Understanding Colour Theory & Why It Matters In Digital Marketing

The concept of colour theory is not anything new. The term has been used profusely in the past, first appearing in Leonardo da Vinci’s writings in the 1400s. 


Today, it remains an essential factor in disciplines like art and science but more so in the digital marketing industry. We have touched on this topic—colour psychology, in particular—for several times in the past, emphasising its power to define your brand, influence your audience, and prompt them to take action. 



What Is Colour Theory?

In essence, colour theory is the science of colours, which defines how colours mix, how we are likely to perceive them, and what message they communicate. 


Colours can compel us; influence our actions and behaviour. In fact, studies suggest that coloured ads can attract 42% more attention than those in black and white. What’s more, a prospect may hold on to a coloured business card 10 times longer a plain white card. 


There’s a reason why Mcdonald’s is red, Starbucks is green, and Facebook is blue. Here, we dig deeper into the interesting facts about how we can use colour theory for our digital marketing campaigns. 




The Power Of Colour Theory In Digital Marketing & Social Media Campaigns 

Although colour is merely a part of a branding toolkit—which also includes fonts, texts, images, symbols, etc.—it’s arguably the most powerful in terms of communicating a brand’s persona. It can communicate with us on an emotional level, making it more effective at persuasion. 


  • Colours can make a product seem better 


When done right, the colour of a product can give the impression that it tastes better and fresher than the same product with a different colour. Similarly, it can make medicines look and feel more effective. 


It explains why sleeping pills are blue and stimulants are yellow and/or red because these colours are generally associated with their respective effects. Several studies show that 85% of consumers cite colour as their primary reason for purchasing a particular product. Moreover, as much as 90% of impulse purchases are based exclusively on colour. 



  • Colours can trigger actions 


In addition to that, the right colour choices can increase the effectiveness of a campaign, particularly in terms of conversions. It can draw attention to a specific element on a page,  create a focal point, which in return, trigger users to make an action. 


Have you ever noticed that call-to-action buttons are mostly in red and set in a plain background? It’s because marketing research suggests that red performs best as it pushes urgency among consumers. It’s supported by a study which revealed that a red call-to-action button performed 21% better than a green counterpart




Colour Association: Where Do We Derive The Meaning Of Colours 

There are at least two ways through which we derive the meaning of colours: natural association and psychological (also cultural) association. 


  1. Natural Association – Green is the colour of vegetation, blue is the colour of the sky and water, and red is the colour of fire and blood. These colour associations are innate to us, wherein we identify colours based on their occurrences in nature. 
  2. Psychological Association – Alternately, we also associate colours based on our culture or what’s taught in our respective religions. Take the blue colour for example; it is naturally linked with water or the sky but culturally, it is generally related to masculinity, except for China where it is correlated with femininity. 



These associations help us understand how nature, psychology, and even culture and religion can influence our perception of colour. It proves the value of looking at colour theory in both natural and psychological aspects. 



Colour Conventions Across Different Industries 

In between natural and psychological associations, here’s where it gets interesting: 


When enough brands start using a particular colour, it instinctively becomes associated with the industry these businesses are in. For instance, blue is cited to promote engagement, communication, and interaction; it isn’t surprising then that social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Skype use this colour scheme. 



In our previous design showcase, we have already discussed the psychology of colours and their influence on brand marketing. So, we are skipping that topic to discuss where to apply your brand colours. 



Colour Theory: Building A Brand Colour Scheme 

There’s no standard way of choosing your company’s branding colour scheme. But, what’s certain is where you should apply your brand colours: 


  • Company Logo 
  • Website 
  • In-Store Design 
  • Staff Uniforms 
  • Marketing Collaterals (Print/Digital) 


Colour theory plays a crucial role in making informed decisions in your marketing strategies. You can explore which colour palette is most effective for your brand but, you can always work with a digital marketing agency in Singapore like OOm to give you expert advice.


Start the year right by investing time in your marketing strategies. Get in touch with us today!