What do psychologists have in common with marketers? Well…a lot, actually. Both look at human behavior to help predict the actions that a person might take. One of the ways marketers have hacked psychology is through color theory. In the following article, we’ll explore how color theory can help you select the best color schemes for email marketing.

A 2014 study found that the color of a logo impacted how consumers responded to brands. Some colors made brands seem relatable while others made the brands seem modern or fun. Have you ever judged a brand simply by its logo? Then you’re already familiar with this concept!

Years of psychological experiments have proven that beyond being aesthetically pleasing, colors have an effect on our brains, especially our emotional responses. Color psychology explores this fact by researching how color influences human behavior and decision-making. Implementing color psychology in email marketing means paying attention to how different colors can impact the way buyers perceive a brand or marketing campaign.

Even though colors are very important in how a business is perceived, about 65% of small business owners admitted that they chose their logo colors based on personal taste and preference. While a complete re-brand might be out of the question, you can still be strategic about the colors you are working with to create more engaging email marketing.

We won’t dig into the fundamentals of color theory here, but let’s go over how to start incorporating it into your email marketing strategy right away.

How to Pick the Best Colors for Your Emails

Optimizing colors for your emails all comes back to your audience – no surprise there! When thinking about a color scheme, you’re not dissecting every pixel in your campaigns. Instead, color psychology in email marketing allows you to think more strategically about your call-to-actions (CTAs) and user experience (UX).

First, you’ll want to consider who you’re talking to. If your market is high-earning, older individuals, sticking with a more subdued, sophisticated palette makes sense. If your target audience is trend-focused, young shoppers then something in today’s trending colors would fit perfectly for them.

Now that you know your audience, it’s time to think about the goal of your email campaign. Color plays an important role in how your customers will engage. Do you have a big CTA that is getting all the attention, are you encouraging the reader to browse products within the email, or are you presenting information with a CTA at the end? The ultimate goal will change your strategy.

Campaigns that need a strong call-to-action at the top could use bright, powerful colors like red or orange. If you’re trying to draw the reader’s eye down the email, using subtle hues at the top with bolder colors at the fold will draw users’ eyes down and encourage them to scroll up.

With a goal in mind, now you can explore the color options. Do you need an attention-grabbing color like red for the buttons or do you want to come off calm and friendly with a shade of blue or yellow?

Color Considerations

Certain colors are known to elicit specific emotions. Narrowing down which ones to use will depend on your audience, but can be essential to building your brand relationship with your customers. Color meanings can shift between cultures and gender, so researching color meanings for your target market is a good start.

In western culture, we often see these common colors associated with these moods:


Red is energizing and stimulating. It’s attention-grabbing, our eyes are drawn to it. Red literally stimulates our brains. Studies have shown that red impacts the nervous system more than any other color; when people look at red their blood pressure rises. Red communicates power, assertiveness, strength, and warmth.


This color represents positivity, warmth, and happiness. It is also often associated with optimism and trust. You’ll see this color a lot in sports team logos and kids’ games because it naturally elicits a positive attitude. It is also often used to represent a deal, so it could be incorporated when the email is a discount or offer.


Be careful with yellow. Although it’s often used to represent fun and playfulness, too much of it or the wrong shade can be off-putting. You don’t want someone running from your campaigns because of a too yellow background! If your team isn’t staffed with a design pro, here’s one tool that can help you choose or use one of the many color palette generators available.


It represents nature, growth, serenity, fertility, and prosperity. Green is calming for our brains. It brings a sense of peace and restoration. However, it also bring a sense of urgency when it comes to making decisions. When used in email campaigns, this color can become a powerful tool for discounts, event invites, and limited product offerings.


This color elicits a sense of calm and luxury. It is also often tied with spirituality and femininity. Purple is a rare color in nature, which is what gives it the sense of wealth and luxury. It has also been found to stimulate the part of the brain responsible for problem-solving and creativity.


Blue is most commonly associated with calm and trust. It also gives a sense of intelligence, communication, trust, efficiency, serenity, duty, logic, coolness and reflection. You’ll notice this color the most in brand logos, especially brands that want to seem friendly and trustworthy like Meta (formally Facebook), IKEA, PayPal, and many, many others.


This is the color most commonly associated with elegance, luxury, refinement, power, and stability. Dress codes for luxury events usually call for black attire. However, it can also be associated with darkness and fear like on Halloween or in scary movies.


This color is clean and simple — think of crisp white linen or a blank white page. It can give feelings of a fresh start or a clean slate. It represents purity, simplicity, coolness, sophistication, and new beginnings.

Key Takeaways

With a little creative thinking, you can start working color psychology into your email best practices right away. The goal is finding a few colors that work well for key elements of your marketing, such as orange for announcements or blue for buttons.

You can start using color psychology in your emails right away by:

  • Being mindful of how you want a reader’s eyes to travel through the email.
  • Focus on the CTAs or where you want the customer’s eye to go first.
  • Use colors that are in or compliment the brand palette to tie everything together.

Don’t forget to A/B test! The best way to know if a new design element is working or not is to A/B test it against your regular template. If you’d like to see how easy template adjustments and A/B testing are within SharpSpring, schedule a demo today!

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