Psychology of Color
Whether you have explicitly learned about the psychology of color or not, you have personally experienced its effects.
Don’t believe us? Picture this…
You’re walking down the street on a sunny day, and see a large group of people all dressed completely in black. What emotion would you feel? Likely your response would be to feel somber or sad since black is widely recognized as the color of mourning. Whether you realize it or not, in this instance, color is the driving force behind the emotion you feel. If you had seen the same group of people dressed in bright pastels, you would think nothing of it. The color involved is a cue for your brain to react in a specific way.
Color does this to us all the time; we just don’t pay attention to it. Color Psychology is the study of just how much we are impacted by color. Through the study of color, we have learned that it has the power to affect our mood, change our sleep schedule, and even alter how food tastes. Color can push us to make one decision over another and shape how we think and feel.
Color is powerful. Successful marketers understand this, and you need to as well.
Color in Social Media
Cool, cool, but what does this have to do with you as a content creator?
Well, both brands and influencers need to understand the subconscious messaging they are relaying to their audience.
It’s been found that 90% of snap judgments are made on color use alone; in other words, color matters. So the best way to convey your message is by understanding the right color choices to evoke the emotion you are going for.
You have a target group and a message (or overall feeling) you want to communicate to best represent yourself and your brand. Whether or not you are actively utilizing color to convey your message, it’s happening. So you might as well take charge.
When choosing the color palette for your social media, you need to consider three subgroups and how they work together.
- Color Connotations
- Color Harmony
- Color Context
To convey the proper message through colors, you need to understand the different emotions each color elicits. While it’s true some colors mean different things based on what country you are in, some are almost universally understood.
Let’s break down a few widely recognized color connotations;
- Red is linked to things like love, excitement, strength, and energy. It’s a color of passion.
- Orange gives off confidence, success, and enthusiasm. Orange is a loud color but in a fun, almost goofy way.
- Yellow represents happiness, cheer, and warmth. This is one of the most positive colorsyou can find.
- Green is linked to things like nature (logical, right?), luck, and freshness. Green gives off a feeling of calm.
- Blue is connected to things like trust, peace, and security. Since blue is also the color of the sky and ocean, it can, like green, evoke calmness from being in nature.
- Pink, more often than not, is linked to softness, sweetness, and compassion. Pink is also associated with love.
- Purple has always been a color of royalty. It implies luxury, and sometimes spirituality. Purple is a mysterious color.
Once you understand the basics behind color connotations, you must learn how to pair them to your benefit.
This brings us to the next subgroup…
Harmony of Colors
Let’s say you want to portray yourself as a happy, trustworthy, and confident person. Using the breakdown above, you might think you should throw some yellow, blue, and orange in your next post.
Yeah, please don’t. Not the best combo, and your followers will feel totally overwhelmed.
Instead, take some time to learn what colors work together in harmony.
When pairing colors, you want to select:
- Complementary colors (that lie on the opposite sides of the color wheel)
- Split-complementary colors (that lie one space in either direction from the opposite color)
- Harmonious/ analogous colors (that lie next to each other on the color wheel).
These combinations will appeal most naturally to your audience and help you plan out content to evoke your selected emotion.
Let’s look at an example of color harmony paired with color connotation.
Maybe you are a yoga instructor and want to convey calm and connection on your page. You might consider going with analogous colors. We know both blue and green signify calm and nature, so try selecting a shade of blue, a shade of green, and maybe even a shade of purple. You don’t need to saturate all of your posts with these three colors, but they can serve as building blocks for your color palette.
You have learned what colors tend to mean and how to work with them in groupings; now it’s time to touch on the third factor we mentioned, context.
Your posts don’t exist in a vacuum. They're going to be surrounded by the platform's specific color palette. So the last thing to take into consideration when planning your next post is the social media platform you will be uploading to. Ideally, the colors in your post should stand out from the featured colors but not clash with them.
Each platform has specific complementing colors proven to work best for performance, so let’s look at those now!
Best Colors for Social Media by Individual Platform
Top performing colors; bright colors like yellow, purple, red, and orange.
Since its first launch, Facebook branding has been built around shades of blue and white.
Research shows that using bright, clear, and energetic colors can increase Facebook likes and shares.
If we look back to our color wheel graphic, some color combinations that would work well would be reds, oranges, and purples. Given the prominent use of blue in the platform already, try not to overdo it with shades of blue.
Top performing colors; blue, pink, and yellow.
Instagram uses a variety of colors on its interface, making pairing a bit more difficult than with Facebook. Don’t get discouraged because this also means you have more wiggle room with which colors you can use.
Research does show that lighter monochromatic and neutral colors tend to be favored more.
This isn’t to say you can’t choose deeper colors, just consider using a mixture here and there.
Top performing colors; yellow, black, blue, and white
Twitter isn’t a visually dominant app, but it's still important to understand the most commonly used and successful colors. According to Teodora Dobre, the most widely successful colors on Twitter are yellow, black, blue, and white.
More than likely, you are Tweeting written content over visual content, but keep this information in mind.
Top performing colors; red, purple, and pink.
Pinterest breaks the mold a little bit as posts that use red (one of the app's primary colors) perform better.
Georgia Tech conducted a research study examining over 1,000,000 Pinterest images and found that using red, purple, and pink promotes sharing and image traffic.
Additionally, images with multiple colors produce better results than single-color images.
When on Pinterest, think multi-color, and don’t shy away from red!
Color Psychology and Your Unique Brand
Today was a lot of information. We hope you found it as interesting as we did!
To tie this all together with a nice bow, you, as a brand, need to convey the message of your page seamlessly to potential new followers. The best way to do so is with a strong color palette.
Colors are scientifically known to elicit specific emotional reactions in people. Having a deep understanding of what message you want your page to convey, paired with color connotation knowledge, puts you in a good position for success.
Once you know the overall emotion your page should elicit, use color harmony to choose some aesthetically pleasing accent colors. And don’t forget, each social media platform has specific brand colors you need to consider when planning your page. You want your colors to stand out but also not clash.
And finally, you want your colors to appeal to your target audience. If you are a workout page, your audience wants to feel motivated. If you are a self-help page, you want to convey calm and wisdom. Both require a unique color palette.
Color is one of the most powerful tools you have as an influencer. It can be used to create an emotional connection and set the tone for your social media posts.
When choosing colors for your brand, it’s important to consider color psychology and what emotions you want to evoke. Once you understand how color works, you can use them to create a clear message for your followers that will resonate emotionally.
If you want to learn more about how to build your brand, we suggest picking up a copy of our book, The Micro-Influencers Brand Partnership Bible. In it, we dive deep into branding and provide tips and tricks for creating a successful marketing strategy. Thanks for reading!