The Psychology of Color in Direct Mail Marketing

Believe it or not, color is a powerful psychological tool for direct mail marketing.

To get the kind of response that you want out of your direct mail marketing, you need the right ingredients. These include an aesthetically pleasing design, engaging copy and the right colors. Consumers place a whole lot of importance on visual appearance and color when they shop. But, color does so much more than just make your mailer look good. Colors evoke emotions in your readers, which means that it’s an essential tool for getting the response you want from your mailers. But, in order to get the response you want, you need to know what kind of emotions each color evokes. That’s why we’ve come up with this list of colors and the kind of responses they help to trigger:

Yellow is a cheerful, warm color, but it’s also the color that grabs attention most effectively. However, if you overuse yellow, it can easily become tiresome to the eye. Brands that utilize yellow include McDonald’s, Best Buy and Denny’s.

Orange is another attention grabber, and since it’s a combination of yellow and red, it evokes feelings of warmth, energy and enthusiasm. However, orange can also be seen as aggressive, so be careful when using it. Brands that utilize orange include Nickelodeon, MasterCard and Penguin.

Red is associated with passion, excitement and movement, and when you use it in your mailers, it helps to evoke a sense of urgency. That’s why you often see red signs for clearance sales. Any time you want to emphasize a deadline or get your readers to act right away, red can be a great choice. Brands that utilize red include Lego, Coca-Cola and Redbull.

It should come to no surprise to you that pink is a feminine color, and it is used most effectively when targeting girls or women. However, pink is also associated with love, romance and beauty, as well as respect, intuition and assertiveness. Brands that utilize pink include Barbie, Cosmopolitan and Victoria’s Secret.

Purple helps to stimulate creativity and the ability to solve problems, but it’s also associated with intelligence, royalty and respect. This may be why so many companies use purple for anti-aging and beauty products. Brands that utilize purple include Yahoo, Cadbury and Hallmark.

Have you ever noticed how, on court-room dramas, like Law and Order, criminal defense lawyers are always telling defendants to wear blue in court? That’s because blue is associated with trustworthiness and reliability. If you’re trying to establish trust in your business, product or service, blue is an effective choice. Blue can also be soothing and calming, and it’s traditionally used most often to target men. Brands that utilize blue include Twitter, WordPress and Gap.

Green is a very relaxing color, and it’s commonly associated with power and tranquility. Green is also associated with nature, which is why you commonly see it in advertising for environmentally friendly products and brands (or brands that are trying to make themselves seem more environmentally friendly than they actually are). Brands that utilize green include The Body Shop, Starbucks and BP.

Black is a very powerful color, and it’s used to evoke feelings of dominance and sophistication. However, black is also associated with evil and death, so be careful with it. Traditionally, we most often seen black associated with luxury in advertisements. Brands that utilize black include Apple, Sharpie and Chanel.

White is most often associated with purity, innocence and cleanliness, which is why it’s often seen in medical-related advertisements. However, white can also be seen as sterile or cold. Brands that utilize white include Uber, BMW and Sephora.

Never underestimate the power of color.
When you want to stir a certain emotional response in your readers, you should never underestimate the power of color. Whether you’re trying to get your readers to trust your brand, act urgently or anything else, you can use color to do so to great effect. We hope that this guide will help in determining which colors to use in your mailers. Even better, we offer Flex8 Printing Technology, which will help you print the truest colors for your custom business envelopes. Get your free product quote today!