Feeling blue. Seeing red. Green with envy. Humans have used colors to describe feelings for centuries. But did you know color may actually influence emotion? It’s called color psychology.

Researchers have studied color’s effect on emotion for decades, from pink’s ability to calm aggression to how color affects consumer behavior to its use in marketing. When painting your business, color may influence your clients to buy or sign on the dotted line, assuming you use it correctly. In this post, we look at ways you can use color to benefit your business.

Color and Emotion

The graphic below illustrates the emotions many people report associating with certain colors.

Color psychology

When considering color psychology, researchers believe that much depends on the viewer’s expectations and thoughts of a particular color. But, when we take it a step further and look at how your business uses color, we must also consider your brand.

How Does Color Psychology Affect Your Customers?

First, we must point out that not every business should use color in the same ways. The two main contributing factors are the type of business you run and who your target audience is. Before we dive into business type, let’s look at some color statistics. This should help increase your understanding of your target audience. Statistics are courtesy of this color study by Joe Hallock, whose research is referenced as the standard across the Internet.

What’s Your Favorite Color?

Across demographic groups, one color stands out as the favorite: Blue. Forty-two percent of the study’s respondents chose blue as the hue they love best.

Broken down by gender, color preferences look like this:

You’ll see one major difference between these charts. Purple doesn’t register with men at all but it’s women’s second favorite color.

What Color Do You Hate?

In addition to knowing what your customers like, it’s important to know what they don’t like. As a whole, people chose orange. But let’s break it down by gender again.

Color psychology

If your only goal is appealing to customers aesthetically, these color statistics give you a good idea where to begin. Next, though, we look at how color affects customers in a variety of business types.

Color Psychology and Marketing

As we look at the best ways to utilize colors for different industries, you’ll see that your favorite color won’t always play a role when it comes to marketing.

Retail Clothing Stores

If you sell clothes, much depends on the gender of your target audience. But, you must also remember that your target audience is not necessarily the person swiping their card at the register. This adds a second layer to the color equation.

For example, children like the energy and simplicity of the primary colors (red, blue, and yellow). However, it isn’t likely they’re paying for their purchases. This is where the universal favorite color, blue, enters the picture. You can use it as the base shade of any color scheme and hit the sweet spot for the majority of shoppers.

Is yours a men’s clothing store? Business wear or sports gear? For the former, a monochromatic blue palette supplemented by grays and blacks suggests a feeling of sophistication. If the focus is casual wear, though, you may want some red accents. Balance is important. Read our article on color schemes to understand how colors work (and look) together.

If you run a women’s boutique, the color study linked above tells us that women prefer softer colors. Consider tints (pure colors lightened by adding white) and pastels. Do you sell clothes to both men and women? Blues combined with earth tones or grays are a safe bet, since they appeal to both men and women.

Of course, if your target audience has a very particular aesthetic, respect that. Don’t paint your goth clothing store in shades of pink and baby blue.

color psychologyCreative Shops

Book stores, florists, new age shops, and gift stores all benefit from a creative color palette: purples, greens, and turquoise. For neutrals, consider the softer earth tones or grays. This helps balance your color scheme.


Researchers found that warm colors – particularly reds, oranges, and yellows – increase appetite. This probably comes as no surprise, since most restaurants use one or more of these colors in their décor. However, the type of restaurant you run plays a role in determining the best shades, tints, and tones to use.

Fast food places rely on red and yellow to stimulate appetite. Yellow has a second attribute, though: It keeps patrons moving. That’s vital when speedy turnover is important. Add white to your palette to convey the feeling of cleanliness.

For a coffee shop, café, or mid-range restaurant, consider red and orange, which both whet the appetite and impart feelings of energy. Customers have been found to eat more in this palette provided it includes neutral shades for balance. That’s because too much red or orange tends to feel overwhelming.

If you run a high-end restaurant, make your base colors ones that imply opulence and luxury. Black is a popular choice, as are golds and purples. To stimulate appetite, you can add subtle accents of red and orange, just choose muted shades. Popular options are deep burgundy, coral, peach, and terracotta.

Professional Services

When your business is selling your own expertise or services, you want clients to feel confident in your expertise. However, much also depends on the type of expertise you sell. For example, law firms often rely on the power and authority of blacks and grays, or rich earth tones. The same is true for financial institutions. If you sell design services, you likely rely on creative colors, particularly purple.

Are You Ready to Put Color to Work for You?

If it’s time to paint your business, contact the team at Five Star Pro Painting for a no-cost, no-obligation estimate. We’ll help you choose the perfect palette to inspire your customers.