise limiting their use among subdued colours.

Cold bright colours

cold bright colors

Lavender, silver, azure add subtlety, full of aesthetics and freshness, accents.

Such cold but bright tones enhance a sensation of modernity and professionalism if harmoniously combined with grey. It’s a nice composition for businesses, commerce and service websites especially with health, cosmetic and medicine products.

Cold dark colours

cold dark colors

Violet, blue, turquoise, green, navy give a feeling of stability and quality. These shades are often placed as accompanying colours. Although they don’t attract attention they emphasise the content.

Cold dark colours are widely used on business websites for ambitious and hardworking qualities with a special highlight for government, science, automotive and computer products.

Warm dark colours

warm dark colors

Gold, purple, brown express classics, tradition, luxury and relaxation. They blend well in expensive and elegant designs for young and rich.

Mixed with cold colours give an impression of modernity and novelty. Perfect for brands engaged in finance, consulting, architectonics and craft.

Neutral colours


White, grey and black help to create contrasts and bring all the other colours out. They don’t convey any particular message on their own. Neutrals are here to support their neighbours by playing the role of complementation on websites.

Their use can be truly universal as they work well in a variety of applications. Black can be combined with bright colours and white with dark colours, making a classic, almost universal combination. (blurGroup, 2017)


Another source of reference is It goes into detail about how some of the top known brands use colour to inform and convey a feeling.



blurGroup. (2017). The Impact of Color in Advertising, Marketing, and Design. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017]. (2017). Cite a Website – Cite This For Me. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].

Miah, K. (2017). Color Psychology: How Big Brands Use Colors in Advertising and Marketing. [online] The Shutterstock Blog. Available at: [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].