The Psychological Effects of Colors

The Psychological Effects of Colors

Ah, the wonderful subject of color. They beautify the world around us. However, not many people realize that colors are more than just shades and tones. Colors are actually a form of communication. Different colors can trigger certain emotions in our brains, affecting our thoughts and feelings every single day.

Colors can hold multiple meanings based on usage, culture and language, but to fully understand the language of the rainbow, it’s important to know what each color means and how it effects our everyday life. We’ve broken down the emotions triggered by each color, so this can stay in the back of your mind while creating designs for your shop.


Red, it’s the first color in the rainbow and it’s hard to miss. Whether the color is standing bold, bright, deep or light, the color red can trigger some of the most powerful emotions in the human brain. Red is one of the only colors that consumes equally positive and negative feelings. It can mean fear, aggression or anger, but on the other hand, it can mean passion, love and determination. Whether red is used in your designs or your branding, you can rest assured that your business will not be unnoticed.

Traits of the color red:

  • Urgent
  • Strength
  • Passionate
  • Determined
  • Bold
  • Stimulates appetite
  • Spontaneous
  • Rebellious
  • Warning
  • Courage


Orange is the color of warmth and friendliness. It stimulates more of a physical feeling rather than a mental or emotional feeling, unlike like other colors. Orange is spontaneous and uplifting, almost like the self-starter or the go-getter in the world of color.

Orange likes to take risks, it’s fearless and gets people thinking and talking deep. It signifies friendship and togetherness. If you’re looking to give your designs a pop of color and fun, orange is the answer.

Traits of the color orange:

  • Sociable
  • Friendly
  • Cheerful
  • Adventurous
  • Warm
  • Uplifting
  • Informal
  • Agreeable
  • Fitness
  • Overly-proud


Smile, because yellow is the color of pure happiness! It exudes life and enthusiasm, plus, it’s one of the strongest communicating colors in the rainbow. Clarity, thought and freedom peak at the sight of yellow, which is why it’s such a popular color in many homes.

On the other hand, yellow is a color of high visibility, which is why it’s used for pedestrian crossing signs and other roadside signals. With this, harsh, neon yellows also have a tendency to be associated with impatience and angst, so keep this in mind when designing as well.

Traits of the color yellow:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Optimism
  • Fun
  • Confidence
  • Positivity
  • Wisdom
  • Bright
  • Clear
  • Analytical
  • Complex


Relax, because the color green will be sure to bring you peace and comfort.  Between its traits of balance, growth, equality and harmony, it’s apparent that green is a very therapeutic color. You’ll find that many spas and healing practices incorporate green in branding and décor to embrace a comfortable, calm environment.

However, while green radiates positivity and peace, certain shades can easily be associated with “green envy” or greed. That being said, consider using the more natural tones with light and happy designs and strong, bright shades with bolder designs.

Traits of the color green:

  • Balance
  • Growth
  • Equality
  • Harmony
  • Renewal
  • Restoration
  • Environment
  • Natural
  • Envy
  • Greed


Trust, responsibility and Intelligence. All of these admirable traits are in fact, initiated by the color blue. Blue is the leader, the helper, the one that builds meaningful relationships. Businesses related to security or banking often use blue, so the sensation of trust resides in their customers.

Blue is almost like an old soul. It’s nostalgic and wise and can work alongside most colors with ease. So, no matter what your next design will be, know that blue is likely to be perceived securely with your audience.

 Traits of the color blue:

  • Responsibility
  • Loyalty
  • Authority
  • Idealistic
  • Calm
  • Logical
  • Nostalgic
  • Sadness
  • Trust
  • Intelligence


Are your feeling inspired? Purple speaks to the fantasizers and the dreamers of the world. It gives off the meaning of mystery, magic and wonder. Many philosophers are associated with purple because of their individuality and ideals.

While purple stimulates unconditional love and selflessness, it also represents royalty, wealth and luxury. Many kings and queens proudly wore purple to signify their importance in the world. There are many faces to the color purple, so be sure to use it carefully.

Traits of the color purple:

  • Individual
  • Creative
  • Mystery
  • Futuristic
  • Magical
  • Royalty
  • Unusual
  • Spiritual
  • Allergenic
  • Intrigue

Why does all of this matter?

Color is all around us every day. When you have an understanding of the psychological effects of color, then you can use this knowledge to your advantage. Surround yourself with colors that will better your attitude, your behavior and your daily routines. Why? Because color can actually improve your way of life when used correctly.

In the sense of promoting your online shop, color psychology can also be utilized, so your brand and products are perceived the right way. Most brands have performed extended research on color to make sure their branding speaks to their target audience effectively. On the other hand, some businesses don’t feel like color plays a big enough role in consumer decision making. No matter your thoughts on the science, it’s worth it to test it out and see the results for yourself.

While color psychology is important, it’s not the only thing that goes into creating a masterpiece. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a wrong color to use. Play with hues and tones until you find a color combination that works. Creativity is embraced, so don’t limit yourself based on color psychology. Think of it as a way to jump start the color palate to your next creation.

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4 years ago

This is a beautiful article to keep on the back of your mind. Yes our lives will have no meaning without colors.

4 years ago

I always appreciate the Spreadshirt Blog. I’m going to bookmark this page and use it for reference. Thank you.


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