Color Psychology in Graphic Design: How Colors Evoke Certain Emotions

BusinessColor Psychology in Graphic Design: How Colors Evoke Certain Emotions

Graphic design is more than just the creation of appealing visuals. It considers many factors: composition, balance, and, of course, colors. Colors can create a certain mood, evoke different emotions, and eventually influence the decision to buy or try a particular product or service.

Read further to learn why color is important in design and how you can use color correctly while following graphic design trends 2024.

Emotional design: how a color can influence emotions and purchasing decisions

Imagine yourself walking along the shelves in a store and looking at various products. How do you spot the product you need?

Most likely by searching for packaging in a familiar color. The same can happen if you’re searching for a new product—the packaging and color might influence your final purchasing decision.

Statistics support that: according to marketing research, 90% of people can base their snap judgments about a product on color alone. And that’s just one of many ways color influences people.

Here are some other reasons to approach designing in color with consideration:

  1. Color can make customers think that a product is expensive and of high quality or cheap and more affordable. For instance, black and gold packaging is often perceived as luxurious.
  2. Colors can create different emotions, and these emotions can influence consumer behavior. For instance, the color red is often associated with passion and energy, but it can also create a sense of urgency and encourage people to buy something impulsively.
  3. Because of these emotional associations, colors can also support certain communication and brand identity. For instance, it can be difficult to imagine the branding of a yoga studio in red, energetic colors. However, it would be much less surprising to see the same branding in blue or green shades, which are often associated with calmness and tranquility.
  4. Colors can improve brand recognition if they are used consistently. Imagine your brand having an identity in blue, orange, and white colors. While you might not be able to use only these colors on social media, you can edit photos to make the blue and orange shades more prominent or add certain elements to the brand colors to ensure consistency. When customers associate specific colors with a brand, it enhances recall and fosters a connection.
  5. Color can help increase conversion rates. For instance, a vibrant and contrasting color might be employed to draw attention to a call-to-action button. Studies show that red buttons increase conversions more than green ones.

FAQ: What is the color theory in graphic design?

Color theory is a set of principles and guidelines exploring and explaining how colors interact, blend, and influence each other.

It includes the color wheel, color harmony, contrast, and the psychological and emotional effects of colors. Designers use color theory to make informed and aesthetically pleasing color choices.

Color symbolism in graphics: which colors to use to evoke a particular emotion

As different colors evoke different emotions, picking the shade that will truly deliver your desired message can be challenging. If you want to make the most out of your colored graphics, pay attention to color symbolism.

FAQ: What are the emotions of colors in graphic design?

Colors in graphic design can evoke specific emotions and help create various moods. For instance, purple is often viewed as a luxurious and creative color, while orange often brings warmth and enthusiasm. Each color can create unique emotional associations.

Here are the most common associations with various colors.


Red is associated with passion, energy, excitement, and love. It is often used to grab attention, convey urgency, or evoke strong emotions. Red is commonly seen in sale signs or used to highlight essential elements.

However, if you use red in your designs, be careful; if there’s too much of it (especially if the shade is bright), it can overwhelm users.

Various countries associate red with different things. In China, this color is used to attract good luck and is typically associated with happiness and prosperity. However, in South Africa, red is a mourning color.


Blue is associated with calm, trust, serenity, and reliability. Due to this, it is widely used in corporate settings, tech company branding, and in cases when you need to make a brand look and feel professional.

Different shades of blue can have different associations, too. For instance, light blues are often viewed as refreshing and friendly colors, while dark blues are more commonly associated with strength and reliability. In many cultures and traditions, blue has religious and spiritual associations.


Yellow is associated with happiness, optimism, and energy. It helps create a cheerful and energetic mood and is often used for promoting positivity and grabbing attention.

Yellow is the color of mourning in Egypt, the color for merchants in India, and the color of courage in Japan.


Green is associated with nature, growth, harmony, and balance. In design, it is used by brands that work on environmental themes, health, and tranquility. Green conveys a sense of freshness and balance.

You can use brighter shades of green for vibrant and energetic designs, dark greens to create a sense of stability, and olive greens to emphasize natural origins.


Black is associated with elegance and power. It helps achieve a sleek and sophisticated look and is often used for luxury and high-end products.

Black can be perceived very differently, depending on the colors used with it. It can look modern, conservative, rebellious, and traditional.


White is associated with purity, simplicity, and cleanliness. It can be used in combinations with other colors to enhance them and is very popular in minimalist designs.

In the West, white has mostly positive associations. It’s the color of a bride’s dress or a doctor’s work clothes; it’s also often associated with gods or angels. However, in many Eastern countries, white is the color of mourning and death.

FAQ: How is graphic design related to psychology?

Graphic design is about knowing how visual elements, colors, shapes, and layouts influence human perception and emotions, and using this knowledge to create meaningful visuals.

Designers rely on psychological principles to create pictures that resonate with their target audience, evoke specific emotions, and effectively convey different messages.

To sum up

Picking the right colors for your designs helps you achieve desired goals, be it brand recognition, conversion rate increase, or creating certain associations with your product or service.

When choosing colors, pay attention to common associations with them, and keep color theory in mind to make the most out of your designs.

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