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June 24, 2024

How to Use Color Psychology in Print Marketing: 4 Strategies

While advertising online presents its challenges with the vast array of content vying for attention, at least there’s a captive audience staring at their screens. However, print marketing faces an even tougher battle.


In real life, you’re not just competing with other advertisements; you’re also contending with the distractions of everyday life – people passing by, the beauty of nature, and countless other stimuli. So, capturing attention through print materials demands not only creativity but also a deep understanding of how to stand out in the middle of chaos.


This dilemma is where the strategic use of color psychology becomes invaluable. Research shows that in the 90 seconds, it takes someone to make a subconscious judgment about something, up to 90% of that initial impression is based on color.


How exactly does color affect first impressions, captivation, and, ultimately, marketing effectiveness? How can a business apply the concept to its print materials? Learn more in this comprehensive guide.

What is Color Psychology?

Color psychology is the study of how colors affect human behavior, emotions, and perceptions. It explores the psychological impact of different hues to understand how they can influence decision-making. Generally, marketers use color psychology to make their designs more appealing.


Many other organizations use color psychology as well. For example, have you ever wondered why most stop signs and warning signs are red? The color red is eye-catching and can often evoke urgency and excitement. Businesses usually use red on outdoor banners to indicate promotions and sales to take advantage of this effect.


Green is another clear example. People associate green with health, nature, and eco-friendliness. It’s to the point that the word “green” has become synonymous with environmental responsibility. For instance, a print marketing strategy for an eco-friendly product might feature lush green imagery to add to the feeling of supporting nature.


The Importance of Color Psychology in Print Marketing

Proper use of the psychology of color in marketing can be a powerful tool in competing against the many distractions of real life. Understanding how colors influence consumer behavior can help you achieve your marketing objectives.

1. Human perception of color

Colors evoke specific associations and emotions deeply ingrained in human perception. For example, a luxury brand may use gold accents in its print advertisements to convey prestige and exclusivity. Similarly, a healthcare provider might utilize calming blues and greens in their brochures to reduce some of the health-related anxiety related to their industry.

2. Communication

So much of the initial message is conveyed through color, and different hues can be highly effective for communicating brand values and messaging. Bolder colors like bright reds and yellows are frequently used in fast food chains like McDonald’s, instantly signaling energy and excitement.


Conversely, a financial institution might choose shades of blue to project reliability and stability and reassure customers about the safety of their investments.

3. Influence on purchase decisions

According to research, 41% of US shoppers ranked the quality of images as a top-three reason when choosing where to shop. In print marketing, the use of colors can significantly enhance the visual appeal of images, thereby influencing consumer perception of product quality.


For example, vibrant and well-coordinated colors in a product brochure can convey a sense of professionalism and attention to detail. Conversely, poorly chosen colors or low-quality printing may create doubts about the product’s reliability.

4. Cultural considerations

Colors hold different meanings and significance across cultures. For international print marketing campaigns, you must consider cultural nuances. For example, while white symbolizes purity or cleanliness in Western cultures, many Asian groups associate it with death and mourning. Adapting color choices to the targeted culture ensures messages resonate with the targeted audience.

4 Ways to Use Color Psychology in Your Print Marketing

The proper use of color psychology goes deeper than choosing colors. What shade of red is most effective at communicating urgency? How does foiling or coating affect the impact of a magazine or flyer? Do matte colors have an effect? Do other types of printing affect the messaging?


These seemingly small decisions can complement or detract from your impact and message. Understanding these choices and making them deliberately can go a long way in improving your print marketing strategies.

1. Understand the basics of color psychology

Begin by familiarizing yourself with the psychological associations of different colors. For example, blue often conveys trust and professionalism, while yellow evokes feelings of optimism and energy. These principles can help you strategically select colors that align with your campaign objectives.


2. Keep colors consistent with your brand

Even if you find out your existing brand palette doesn’t exactly align with color psychology concepts, don’t worry. Consistency is key to building brand recognition and trust, so ensure the colors used in your print materials align with your established colors.

Instead of replacing your palette entirely, you can apply color psychology to details or promotions in your print materials. For instance, Coca-Cola’s color marketing is so effective that you can recognize them by the hue alone. Still, the company uses other accent colors to significant effect.

3. Assess how the competition uses colors

Your competitors can make great indicators for what works and what doesn’t. Analyze how they are using color psychology in their print marketing efforts. You can identify patterns or trends to evaluate their color choices’ effectiveness in your own campaigns and to stand out from the crowd.


For example, if competitors predominantly use warm tones like red and orange, consider incorporating cooler hues like green or blue to differentiate your brand and appeal to a different segment of the market.

4. Get inspiration from print industry trends and innovations

Printing techniques are growing along with new technologies. Stay informed about emerging trends and innovations in the print industry to keep up with the latest developments. There may be new finishes, materials, and machines that can enhance the visual impact of your print materials.


For example, 3D printing can take your color choices to the third dimension, adding an entirely new layer to your print marketing.

Color Your Way to Print Marketing Success

Color psychology in print marketing can be a subtle but potent force, capable of capturing attention, evoking emotions, and influencing consumer behavior. Understanding the intricate interplay between colors and human psychology can allow marketers to craft print campaigns that stand out in the chaos.


Maximize your use of colors by partnering with a quality printing partner like Intermedia Print Solutions. Whether you need help with books, brochures, or  banners, our professional printing services span a wide range of applications.. Place an order or request an estimate today!


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