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The Meanings Of Colors In Advertising Scrutinized To Your Advantage

The meanings of colors in advertising may differ from each one’s taste, but there are magical reasons behind them. Love it or hate it, advertising has become an omnipresent phenomenon in our lives, mainly due to its capacity to materialize everywhere, from written press, radio, and television, to online shops, social media, blogs, billboards, leaflets, brochures and so on.

While often taken for granted, advertising possesses an enormous power to persuade the masses to create artificial needs, to change attitudes and to act subliminally on subconscious level. A quality ad is devoid of superficiality and coincidences. All its components are subjected to rigorous analysis behind the scenes, before the launch. Among its crucial elements are colors, something we’re so familiar with, yet highly unaware of their influence. Colors’ symbolism has its roots in the depths of antiquity but is still working wonders today.

Scientific studies carried out among thousands of people around the world showcased their similar, global reaction to a certain color. Nowadays advertising industry is blatantly using colors as psychological means to stimulate buying behavior and induce premeditated beliefs.  While information galore is available on this subject through various books and scientific papers, the purpose of this entry is to emphasize the basic principles behind colors’ significance and effects, for future implementation in your advertising campaigns, blogs, squeeze pages, etc.


Meanings Of Colors In Advertising

The meanings of colors in advertising can be structured in four broad categories:

1.      Fashionable colors – these are generally used for a short period (one or two seasons), for product lines, collections or packaging, but could still prove worthy online (a radiant red-orange was named top color of 2012 by the Pantone Color Institute).

2.      Colors of a generation or social colors – the most commonly accepted and used by a community for current brands for one or more generations. For example, green is the ecological color of the current era.

3.      Cultural colors – those related to countries, religions, specific traditions, etc. For example green represents Islam.

4.      Archetypal colors – those with archetypal value. In this case green symbolizes rebirth, youth renewal.


The significance of colors arises from association with nature and psychological symbolism. Now, let us analyze each color separately.

Blue – is the favorite color of European and American respondents.  Blue is a unisex color, being appreciated equally by both men and women. It is characterized by deep emotions and feelings. It denotes sensitivity and spirituality.

Positive symbols: sky, air, wind, sea, adventure, freedom, calmness, night, immateriality, pureness, perfection, peace, dream, divine wisdom, moral perfection, loyalty, romance,

Negative symbols: melancholy

Effects: refreshes, calms, incites meditation, creates magic.


Green – most present color in the visible spectrum, ranks second after blue in humans’ preferences.

Positive symbols: spring, youth, expansion, hope, spiritual regeneration, resurrection, victory, trust, tolerance.

Negative symbols: indifference, hoodoo, suicide, libertinism, unfaithful love, envy, anger.

Effects: relaxes both mentally and physically; helps to overcome depression, nervousness and anxiety; gives a sense of renewal self-control and harmony.


Red – is considered a universally strong stimulus. It’s children’s favorite color. It should be used as an emphasizing color, not a primary one.  In advertising red is used to capture consumers’ attention and induce generate quick decisions.

Positive symbols: fire, blood, heart, action, strength, power, vitality, love, passion, desire, eroticism, joy, celebration.

Negative symbols: violence, war, warning, murder, anger, shame, prostitution, danger, evil

Effects: red stimulates and energize; underlines the desire to act and implement ones ideas; encourages people to take quick decision and increases expectations.


Pink – the most romantic and affective color; the color of sexuality.

Pink signifies friendship, love and femininity; generates optimism and good mood.

Effects: relieves and improves the feelings; considered to be best color for investments.


One of the meanings of colors in advertising

Yellow – Depicting wealth, vivacity and fertility. In short, abundance for the business.

Yellow – is associated with intellect and judgment;

Positive symbols:  sun, light, gold, divinity, heat, power, wealth, fertility, luxury and vivacity.

Negative symbols: jealousy, deception, falsehood, betrayal.

Effects: stimulates thinking process, inspires confidence and self-belief.

Orange – a combination of red and yellow that combines creativity with intellect.

Positive symbols: glory, splendor, progress, balance between conscious and unconscious, physical and mental.

Negative symbols: vanity, lust, deception.  Effects: stimulates creativity and joy, creates warmth and wellbeing.



Positive symbols: milk, snow, nudity, purity, virginity, innocence, perfection, nobility, peace, simplicity, discretion, hygiene.

Negative symbols: lack of a soul, impersonality, hospitals;

Effects: soothes and refreshes, may give a feeling of emptiness and silence.



Positive symbols: dignity, seriousness, knowledge, scholarship, religion, spirituality, reincarnation, magic;

Negative symbols: melancholy, fear, occult obedience;

Effects:  imposes itself; creates a state of embarrassment, nastiness;


Brown – the ambiguous color; systematically mixes positivity and negativity.

Positive negative symbols: earth, gravity, strength, tradition.

Negative symbols: constraint, materialism, conservatism.

Effects: calms the eyes; depresses and bores;



Positive symbols: solemnity, distinction, formality, seriousness, mystery;

Negative symbols: death, darkness, grief, loneliness, austerity, fear, shame;

Effects: confers class; depresses;



Positive symbols: reliability, discretion, neutrality, balance, strong emotions.

Negative symbols: poverty, despair;

Effects: saddens, suppresses.


I’ve tried to cover the meanings of colors in advertising and the general essence of colors. Now, it’s your turn to make use of them and bring the values of each to your upcoming endeavors. The meanings of colors in advertising can help you create better campaigns, more powerful squeeze pages related to different niches, and most importantly a consistent persuasive tool that will drive and maintain traffic to your web pages and products for years.

Don’t hesitate to play with colors and study them further. They are like magic tricks that can propel your business, leaving the competitors behind.

Go and work it out with your graphics designer so as to maximize the meanings of colors in advertising.



This article was contributed by Dinu Gatlan ( If you wish to post in this blog, pls. get in touch with the admin through the Contact Form.

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