How to use color in designs

Branding, Graphic Design, Tools & Tips

We know many of you are designing your own graphics for social media, and creating flyers and other marketing materials. We want to help you understand the basics of how to use color in designs so that you can inspire the action you want consumers to take when they see what you have created.

In your designs, always incorporate your brand’s colors. This sends an immediate message to someone scrolling their social media newsfeed, for example, that it is you. Color, just like your logo, can help people recognize you at a glance and raise your brand’s awareness. Choosing the other colors to use in your designs comes down to understanding a little color science.

When using color, you want to make sure you use it:

The right way

At the right time

For the right audience

And the right purpose

Gender preferences:

Studies suggest men don’t like purple, orange, and brown. Men do like blue, green, and black. Studies also suggest women don’t like gray, orange, and brown. Women do like blue, purple, and green. This tells us that blue and green are generally liked by both genders. Therefore, earth tones are a safe choice when designing a material intended to attract either gender.

Color psychology:

Colors help set the tone and spark emotion. Knowing how colors make people feel allows us to better choose where we use them in our designs.


Blue creates feelings of calmness, peace, tranquility, and security. It also gives the sense of order. This is why many educational institutions use it, as well does corporate America. Since blue is one of the most used colors in design, it means the color isn’t a unique color and often won’t stand out in someone’s social media newsfeed.


Yellow is a color of warning. As we know, it’s used in many traffic and caution signs. Brands often use yellow to show that they are fun, friendly, and playful. Color psychology suggests this color can trigger feelings of both caution and fun because of its connection to warning. Fun and fright both excite the brain and enhance its awareness.


Green is a color that can improve creativity. It is also is a good “call to action” color because it is so inviting. It is an ideal color to use for environmental, outdoor, or organic products because of its correlation with nature.


Orange is a color that can create a sense of haste or impulse. It’s loud yet warm, and stimulates physical activity, competition, and confidence. This is why many sports teams use it in their brands. Orange is a good color to use for a “limited time offer” banner on your website, as it can suggest urgency.


Black adds a sense of luxury and value. It represents elegance, sophistication, power, and exclusivity. This is why many high-end brands use it on their websites.


Red can represent excitement, passion, love, or strength. This is one reason it is associated with Valentine’s Day. Red can also be an aggressive color, or one that stops someone because of it’s association with stop signs. For this reason it can be a good “call to action” color because it grabs people’s attention.

Call to Action Colors

A call to action is what inspires the action you want someone to take when engaging with your message. Whether that is to contact, purchase, or click – your call to action is the step you want someone to take.

Using bright primary colors for your call to action is recommended. Not only are they good conversation colors, females are attracted to primary colors. Since they are often household purchasers, attracting them can increase sales.

By “converting color” we mean a color that inspires people to complete your call to action. The highest-converting colors for calls to action are – red, green, orange, and yellow. Notice all four of these are primary colors.

Keep in mind, even though orange and yellow are often not people’s favorite color, they are some of the best conversion colors. This might be because both of these colors heighten our awareness. This reminds us it’s not always about what we like, but what will inspire action based on color psychology.

People often feel they need to fill every area in a design with color. Don’t neglect white space. The most popular website in the world is all white: Google. White highlights exactly what you want people to know or do. It eliminates busyness and allows your message to speak for itself. And, at the end of the day, you are designing to send a message so give it the space it needs to shine.

Click here to learn what content marketing is and why you should do it.

Whatever your next project, our team will get it done.

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