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Why Colour Psychology Matters When Selecting Promotional Items
Home | Blog Posts | Colour Psychology: Why it Matters When Selecting Promotional Products

Colour Psychology: Why it Matters When Selecting Promotional Products

In the world of promotional products, the options are literally endless! Everything from stress balls, printed pens and branded hoodies can be used to effectively promote business products and services.

But have you ever considered the importance of colour when selecting branded products? Colour can make a huge impact on the effectiveness of your promotional items, because colour psychology plays a crucial role in marketing and branding.

In this blog post, we’ll begin with a brief explanation of colour psychology, before exploring the importance of colours when selecting promotional gifts and how it can help your business.

Colour Psychology and Branding

Colour psychology is a powerful tool in marketing and is used effectively by some of the world’s biggest and most successful brands. It refers to the study of colours and shades (hues) as a determinant of human behaviour.

It’s widely accepted that each colour carries a specific connotation, which evokes different emotions and consequently affects consumer behaviour.

Think about the times a colour has impacted your own mood and behaviour. Have you for example, ever entered a room and felt yourself relax or become uneasy? Perhaps you noticed a change in your overall well-being or energy levels?

If so, the chances are you’ve been susceptive to the décor, which may or may not have been planned to facilitate these changes.

Famous Brands, Famous Colours

Many brands and their associated colours are so deeply ingrained in the psyche of consumers, that they are instantly recognisable. Sometimes this is the logo itself, or the background it sits against.

For instance, take a brief moment to think about the colour RED.

Red is often associated with Excitement, Boldness, Youth, Passion and Danger. Now consider four of the world’s most famous brands that use this colour without compromise:

  • Ferrari
  • Coca Cola
  • Virgin
  • Red Bull (OK, we cheated)

It’s fair to say that some of the aforementioned emotions fit these brands like a glove. Ferrari Red is even a colour in its own right.

Now consider the colour BLUE. There’s a reason the following tech giants use blue in their logo and other branding, as it’s often associated with Trust, Reliability and Intelligence.

  • Dell
  • IBM
  • Facebook
  • HP

In contrast, what do you associate GREEN with? The odds are you relate this to the environment. It’s no coincidence we’ve used green unsparingly on our eco-friendly promotional products page!

The colour emotions guide below has some great examples of big brands that evoke emotions associated with their logo colours.

Infographic Credit: The Logo Company

Knowing the psychological impact of colours can help you choose a promotional item that will create a specific emotional response in your audience.

The key here is to match the emotion you want to evoke with your brand personality, product or desired marketing outcome.

Selecting Colours for Promotional Products

When applied to promotional merchandise like ceramic mugs, power banks and custom pin badges, colour psychology can drastically enhance your brand’s impact.

Carefully selecting product colours that align with your brand’s identity and the message you want to convey can create a stronger connection with your audience.

It could be as subtle as selecting the colour of branded sweets, or the colours might be vibrant like a rainbow.

Industry Appropriate Branded Merchandise

For instance, a travel brand promoting summer holidays might choose yellow and orange products like beach balls, sunglasses and buckets hats to symbolise Warmth and Cheerfulness.

Contrastingly, these probably wouldn’t be the most suitable colours when offering life insurance and other services of a sensitive nature.

Likewise, a media agency or branded merchandise supplier might use purple and violet products, as they are associated with Creativity and Imagination.

These aren’t colours you’d associate with an accounting firm for example, as their services are analytical and fact-based.

If you are a sustainable company or wish to enhance your brand’s eco-credentials, then you might consider natural colours and earthly tones.

These work really well on corporate branded gifts like notebooks, speakers and tote bags.

Understanding and leveraging these colour associations when selecting branded merchandise can lead to a more effective marketing campaign.

If you understand your target audience and have a clear objective in mind; you can determine which emotions to evoke and also which ones to avoid!

Knowing Your Target Audience

Choosing colours that can connect with the recipient can create a deeper emotional bond with your brand; especially if it symbolises an entire community, belief system or cause.

If gift colours can be combined with a distinctive or popular shape, even better.

Gender orientation also plays a big part in colour psychology. For example, promotional merchandise like beauty products might be glittered or shiny.

They will probably appeal to a young female audience, but you might isolate an older audience seeking sophistication and classic colours like black.

Similarly, water bottles in bright or bold colours may appeal to a young male audience, while older men might prefer subtler or more conservative tones.

Contrast Product Colours

Another essential aspect when choosing promotional product colours is contrast.

Products like reusable coffee cups and branded travel mugs that complement your logo colour(s) and design, can make a significant difference in the visibility and impact of your promotional items.

For example, if you have a multi-coloured and vibrant logo, the most obvious background colour would be white. The essentially blank canvas allows your logo and other artwork to stand out in its own right.

However, if you have a subtle logo, then you might opt for similar coloured products for a more corporate look.

If your brand’s primary colours are bright, then promotional giveaways with a dark contrast colour like black will ensure your logo and message stand out.

Some promotional products like ceramic mugs and branded notebooks might incorporate additional coloured features that complement your logo.

Distinctive Product Colours

If you select a corporate gift or promotional item with a unique colour combination, this might also resonate with the receiver and leave a lasting impression.

The product might have another distinctive feature, like hi-visibility material or mix and match components .

Consequently, the promotional product is more likely to be displayed prominently and/or used regularly. This creates long-term exposure for your brand, leading to increased recall and ROI.


When choosing colours for promotional products, the selection isn’t merely about ensuring your brand’s colours are represented. It’s also about evoking an emotional response and conveying your brand message.

When you take time to consider these factors, the promotional items you choose will be more effective in promoting your brand and growing your business.

Get in Touch

If you need assistance in choosing colours for your promotional merchandise or corporate gifts, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Additional Reading

You might also like our blog post on merchandise friendly logo design.

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Written by

Hannah Jacobs

Hannah Jacobs

Hannah previously worked as the head of digital marketing for a charitable organisation and also has agency experience. She possesses natural communication skills and a talent for writing that really resonates with our clients - resulting in engaging and relevant copy on branded merchandise. Hannah has a talent for matching great promotional products with current trends and seasonal events. Her expertise is invaluable to marketers working with Purple Moon when planning exhibitions, trade shows and corporate events. In her spare time Hannah loves to read, swim and walk her dog Bailey (apparently Bailey walks her)!